Longhorns prepare for final tune-up before Big 12 play

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After struggling offensively, the Longhorns found a spark against Stanford. Texas hopes its offense ignites against the Cardinals in its final game before Big 12 play.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

No. 16 Texas (10–6) returns home after splitting a four-game series against Stanford in Palo Alto, California, to face the Incarnate Word Cardinals (7–9).

The Longhorns have dropped four of their last six games after starting the season 7–2, deafeating No. 11 Rice twice and sweeping a four-game set against Minnesota. 

Despite struggling over the past week, head coach Augie Garrido said the losses were a learning experience for the team.

“The value [of losing] is if we would’ve won those games, we wouldn’t have taken apart every detail like we did and got back to work on those details,” Garrido said. “Winning kind of sweeps dirt under the carpet, but when you lose, you really start to pay attention.”

During its first five home games, the Longhorns scored 45 runs on 67 hits and only allowed four runs.

The offense came to a halt, however, as Texas only scored 7 runs in its last three home games, but its confidence remains high despite its struggles.

“Everybody has confidence in one through nine that they’re going to go up there and do their job, which is all you can ask at the end of the day,” senior right fielder Collin Shaw said. “Every at-bat matters. Every pitch matters in college baseball, and that’s kind of the fun in college baseball.”

And the team’s confidence showed in Sunday’s game against Stanford. The Longhorns displayed their offensive potential as they scored 12 runs on 15 hits.

The Longhorns hope their offensive explosion will carry over to their game versus Incarnate Word. Garrido said since the offensive drop-off at home, Texas has slowly improved.

“We really improved in every game we played [at Stanford],” Garrido said. “The toughest game was the first one. … We were uncharacteristically impatient and swinging at bad pitches, but we got it straightened out and ended the series in the right way.”

Texas will also try to keep up its pitching performance. The Longhorns have seen good performances from their starting pitchers — senior Parker French, junior Chad Hollingsworth, sophomore Josh Sawyer and sophomore Kacy Clemens.

Texas also has a deep bullpen. The Longhorns are hoping to find the right balance between its pitching and batting as Big 12 conference play quickly approaches. Texas’ game against the Cardinals will be the final game before they begin conference play.

Senior second baseman Brooks Marlow said he and the team hope that their performance in practice translates into their upcoming games.

“We’ve been practicing all fall and early spring, and this is kind of the outcome we’ve had during practices — hitting the ball hard and pitching very well,” Marlow said. “We’re just bringing it to the ballpark every day.”

First pitch against Incarnate Word is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. The game will air on the Longhorn Network.