Longhorns look to end dry spell against Wichita State

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Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

So far this season, it’s been a tale of two halves for the Longhorns.

Texas opened the season taking two out of four games at Rice and Stanford, swept Minnesota and started conference play with a 5–1 record.

But the Longhorns have fallen on hard times recently. After Sunday’s loss at Oklahoma State, the team has now lost seven-straight games — the most since Texas lost eight straight in 1956 — and has fallen either out of or to the bottom of most of the rankings. In the process, Texas has also dropped to fourth in the Big 12 standings with a series against TCU still looming.

Now, the Longhorns will look to snap the losing streak and jump-start the offense in a midweek showdown against Wichita State on Tuesday.

“It’s just about run scoring and being able to get the runners on base and capitalize with timely hitting, and we’re not doing that,” head coach Augie Garrido said.

The bulk of the issues for the Longhorns in their recent dive have been just that: struggling in the batter’s box. Texas ranks last in the Big 12 with a .245 team batting average and has struck out 245 collectively, the most in the conference.

And even when the Longhorns have gotten on base, they’ve had trouble finding their way home. In the three games at Oklahoma State, Texas left 33 total runners on base, including 19 in the 18-inning game Friday.

In that game, the Longhorns had five chances in the nine extra innings to take the lead, including a great opportunity in the 12th with a runner at third and one out. However, they failed with each opportunity, allowing the Cowboys to win it in the 18th.

“A lot has been done to try to give them the confidence to take the at-bat with nobody on base,” Garrido said. “If you have the runners in your head, then you can’t be fully focused on the ball, which is really all you can do as a hitter.”

And the lack of hitting has spoiled strong pitching for the Longhorns.

Senior starting pitcher Parker French is eighth in the conference with a 2.31 ERA and sophomore starter Kacy Clemens had only given up two runs in his previous three starts before Sunday.

Things start to get a little easier for the Longhorns on Tuesday against the Shockers. Wichita State comes in with a 13–18 record and is just 4–9 on the road this season.

The Shockers’ pitching staff is considerably lighter than what the Longhorns faced this past weekend in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Wichita State pitchers have combined for a 5.16 ERA and have allowed opponents to post a .280 batting average against them.

Even with all of the recent struggles, Garrido said the team isn’t going to make any excuses.

“We understand the responsibilities we have,” Garrido said. “Momentum is what gets it rolling.