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Baseball: Where the Longhorns Stand with Two Big 12 Series Left

Mitch Lovell
Mitch Lovell

Texas pitcher Lucas Gordon (13) pitches during the second inning of the Longhorns' game against the University of Oklahoma Sooners at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, April 21, 2023. Photo: © SARA DIGGINS/AMERICAN-STATESMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

Texas sits at 30-16 (10-8) in the Big 12 good for sole possession of third place. Texas is 2.5 games back of 1st place West Virginia, who Texas hosts the final weekend of the regular season.

The Texas Longhorns (30-16, 10-8) did their job last weekend by taking 2 of 3 against TCU in Fort Worth. It was a must-win series for David Pierce and while a sweep would have been nice, they still took care of business on the road. Next up the Longhorns head back on the road to take on Kansas in Lawrence. In a nutshell, Texas likely has to go 5-1 against Kansas and West Virginia for any hope at winning the Big 12 regular season crown.

Can Texas Reach Omaha For Third Consecutive Year?

David Pierce and company are trying to reach Omaha for third straight year and fourth time in five seasons. While this was viewed as a rebuild year for Texas, the expectations in Austin are always Omaha. It certainly hasn’t been a perfect season but if the Longhorns can win the last three series, they have a real shot at being a top 16 seed and hosting a Regional.

By hosting a Regional, Texas gives themselves a great shot at advancing to a Super Regional. Even if they don’t host in the Supers, Texas is an expeienced program that has a chance to return to Omaha. No team would be happy to be welcoming in the Longhorns for a best of three series.

The Longhorns have their flaws, but nobody wants to face Lucas Gordon and a more ready Tanner Witt in two of three games. Even with Witt on a pitch count, that isn’t desirable for even someone like LSU. Gordon has been nothing short of spectacular this year and is arguably the best pitcher in the Big 12. When Gordon is on the mound Texas always has a chance to win. A Gordon win in a Super Regional leaves Texas needing one more win to return to Omaha, which is certainly doable.

The offense isn’t perfect but when they are on, they garner more than enough production. Dylan Campbell has really turned it on since the early season slump. Campbell is currently on a 23-game hit streak. His teammate, Porter Brown, has been exceptional as an incoming transfer from TCU. Brown is batting .333 with 8 HR and 39 RBI’s to go along with his exceptional defense as well.

Texas fans should watch for a couple of things down the stretch besides just wins. The first is the bullpen. Collectively they have struggled with control. If they can clean that up it will help tremendously in the postseason. Another is the offense needs to hit better with RISP as that has been a major issue of late. The biggest x-factor of the season is Tanner Witt and how many pitches he can throw come post-season. Witt returned Monday against the Horned Frogs and struggled with his control. He hasn’t pitched in over a year, but if he can knock the rust off and go from his current 20 pitch limit to something like 60 in the postseason, that would be huge for the team as they head into postseason play.

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