Texas looks to keep momentum rolling into first game of road trip

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns and Islanders find themselves at opposing ends of fulfillment before they meet at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi.

Texas (17–10) rolls in with the excitement of a weekend series sweep over Kansas State, including back-to-back shutout victories, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (9–15) stumbles in with scarring memories of a 15-0 loss to the Longhorns less than a month ago at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

The Islanders can only hope to begin the healing process as they seek revenge against Texas on their home field.

But Texas head coach David Pierce doesn’t expect his squad to slow down anytime soon.

“I just think we’re building calluses, and we’re actually becoming more and more competitive,” Pierce said. “We’re pushing the envelope a little bit, but I want us to be aggressive and not be timid. And you’re starting to see that more and more.”

Looking back at the teams’ previous meeting on March 8, a 10-run rule was called in the seventh inning after Texas gashed Islander pitchers by scoring 15 runs. Longhorn batters found the ball for 15 hits, tying their matchup against Texas State on March 21 for the most hits in a game this season.

If the Longhorns can replicate the success from their double-digit win against the Islander ball club on Tuesday, Pierce should have no worries about having to cultivate an aggressive offense.

But the head coach made it clear that the Longhorns’ success came primarily as result of remaining focused throughout the entire game, despite having a distinct advantage on the scoreboard.

“Throughout the evening we’re talking about getting better and improvement as the game is being played,” Pierce said after the 15-0 win. “It’s not just ‘we’re up big, so we get to relax.’ It’s ‘We’re still concentrating and trying to get better.’”

Since their win over Texas A&M-CC, the Longhorns have experienced many ups and downs along the road. Their opening series of conference play against No. 3 Texas Tech resulted in a sweep at the hands of the Red Raiders.

However, the Longhorns have bounced back this past weekend with a series sweep of their own over Kansas State.

“It’s huge,” sophomore designated hitter Kody Clemens said. “We got swept by Texas Tech, and now we’re right back in the hunt. We have a long ways to go in conference play still, so being able to get those three wins back is huge for us.”

Clemens — who hasn’t played defense on the field since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2016 — has been enjoying his view of the Longhorn pitching staff from the dugout. 

“Our pitching has been unbelievable all season,” Clemens said. “Every single game, they’ve given us the opportunity to win, and we’re just letting them do their thing right now.”

After pitching a complete game shutout against Kansas State Friday, sophomore Nolan Kingham earned  Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors. The Texas pitching staff looks to build off Kingham’s big game heading into Corpus Christi.

If the Islanders are hoping for a different outcome this time around, they will have to use their home field to their advantage. The Longhorns have only played 6 of 27 games outside the Disch with a 2–4 record on the road this season. 

Both teams are set to go head-to-head for the rematch in Whataburger Field at 6:30 p.m.