C.J. Hinojosa

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The pitching staff continued its dominance this weekend, but it was the Texas bats that stole the show against Columbia.

No. 19 Texas played nearly flawless baseball this weekend, sweeping Columbia in its three-game series. The Longhorns tallied 24 combined runs, showcasing a new element that the team has been searching for all season.

Game 1 was the closest of the weekend, but Texas used timely hitting to defeat Columbia 7-3, behind six strong innings from junior pitcher Dillon Peters. The Longhorns started a rally in the fourth inning after junior outfielder Collin Shaw tripled to score sophomore shortstop C.J. Hinojosa, before scoring himself on a double by freshman catcher Tres Barrera.

Texas pounced on Columbia again in the next inning when Shaw singled with the bases loaded to put two more runs on the board, making the score 5-0. Shaw finished the game with three hits and three RBIs to lead the team.

“[Shaw] is making it look easy,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “You don’t always get a hit. The weakest ball that Ben Johnson has hit in a week was a hit. So this business of hits, I told Ben it is just about luck — maybe hitting is about being lucky. But, Shaw did a great job.”

In Game 2, Texas pulled out in front in the first inning with an RBI groundout by Hinojosa. Columbia answered with a run of its own in the top of the second, but it would be the only run the Lions could push across against the Longhorns.

The Longhorns ended up taking the game 6-1 behind 7.1 strong innings from junior pitcher Parker French, who struck out six while allowing just six hits. Junior second baseman Brooks Marlow buoyed the offense with a 2-for-4 and two RBI performance while Hinojosa added two RBIs of his own.

Game 3 was the most lopsided win of the weekend, and perhaps of the year for Texas. Senior pitcher Nathan Thornhill starred with his eight innings of scoreless baseball on the mound. When the dust settled, Texas had compiled 11 runs on 13 hits, taking the game 11-0.

The biggest surprise of the third game was the 4-for-5 effort by Barrera, who has struggled at the plate all season. He, along with three other Longhorns, posted two RBIs a piece in the blowout.

Texas will look to keep the offense firing on all cylinders when they host Texas State on Tuesday night.

Junior pitcher Parker French will be the Longhorns' opening game starter against California on Friday. French will be the No. 1 Texas starter for the second consecutive season after posting a 4-5 record and a 2.68 ERA as a sophomore last year.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Texas enters the 2014 season as a team whose numbers tell the story.

The Longhorns will begin their season against No. 22 California in Berkeley, Calif. on Friday. Following a disappointing 2013 campaign in which they ended as just the 25th best team, head coach Augie Garrido knows a change in mentality is imperative.

“I don’t know how they will react to the adversities. That will be the next step,” Garrido said. “The truth of the matter is, OK there is your talent, but the other truth about it is — and all of you know — talent is important, but it does not end up winning the game. Teamwork ends up winning the game.”

The team Garrido was alluding to lost 15 games last year that were decided by two runs or less. But with seven positional starters returning with a 17-2 record when scoring five or more runs last season, that cushion they love should keep growing.

“We are trying to take the emphasis off of batting average and put the emphasis offensively on the true reason you win, and true reason you lose: run scoring,” Garrido said. “Make a contribution to run-scoring with the kind of outs they make and the timely hits they get. So, that is where we will be coming from, and we think we have the right attitude to be able to do it.”

Senior Mark Payton and sophomore C.J. Hinojosa return as the leading hitters for Texas, notching averages of .393 and .309 last season. Although the Bears return 23 players from last year’s squad, no starting pitcher recorded an ERA less than 3.00, which bodes well for the Longhorns looking for runs in bunches.

“We can score as many runs as we want in an inning, that’s something that has changed,” Hinojosa said. “That’s something that is going to change this year. We are going to score a lot this year. From my aspect, seeing everything, I think we are going to score.”

In addition to returning a huge portion of their starting lineup, the Longhorns also return 89 percent of their total innings pitched from last season, including the entire starting rotation that posted a stellar combined ERA of 2.29 last season.

“It’s refreshing [having the entire rotation back],” junior pitcher Dillon Peters. “I think we are all comfortable knowing what our roles are. We’re going to get after it the same way we got after it last year and just produce for our team and keep as many runs off the boards as we can.”

Junior pitcher Parker French, who finished last season with a 4-5 record and 2.68 ERA, will toe the line for the Longhorns on Friday night against a Bears team that finished eight games under .500 last year. Texas is 10-2 in season openers since 2002, and has won six straight.

The series between the two teams is tied at six wins apiece, but Texas is hoping to increase its win total to 10 after the four-game series this weekend.

Excited and hungry, Texas will start another trek to Omaha, Neb., with expectations that they will be in the No. 1 spot when that trip comes.

“We’re ready to get our feet wet, whether it’s raining or snowing,” Hinojosa said. “Everybody is ready to come out ready to grind it and groove for however long we get to play.”

It did not take long for shortstop C.J Hinojosa to record his first signature moment with the Longhorns.
The standout freshman laced a walk-off RBI single to center field in the bottom of the ninth Saturday to score Erich Wiess and give Texas a 4-3 win over the Cornhuskers. Weiss doubled with one out in the inning to get into scoring position, and Nebraska pitcher Dylan Vogt intentionally walked Mark Payton to bring Hinojosa up to the plate.
Hinojosa, who went 2-for-5 in the game and is now hitting .429, had a brief conversation with head coach Augie Garrido before his final at bat and tried not to overthink as he went to the plate.
“My mindset was just go up there and clean my head,” Hinojosa said. “I had four at bats before that, two were good, two were bad. Augie calmed me down and I just went up there with a clear mind and had fun with it.“
The Longhorns never trailed but blew a pair of leads over the course of the game. Codey McElroy kicked off the scoring for the Longhorns with an RBI double down the third baseline to score Jacob Felts in the second inning, and Texas added a run in the third on an RBI sacrifice bunt by Mark Payton to take an early 2-0 lead.
Nebraska answered with a two-out RBI double by Bryan Peters in the fifth inning and a pinch-hit RBI single by Blake Headley to tie the score. Texas retook the lead 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh on a bases loaded walk to Payton, but Nebraska knotted the score again with a sac fly by Kash Kalkowski in the top of the eighth.
Garrido was pleased with the resiliency of his team, and he said that the ability to overcome adversity and win is key to the confidence of his team.
“Every time you win one of these types of games, it is support to the fact that if you keep your commitment to learning from the things that go wrong, you can become better, and better and better,” Garrido said.
Starting pitcher Dillon Peters had another strong outing for the Longhorns in his second start of the year, limiting the Cornhuskers to two runs (one earned) while striking out four in six plus innings. Six relievers appeared in the game for the Longhorns and combined to allow one run in three innings.
The Longhorns (5-1) will look to complete the three-game sweep of Nebraska (0-5) on Saturday. The game is scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. CT at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Freshman shortstop C.J. Hinojosa (9) rounds the bases in the the annual Texas baseball alumni game held Feb. 2. Hinojosa had p

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

This Friday, the Longhorns will finally get their first glimpse of freshman C.J. Hinojosa, the No. 3 shortstop recruit in the nation, according to Perfect Game, who went to Klein Collins High School in Spring. After several unfortunate mishaps, Hinojosa is finally taking the field in his first collegiate series Friday against Sacramento State. The first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. Friday evening at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

The Longhorns will look to Hinojosa to fill several different roles this season. Hinojosa was a powerful force at the plate in high school, before a season-ending injury last year, and his talents will be a positive addition to the power-lacking Texas offense. In addition, his abilities at shortstop will help an infield that committed 70 errors in 52 games in 2012.

Hinojosa originally tried to graduate from high school early and enroll in time for last year’s spring season. However, the large academic responsibility of graduating early took a toll on Hinojosa, who decided against graduating early back in December 2011.

“It was really disappointing. I did everything that I could,” Hinojosa said of missing out on the opportunity to play for the Longhorns in 2012.

Scouts had been following him since his early playing days in high school, and when Hinojosa was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 26th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft, many were wary of him ever coming to the 40 Acres. After much consideration, the promise of a good education and a chance to play under Texas head coach Augie Garrido convinced Hinojosa to become a Longhorn.

“A college education is big,” Hinojosa said. “I don’t want to have nothing to fall back on.”

Hinojosa’s senior season was cut short, however, after he underwent elective surgery to repair damage in his non-throwing shoulder. The damage, he said, was likely caused by landing too many times on his shoulder while trying to catch balls up the middle.

After having surgery and sitting out most of his senior season at Klein Collins, Hinojosa is slowly getting back to form just in time for the start of the season.

“I thought I wasn’t going to play baseball again at the level that I wanted to,” Hinojosa admitted about the process of recovering after his injury. “I didn’t know if I could come back strong enough.”

Although he is not 100 percent back to the full capabilities that he had in high school, only the little things, like speed and power at the plate, need to be tweaked.

“He’s an old baseball soul,” Garrido said. “He knows the game, knows how to play it, he has good instincts. But he’s been away from the game for a long time. He’s doing OK, he’s getting into shape. He’s quicker
and stronger.”

The coaching staff has been keeping this weekend’s starting lineup pretty close to the vest. Only part of the starting pitching staff has been announced with any certainty. However, Garrido has mentioned Hinojosa could find himself at sixth in the batting order and most expect him to start at shortstop when Sacramento State comes to town this weekend.

Until that decision is finalized, Hinojosa is just focused on becoming a better ball player and is intent on helping the Longhorns make it to Omaha.

“You got to go out there and have a good attitude and play your game,” Hinojosa said. “Coach Garrido says to carry yourself like a major league baseball player, so that’s what I am going to do.”

What he wants people to know most about him is that despite the injury, despite being recruited by major league scouts, and despite all of the attention he has received as a top-ranked recruit, he is a really hardworking baseball player who likes the simple things about the game.

“I like to hit,” Hinojosa said simply. “I like to square it up.”

Baseball: C.J. Hinojosa from The Daily Texan on Vimeo.

Published on February 15, 2013 as "Horns host Hornets". 

Longhorns shortstop Christian Summers to transfer

Junior shortstop Christian Summers will transfer, Texas announced Thursday.

Summers played in 14 games last year, batting .100 with five runs and one RBI while comitting four errors. He hit .182 in 13 games as a freshman in 2010, driving in two runs and scoring another. With the graduation of Jordan Etier, a shortstop who started 63 of the Longhorns' 68 games last year, Summers' departure paves the way for freshman C.J. Hinojosa to assume the role of everyday shortstop.

A very highly-regarded prospect out of Klein Collins (Houston, Texas), Hinojosa chose to enroll at UT rather than sign with the Houston Astros, who drafted him in the 26th round of this year's MLB Draft. After initially intending to enroll at Texas in the spring, Hinojosa separated his shoulder during his senior season earlier this year but played in both of the Longhorns' fall scrimmages.

Texas baseball team adds prep star C.J. Hinojosa

One of the top 2012 MLB Draft prospects has become the newest addition to Augie Garrido’s arsenal.

Shortstop C.J. Hinojosa, has completed an aid agreement with the Longhorns and will enroll at Texas once he graduates from Klein Collins High School in December.

Hinojosa, considered by many to be one of the best fielding shortstops in the 2012 draft class, was good enough offensively to post a .405 batting average, steal 12 bases, and notch 27 extra-base hits in 32 games, 16 of them homeruns.

The senior shortstop is rated as the state of Texas’ second-best prospect and 13th-best in the nation by Perfect Game. According to the All-American Association, Hinojosa is ranked 19th among high schoolers, behind only Nick Williams of Galveston Ball among Texas high schoolers, who’s also committed to play for Texas. Hinojosa is slated as the No. 48 overall 2012 MLB draft prospect, six spots behind junior left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner, who is 10-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 50 career appearances during his first two seasons at Texas. Hinojosa will be ineligible for the MLB draft until 2014.