The No. 1 Texas Longhorns are on the season’s first road trip, traveling to face the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders at Whataburger Field on Tuesday (6:35 p.m. Central) and Wednesday (4:05 p.m. Central).
Texas maintained its position as the nation’s top-ranked team after an impressive series victory over Rice in Austin to open the season, out-scoring the Owls 36-3 and dominating in the batter’s box and on the mound. The Horns hit .316 with 14 extra-base hits, including four home runs, and drew 28 walks while the three starters combined to allow 11 hits and one earned run in 17 innings of work.
Strong starts to the season from catcher Silas Ardoin, left fielder Eric Kennedy, and shortstop Trey Faltine were particularly heartening after all three struggled at the plate during significant stretches of the 2021 season. Ardoin went 4-of-8 (.500) with a double, home run, three walks, and five RBI. Kennedy went 5-of-12 (.417) with a double, triple, three walks, and three RBI. And while Faltine struck out in five of his 13 at bats, he also had five hits, including two doubles, a triple, and a home run with six RBI.
Head coach David Pierce will start right-hander Andre Duplantier on Tuesday and left-hander Lucas Gordon on Wednesday. Duplantier missed the 2021 season after elbow surgery, but returned on Saturday with a perfect inning that included two strikeouts. Gordon started once in 2021, pitching three shutout innings, and also threw a scoreless inning on Saturday.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi enters the two-game series against Texas after a road series win against UT-Arlington during which the Islanders hit .291 with three home runs. Head coach Scott Malone believes that a handful of MLB scouts will be in attendance to watch right-hander Hayden Thomas face off against the Longhorns — the Leander Rouse product was a Saturday starter last year, posting a 3.31 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 81.2 innings. So Tuesday’s game won’t feature a typical midweek pitching matchup for Texas.
The Islanders also handed the Longhorns a loss in their last trip to Corpus Christi, an 8-2 defeat in 2019. So Texas will need to arrive on the Gulf Coast ready to play, because Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will be.
“This game doesn’t need a big speech really,” said Malone. ”Our guys will be spinning like tops tomorrow ready to go and put on the best show we can put on. They love the magnitude of the moment, the bright lights and it doesn’t get any bigger and brighter than this week.”
A live stream of the series will be available online.