After the first weekend series loss of the season to the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, the No. 2 Texas Longhorns journey to the coast on Tuesday for a midweek game against the College of Charleston Cougars on Tuesday.
Losers of four of the last six games, the Longhorns slid out of the No. 1 spot in the D1 Baseball rankings on Monday, but have an opportunity to pick up two more road wins before returning to UFCU Disch-Falk Field this weekend for a series against Incarnate Word.
College of Charleston enters the game at 9-7 after a weekend series win against UMass Lowell with plans to send right-hander Trey Pooser to the mound. Pooser has a 2-0 record this season with a 1.08 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. The pitching staff leads the CAA in total strikeouts (152) and strikeouts per nine innings (9.89) and ranks second in opposing batting average (.231) and ERA (3.90).
The Cougars hit .277 as a team with catcher/first baseman JT Marr leading the way with a .419 batting average. Second baseman Trotter Harlan is the only other regular with a batting average over .300 — he hits .340.
The ability of Longhorns catcher Silas Ardoin behind the plate could dissuade the Cougars from one of their favorite endeavors — stealing bases. College of Charleston ranks ninth nationally with 36 stolen bases, including three players with at least six steals, led by Harlan with 10.
Texas first baseman Ivan Melendez looks to stay hot against College of Charleston after earning Big 12 Player of the Week recognition after hitting four home runs, pushing his total to seven on the season. The El Paso native is the team’s leading run producer with seven doubles, one triple, seven homers, 26 RBI, and 18 runs scored.
Designated hitter/third baseman Murphy Stehly is performing at a high level, too, batting .426 with 26 hits, eight RBI, and 10 runs scored.
But Texas still needs more production from second baseman Mitchell Daly, third baseman Skyler Messinger, and right fielder Dylan Campbell. Daly went 0-for-10 with five strikeouts in the South Carolina series and is hitting .167 on the season, the lowest of any regular starter for Texas. Messinger was 1-for-7 with five strikeouts in Columbia, dropping his batting average to .191. He sat on Sunday with Stehly playing third and Ardoin serving as the designated hitter. Campbell was 2-for-7 and is making more consistent contact than Daly and Messinger, but the results haven’t been there — Campbell is batting .184 and doesn’t have an extra-base hit in 38 at bats.
Right-hander Andre Duplantier is expected to start for the Longhorns on Tuesday. He has a 2-0 record with a 4.50 ERA coming off of rough outings against LSU out of the bullpen and Texas State as a starter. Against the Bobcats in San Marcos, Duplantier allowed seven earned runs in 4.1 innings, including six runs in the third inning.
First pitch on Tuesday is at 5:00 p.m. Central streaming on FloBaseball.