The Texas baseball season begins tonight against Arkansas in the College Baseball Showdown. While the Horns reached the College World Series yet again under David Pierce last season, it appears they are in for a rebuilding year. What are your expectations for the Longhorns this year?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - I’m definitely expecting the team to take a step back this season considering the amount of turnover that took place both on the roster and on the coaching staff. I know some fans will still have the Omaha or bust mentality, but I think it’s fair to lower the expectations a bit going into the season.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - I think it’s next to impossible for this team to not take a step back both offensively and defensively this year. Honestly, I don’t know if Pierce and Co. struck out in the portal or were not as aggressive, but with a near-complete turnover of the lineup, I expected them to go big game hunting and land something. I think this is probably a team that’s firmly in the upper half of the conference, with a shot to go compete for one of the top three spots if the talent pans out.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - I think it will be similar to David Pierce’s first season at Texas in terms of trying to rebuild the roster. My prediction is a finish in the middle of the Big 12, maybe 3rd or 4th, and anything past the regional is a plus for the Horns. My concern is that we see a repeat of the 2019 season but with the transfer portal and the last few recruiting classes, it would be a major disappointment.
It’s almost a brand new ballclub with staff changes and roster departures including pitching coach Sean Allen and players Ivan Melendez and Pete Hansen. Who will need to step up in the lineup and on the mound to make up for the void in production left by Melendez and Hansen?
Daniel - Dylan Campbell is the guy that had me excited the most with how he was playing down the home stretch of the season last year and now this season he is going to step into a much bigger role. From the pitching side, Lucas Gordon is who I will be watching to see if he can fill the role as a top of the rotation arm for Pierce this spring.
Gerald - Offensively, I think Dylan Campbell is the obvious choice for Texas. He hit 10 homers and drove in 29 a year ago and has some big shoes to fill at the plate for the Longhorns. Lucas Gordon is probably the right answer for the pitching staff, but I think Zane Morehouse is a guy who showed flashes of brilliance a year ago but definitely needed some development. Hopefully, the staffing changes will benefit him and his development as the Saturday starter.
Cameron - For the sake of being different, I’ll go with Travis Stehle and Eric Kennedy. Lucas Gordon was a Sunday starter who worked his way up the rotation and I’d like to see Stehle have a season like that because Pierce and the bullpen can’t only rely on Gordon. After a couple of injury-plagued seasons, Kennedy had a tremendous year last year, batting .300, and his return is huge for a lineup that lost a lot in terms of production. Texas will need another season like last year's from Kennedy to stay afloat offensively.
Up-and-down week for the #6 Longhorns, dropping another road contest in Lubbock to Texas Tech but captured a blowout victory over West Virginia on Sunday. Which result do you think correctly represents this Texas team?
Daniel - I think the West Virginia result is closer to who this team is and you can just chalk the loss in Lubbock up to how wacky the Big 12 has been this year. Even the teams at the bottom of the conference standings can’t be counted as surefire Ws, so you have to bring your A-game every night or it will be a knife fight.
Gerald - It’s hard to call a road game in the conference normal, especially with the quick turnaround and the craziness that is every time Texa visits Lubbock. Honestly, I think it’s somewhere in the middle, but probably closer to the team who was able to fill up the basket against the Mountaineers.
Cameron - I’ll get booed for this answer but somewhere in the middle. The performance against West Virginia was probably their best game of the season, and their 1st half was the best 20 minutes of basketball they’ve played all season. Hard to play like that every game. Playing on the road in the Big 12 is tough, especially when the other team hates your guts but I think Longhorn fans cared more about winning that game than the team so they could troll all the cactus people on Twitter.