Ranked for the first time this season in the midst of a 14-game winning streak that included a sweep of the then-No. 14 Texas Tech Red Raiders in Austin on Sunday, the No. 21 Texas Longhorns head east to College Station on Tuesday for a grudge match against the Texas A&M Aggies at Olsen Field.
But the Aggies have recently had the upper hand in the head-to-head series, winning four straight in the matchup, including a 12-9 victory in Austin last year that culminated a tough month of March for the Longhorns and, even worse, a 10-2 demolition of Texas in the College World Series that sent head coach David Pierce’s team home after only two games in Omaha.
Getting a victory at Olsen Field has proved difficult for the Horns, too — Texas hasn’t won there since 2011, a stretch of four straight games. In 2021, a midweek start from left-hander Pete Hansen, last season’s Friday starter, wasn’t enough for the Longhorns in a 2-0 defeat.
There’s no question that Texas is the team with more momentum, though, winning every game in the multi-week homestand that ended in dramatic fashion with two walk-off wins with Sunday’s victory featuring five home runs capped by catcher Garret Guillemette’s game-ending bomb to left-center field.
A recent power surge by the Horns has given the team 22 of its 35 home runs on the season in less than two weeks, boosting the team’s slugging percentage to .482 as the batting average has risen to .286.
One of the hottest Horns is left fielder Porter Brown, the Horned Frogs transfer who earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors after providing two game-winning runs — hitting the go-ahead two-run home run on Friday and then scoring on a wild pitch after leading off the ninth with a double on Saturday.
In the five games over last week, Brown batted .615 with two doubles, two homers, eight RBI, and six runs scored.
Texas A&M has been up and down so far in a season that began with high expectations — D1Baseball slotted the Aggies as the No. 5 team nationally in the preseason poll, but head coach Jim Schlossnagle’s team has unquestionably underachieved at times, even outside of the famously difficult SEC schedule. After sweeping Seattle U to open the season, Texas A&M lost three straight games to Lamar and Portland, then largely played well until starting conference play with a series loss to No. 1 LSU in College Station and getting swept by No. 12 Tennessee in Knoxville.
Freshman left-hander Shane Sdao (0-0, 2.35) gets the start for Texas A&M on Tuesday, the first of his career after making eight relief appearances, pitching 3.1 innings while holding Rice scoreless lats week and going 10.2 innings with only two earned runs allowed in March.
For Texas, right-hander Lebarron Johnson Jr. (2-1, 2.96) gets the call after moving into the weekend rotation for a start against New Orleans during which he went 4.0 innings with two earned runs allowed and six strikeouts before featuring out of the bullpen in Saturday’s win over Texas Tech.
First pitch on Tuesday is at 6 p.m. Central on SEC Network.