Time to stack wins.
The Texas Longhorns start a 14-game homestand with two midweek games as head coach David Pierce’s team looks to improve on a 4-7 start that could prove disastrous if the Longhorns can’t take advantage of a host of beatable opponents.
On Tuesday, Texas hosts Sam Houston before facing Mercer on Tuesday, followed by Manhattan, North Dakota State, New Orleans, and Incarnate Word before starting Big 12 play at home against Texas Tech later this month. In 2011, the Longhorns played 13 straight games at the Disch, making the upcoming stretch the longest homestand in more than 20 years.
The long stretch at UFCU Disch-Falk Field comes after the season’s only weekend non-conference road trip to play Cal State Fullerton, a series that ended in disappointment after Texas suffered one-run losses on Friday and Sunday.
Following Friday’s 6-5 loss on a wild pitch in the eighth inning before bouncing back with a 4-2 win on Saturday behind five strong innings from right-handed starter Zane Morehouse and four runs scored in the first four innings, including back-to-back home runs from right fielder Dylan Campbell and left field Dylan Campbell in the first inning.
Sunday’s game featured some familiar storylines for Texas so far this season — a poor start on the mound highlighted by command issues as right-hander Travis Sthele allowed three runs on three walks and two hits in the first inning and issues executing, including a hit by pitch to open the 11th inning and multiple bloop hits to the outfield that weren’t caught by the Longhorns.
There were some positive moments, like four more hits for red-hot center fielder Eric Kennedy, including a fourth-inning home run, a steady stream of relievers out of the bullpen who gave Texas a chance to win, and a two-run home run by second baseman Jack O’Dowd in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings. But the Horns also left the bases loaded in the 11th when Max Belyeu pinch hit and struck out looking on a full-count pitch without taking a swing in the at bat.
The Bearkats in Austin with a strange profile — Sam Houston is 6-7 overall with wins over Iowa and Kansas State, but also lost four straight games to Rice, Texas State, and Illinois. At the plate, Sam Houston is batting .283 with 15 home runs, led by outfielders Joe Redfield (.405) and Lane Brewster (.292, four home runs). The pitching staff has struggled some, though, with a 5.95 ERA and 14 home runs allowed with opponents batting .285. The Bearkats have also hit 11 opposing batters.
Mercer is 9-4 with a much weaker schedule that includes road games against Florida A&M and Georgia Southern. The Bears are batting .263 with four regular starters batting over .300 and 17 home runs while notching a 5.40 ERA with opponents batting .262.
First pitch on Tuesday and Wednesday is at 6:30 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
TUESDAY–Texas RHP Lebarron Johnson Jr. (1-1, 2.25) vs. Sam Houston LHP Gavi Coldiron (0-0, 9.00)
WEDNESDAY–Texas TBA vs. Mercer TBA