For the first and only non-conference series of the season, the Texas Longhorns are facing off against the Cal State Fullerton Titans this weekend at Goodwin Field.
The weekend series pits two programs that won national championships under late head coach Augie Garido, who won titles in 1979, 1984, and 1995 with the Titans and in 2002 and 2005 with the Longhorns. Both are among the top-10 winningest programs in college baseball history.
In all-time series, Texas holds a 20-17 edge, but lost previous matchups in Fullerton in 1995 and 2003 in addition to losing to the Titans in the College World Series Finals in 2004.
But the program has fallen on some hard times in recent years, finishing barely over .500 in 2019, starting out 4-12 before COVID canceled the 2020 season, then firing longtime head coach Rick Vanderhook after a 20-35 season in 2021. New head coach Jason Dietrich went 22-33 last season before a 2-4 start this year, all home games. Fullerton upset No. 2 Stanford in the season opener before losing the final two games, lost a doubleheader against Michigan, then had the previous two games cancelled due to weather. So the Titans haven’t played since last Saturday.
The team is hitting .284 with 40 runs in six games with four regulars hitting .282 or better, led by outfielder Nate Nankil at .370. Pitching has been an issue for Fullerton, though — the staff ERA is 7.36 with 64 hits and 11 home runs allowed in 55 innings.
So the weekend may present an opportunity for the Texas bats to finally get going this season after batting only .218 through the first eight games and going scoreless in Tuesday’s loss to No. 1 LSU. Right now, center fielder Eric Kennedy is batting .333, but he’s the only player over .300, and left fielder Porter Brown is the only player with more than one home run.
First pitch is at 8 p.m. Central on Friday, 7 p.m. Central on Saturday, and 2 p.m. Central on Sunday. All three games are on ESPN+.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY–Texas LHP Lucas Gordon (0-0, 0.84) vs. Cal State Fullerton LHP Tyler Stultz (1-1, 5.00)
SATURDAY–Texas RHP Zane Morehouse (1-0, 4.00) vs. Cal State Fullerton RHP Trevor Hinkel (0-1, 9.35)
SUNDAY–Texas RHP Travis Sthele (0-2, 3.12) vs. Cal State Fullerton TBA