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  1. Texas Baseball swept in Morgantown

    For the second straight weekend, the Texas baseball team has been swept, dropping below .500 in Big 12 play. West Virginia University beat the Longhorns on Friday 11-2 and Saturday 14-7 to take the series. The Mountaineers came out on Sunday to close out the series and won 9-5, completing the sweep against Texas.

    The Longhorns left for Morgantown with a 9-9 record in Big 12 play; however, losing all three to West Virginia drops Texas to 9-12. The team now sits in the bottom of the Big 12 standings after losing six straight conference games – Kansas State, Baylor and Kansas are the only teams with worse conference records.

    On Friday the Longhorns’ offense struck first with a Zane Gurwitz home run in the top of the second inning, but the lead didn’t last long. The Mountaineers put up four in the home half of the third against Texas’ pitcher Morgan Cooper. West Virginia plated one more in the sixth against Beau Ridgeway, unearned, before the Longhorns could plate another run. In the seventh, Jake McKenzie hit a sac fly to score Patrick Mathis making it a 5-2 game. The Mountaineers got that run back plus insurance in the bottom of the seventh, plating three runs against Travis Duke. Blake Wellmann gave up three more Mountaineer runs in the bottom of the eighth, and the Longhorns lost 11-2. Cooper took the loss, giving up four earned runs in five innings pitched. He allowed seven hits while striking out four. The Longhorns offense struggled, compiling only five hits while striking out nine times.

    Texas sent Ty Culbreth to the mound on Saturday to even the series, but the Mountaineers’ offense picked up right where they left off on Friday night. West Virginia scored one in the first and four in the fourth before the Longhorns’ offense could get started. A Travis Jones triple and Tres Barrera home run plated two for Texas in the third. The Longhorns scored two more in the fourth and fifth and one in the sixth but couldn’t stop the West Virginia offense who scored one in the fourth, two in the fifth, four in the sixth, and one in the seventh and eighth. The Mountaineers beat the Longhorns 14-7. West Virginia chased Culbreth from the game in the fifth inning, giving him his shortest outing of the season. Culbreth gave up seven runs, six of them earned, and nine hits in 4.1 innings of work. Eric Dunbar took over for Culbreth in the fifth and recorded two outs while also taking the loss for the Longhorns. He sacrificed one run that was not earned. Texas went through a total of six pitchers on Saturday. On the offensive side, the Longhorns recorded a total of eight hits with Jones, Kacy Clemens and Kody Clemens all having multi-hit days. Kody had three RBIs with two doubles.

    Texas tried to salvage Sunday’s game with Kyle Johnston on the mound, but the sophomore struggled early. Johnston allowed five free passes in 1.2 innings of work. The Mountaineers offense scored three in the first inning and four in the second inning. The Longhorns snuck a run across the plate in the second with a Gurwitz double followed by a Tyler Rand single but after two Texas trailed 7-1. In the third, Gurwitz pulled through again for the Longhorns with a three run home run, closing the West Virginia lead to three runs. Jones hit a sac fly to score Bret Boswell in the fourth, cutting the Mountaineer lead again, but West Virginia got that run back in the bottom half of the inning and scored one more in the sixth. The Longhorns offense didn’t score again after the fourth, losing 9-5 in the final game of the series. Despite the loss, Texas recorded nine hits. Gurwitz finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and home run, providing three RBIs for the team. Mathis finished 4-for-5 with a double.

    The Longhorns look to even their Big 12 record in two weeks, May 19-21, hosting Baylor for their final conference series of the regular season. The Bears own a 6-12 conference record and a 20-24 overall record. Texas sits at 21-27 overall.

    • May 09 2016 07:54 AM
    • by Taylor Smith
  2. Tourney Time

    Oklahoma State
    Big 12 Record: 18-6 – No. 1 seed
    Why they can win the tournament: In postseason baseball, pitching and defense win…the Pokes led the conference in both Team ERA and fielding percentage. Cowboys only gave up 57 earned runs in league play – no other team in the Big 12 allowed fewer than 60.
    Why they won’t win the tournament: Much like the Longhorn teams of the past few years, the Cowboys offense is just good enough to win games. That often translated to wins in the regular season, but is an Achilles heel in postseason play.
    Projected outcome: 3-2 – lose in the Division I finals

    Big 12 Record: 17-7 – No. 2 seed
    Why they can win the tournament: TCU ranks 1st in the Big 12 in hitting and 2nd in pitching. They are the most balanced team in the tournament. The Horned Frogs also do a great job at turning double plays and limiting stolen bases.
    Why they won’t win the tournament: When the Horned Frogs traveled to Houston for the Minute Maid tourney, they lost 2 of 3 games. Another neutral tournament site, coupled with postseason pitching from the opposition…same result?
    Projected outcome: 4-0 – Tournament Champions

    Big 12 Record: 15-9 – No. 3 seed
    Why they can win the tournament: Kansas is on a streak of three Big 12 series sweeps. No other team enters the tournament with the momentum of the Jayhawks.
    Why they won’t win the tournament: For all the success on their recent streak, KU is still an average offensive team with an average pitching staff. With the level of play being raised in the postseason, the Jayhawks won’t be able to counter.
    Projected outcome: 3-2 – lose in the Division II finals

    Texas Tech
    Big 12 Record: 14-10 – No. 4 seed
    Why they can win the tournament: The Red Raiders can mash – Tech ranks first or second in the league in most offensive categories. Texas Tech led the Big 12 in hits and scored 16 more runs in conference play than the second place team.
    Why they won’t win the tournament: Tech’s 10-2 record at home is excellent, but their 4-8 mark on the road is troubling. Good offensive teams often struggle when they leave the confines of their home park.
    Projected outcome: 1-2 – losing in divisional play

    Big 12 Record: 13-11 – No. 5 seed
    Why they can win the tournament: Texas is as talented and well-rounded as any team in the field. Early success and confidence could ignite the roster and this team has a higher ceiling than any other in OKC.
    Why they won’t win the tournament: The Longhorns allow too many walks and their .970 fielding percentage ranks 6th in tourney field. Extra base runners and extra outs spell doom in postseason play.
    Projected outcome: 4-2 – losing in the tournament final

    West Virginia
    Big 12 Record: 9-14 – No. 6 seed
    Why they can win the tournament: The Mountaineers do an excellent job of extending at bats. The team struck out fewer times than anyone in the field and they do a great job on the base paths. That kind of discipline is necessary in tournament play.
    Why they won’t win the tournament: After winning their series against Texas in Morgantown, WVU went on the road and lost their final six league games. West Virginia finished 2-10 in Big 12 road games.
    Projected outcome: 0-2

    Big 12 Record: 8-15 – No. 7 seed
    Why they can win the tournament: Junior Adam Toth might be the league’s best offensive player. If Toth catches fire and carries the offense…
    Why they won’t win the tournament: Beyond Toth, BU can’t score. Baylor ranks last in Big 12 in batting and only scored 71 runs in conference play.
    Projected outcome: 1-2 – losing in divisional play

    Big 12 Record: 8-16 – No. 8 seed
    Why they can win the tournament: (crickets chirping)
    Why they won’t win the tournament: The Sooners have a Team ERA more than a full run higher than any team in the tournament. OU’s pitching staff is the only one in the tournament field allowing a .300+ baa. Oklahoma also finished with the worst fielding percentage in the Big 12.
    Projected outcome: 0-2

    • May 20 2014 12:28 PM
    • by Matt Cotcher
  3. Weekend Recap

    For all the success that the Texas Longhorns built over the first half of the season, they have allowed it to be chipped away. While their early season wins still stand strong in computer calculations, it is easy to see that this team is close to losing all the advantages from those wins. Will that core stand strong, or will the tree topple?

    The Texas Longhorns lost their third consecutive Big 12 series in Morgantown, WV over the weekend. The Longhorns sparkled on Saturday in a 2-0 win, but sandwiched that game with ugly performances on Friday and Sunday.

    After Sunday’s loss, Texas is 11-10 in conference play. The Longhorns started the Big 12 season with a 9-3 record, including two consecutive sweeps, but have now lost seven of their last nine conference games.
    Playing without weekend starting pitcher Dylan Peters, Texas gave the ball to Lukas Schiraldi on Sunday. With a big opportunity to shine in the finale, the junior from Austin only lasted two innings, giving up four hits and two walks on the way to surrendering five runs. Only three of the runs were earned, but Schiraldi was not able to effectively locate his pitches and didn’t provide the spark that his teammates obviously need.

    Key moment of the series
    On Sunday, the Longhorns struck first, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning. However, West Virginia responded with 4 runs in the home half. The Mountaineers scored on just 2 hits and capitalized on 2 errors from the Texas defense.

    Instead of seizing momentum in the finale, the Horns allowed WVU to establish control of the game. Although Texas continued to score, they never were able to wrest momentum from West Virginia after that inning.

    Inside the series
    Friday Loss – Texas Defense commits 5 errors
    Saturday Win – Texas Defense commits 1 error
    Sunday Loss – Texas Defense commits 3 errors

    Friday Loss – Texas batters have 11 hits and one walk
    Saturday Win – Texas batters have 6 hits and one walk
    Sunday Loss – Texas batters have 12 hits and four walks

    Friday Loss – Texas pitchers gave up 11 hits, 4 walks and hit 1 batter
    Saturday Win – Texas pitchers gave up 11 hits and 2 walks
    Sunday Loss – Texas pitchers gave up 14 hits, 4 walks and threw 3 wild pitches

    The glaring aspect of those data sets is that this series loss does not belong to the Texas offense. While the defense and pitching could certainly be feeling pressured to be perfect in order to compensate for the lacking offensive production of late, this weekend those two aspects were anything but perfect in Morgantown. Whether it is pressure, fatigue, or locker room issues, Augie Garrido and Skip Johnson must find a way to reignite the pitching and defense.

    For example, the key difference in Saturday’s win is that Texas pitchers were at their best when the Mountaineers were on base. In the lone win of the series, the Horns were outhit 11 to 6 but held WVU hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. Three Texas pitchers combined to leave 12 Mountaineers on base in the game.

    Posted Image
    photo credit: wvusports.com

    The Big Picture
    The Longhorns are now at 34-15 overall and 11-10 in Big 12 play. In mid-April, the team was 30-8/9-3, but that feels like a different season. All of the postseason prospects that seemed a foregone conclusion are dying like fly balls at the Disch.

    At 11-10, Texas is now fifth in the Big 12. Worse news still, the four teams above them in the standings are the same ones who beat Texas in weekend series. The conclusion of this ugly tale is that the three teams that the Horns totaled an 8-1 record against are now three of the bottom four teams in the Big 12 standings.

    Troubling Trend
    In back-to-back weeks, the Longhorns entered Sunday games needing a win to get a series victory. Texas lost those two games by a combined score of 18-9. In the second half of the season, this team is not responding well when the pressure is highest.

    Notable Quote
    “Losing is almost like winning. The difference is in winning you do the right thing at the right time, in losing you have to do the right thing at the wrong time. What is going to be different this year is their attitude.” – Augie Garrido

    • May 04 2014 05:26 PM
    • by Matt Cotcher