The No. 7 Texas Longhorns (24-10) host the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (10-21) on Tuesday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field as the Longhorns try to close out a five-game homestand with a 4-1 record and maintain a perfect record against the Lumberjacks.
Texas has won all nine meetings between the two programs and is looking to build on a 5-2 record in April that includes two series wins in Big 12 play. Stephen F. Austin enters the game coming off a road series win against UTRGV, but has only won five of 19 games played away from home.
Set to receive the start for the Horns is right-hander Andre Duplantier (2-1, 6.87), who has struggled in recent appearances, beginning with a start last month against Texas State during which he gave up seven runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings and five runs on four hits in one inning against College of Charleston. Duplantier’s last appearance came in relief against Texas Tech and only lasted four pitches when he allowed a walk-off grand slam to Kurt Wilson. Allowing home runs has been a consistent theme of his struggles with two apiece in each of Duplantier’s last two starts.
After significant issues in March, the Texas bullpen has improved in recent games, including allowing only two runs to TCU in 10.1 innings over the weekend. Saturday’s loss to the Horned Frogs required seven innings from the bullpen after more struggles by right-hander Tristan Stevens, with right-hander Aaron Nixon, right-hander Marcus Olivarez, left-hander Luke Harrison, and right-hander Jared Southard combining to allow one run in relief with five strikeouts.
Nixon was effective in his first inning of work, commanding his fastball well for the first time in more than a month, but ran into trouble in his second inning, walking the first two batters on only nine pitches.
So although it was a mixed performance by Nixon, Olivarez, Harrison, and Southard all pitched well and Sunday’s win featured strong appearances from right-hander Travis Sthele, who earned the win, and right-hander Coy Cobb, who closed the game. Cobb now boasts a 1.74 ERA in nine appearances this season with opponents hitting .200 against him.
Stephen F. Austin has not announced a starting pitcher and enters the contest with a staff ERA of 4.72 and an opposing batting average of .254. Right-hander Patrick Kudelka (1-1, 10.32) started last Wednesday against UTSA, allowing two runs on two hits in three innings with four walks. The Monday starter against Louisiana-Monroe was right-hander Reid Boyett (0-2, 9.39), who gave up six runs on seven hits in three innings.
The Lumberjacks hit only .265 as a team, led by right fielder Cameron Crawford hitting .312 and catcher Jake Zarrello hitting .307 with seven home runs.
First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.