The No. 8 Texas Longhorns, who have muscled through the early part of their schedule, are set to face what may be their biggest challenge of the season so far this weekend.
The Longhorns travel west to California to compete in the Cathedral City Classic where they will play a total of five games. The Cathedral City Classic will be a major test for Texas as they prepare to challenge three top 25 teams. So far, the team is 8-0 on the season having just come off a weather-dictated, but successful, weekend at the Texas Classic Invitational. After multiple rain delays and cancellations, Texas survived the weekend with two wins moving them up in the national rankings from 13th to eighth. Blaire Luna was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week with two wins, including a 13 strike out performance in their 3-2 victory over No. 10 Tennessee. The mud-soaked comeback victory was capped by an inside the park home run by Brejae Washington.
Texas starts out the tournament today with two games. The first match is against Cal State Northridge whom the Longhorns have played a total of seven times in their history. Texas leads this series 4-3. The Longhorn’s second game of the day is against San Diego State, with whom they are deadlocked in a 1-1 tie in their series history.
Friday’s game promises to be a particularly difficult test for the Longhorns and perhaps their toughest game of the season when they face the No. 1 team in the nation, the Florida Gators. Texas is 3-4 against the Gators in their all-time record, and a less than stellar 1-3 when playing at a neutral site. The last time these two teams met was last season in the Cathedral City Classic where Florida took the 4-3 victory after nine innings.
For the rest of the weekend the Longhorns will face No. 7 UCLA on Saturday and No. 22 Nebraska on Sunday. Overall, Texas is 4-8 against UCLA and 19-18 against Nebraska. While they have won their last five straight against the Cornhuskers, the last time Texas played UCLA they were handily defeated 9-1 in six innings.
While Texas has been dominant at home, the games in California will be the first time this season the Longhorns are playing away. The Longhorns need to bring the same competitive spirit and maturity that has kept them undefeated on the road to Palm Springs in order to win the Cathedral City Classic.
Printed on Thursday, February 23, 2012 as: Texas treks out West, top teams follow suit