Jordan Etier

Senior infielder dismissed from team

Jordan Etier has been released from the Texas baseball team, school officials announced Monday.
 
The senior infielder was arrested over the weekend for possession of marijuana and evading police, both misdemeanors. Etier will remain enrolled at the University of Texas but will be prohibited from participating in any team-related functions.
 
A starter at second baseman last season, Etier, a graduate of Westlake High School, had a .237 batting average and hit two home runs.

Senior infielder arrested Saturday

Senior infielder Jordan Etier was arrested Saturday for possession of marijuana and evasion of arrest. He did not play in the Sunday scrimmage.
Senior infielder Jordan Etier was arrested Saturday for possession of marijuana and evasion of arrest. He did not play in the Sunday scrimmage.

Texas baseball player Jordan Etier was arrested Saturday for the misdemeanors of possession of marijuana and evading arrest, according to reports from the Travis County Sheriff’s office.

Etier, who was booked in the afternoon, left central booking after posting a $2,000 bail.

“I don’t know what the administration is going to do, I’ll have to meet with them tomorrow,” head coach Augie Garrido said of Etier’s status with the team. “I really don’t have any accurate information on the [arrest], other than what the result of it was.”

A skilled defensive infielder, Etier did not participate in the Sunday scrimmage against Houston. In his absence, sophomore Christian Summers played shortstop and freshman Brooks Marlow played second base. Etier played second last season for the Longhorns but, with the loss of Brandon Loy, was a candidate to switch over to shortstop, the position he played at Westlake High School. He had been learning to switch-hit as well, saying, “I figured I would keep working at it and it would help us in the spring.”

A two-year starter, he was also set to enter this season as one of the key figures in the clubhouse this season, saying at the start of fall practice that he needed to “be a leader and a competitor for the team.”

“We’re going to have good fall work outs and that will continue into a great season. The closer we can grow together and communicate, the better team we’re going to be.”

Etier spent much of his freshman year, the 2009 season, watching from the dugout. He enjoyed a breakout campaign his sophomore season, belting nine home runs as a first-year starter. As a junior, he hit for a .237 batting average, struck out 33 times and hit two homers, including a game-clincher against Arizona State in the second game of the NCAA Super Regionals.

Printed on Monday, October 17, 2011 as: Misdemeanor arrests leave infielder's future uncertain 

Senior Jordan Etier was reinstated to the Texas baseball team on January 18 after he was suspended for the entire season stemming from an arrest for marijuana possession and evading arrest. Since than he’s attempted to make the most of his second chance and be a leader on the field for his team.

Photo Credit: Fanny Trang | Daily Texan Staff

Streaming from the dugout, teammates raced towards Jordan Etier and moments later a massive pile of humanity engulfed him at first base, celebrating Etier’s game winning at bat against Texas A&M last Sunday.

It wasn’t the at bat itself that was so special — just a simple ground ball at the first baseman, and barely far enough up the line to score the runner from third.

But for Etier, it meant so much more. It represented the fulfillment of a second chance, because only a few months ago, he thought he might never get to play baseball again.

On October 15, Etier was arrested on charges of evading arrest and possession of marijuana.

Two days later Etier was dismissed from the team, and in many ways, the dismissal cost him his identity as a person.

“Every day waking up after that happened I thought, ‘God what am I supposed to do today? I only got classes and I have no baseball with my boys’,” he said. “I think that was the biggest thing, just waking up and thinking, ‘God I can’t do this anymore. It was there and now it’s just all gone.’”

However, the time away from the game proved to be a blessing, because it allowed him time to reflect on life and transform as a person. Before the suspension, it was all about baseball and having a little too much fun off of the field, but after his arrest life became more balanced.

“It gave me the opportunity to understand that baseball isn’t everything in life, because it’s not,” Etier said. “I was able to enjoy time fishing with my cousin and doing other little things, like helping my dad in the yard and finding time to spend with my grandparents and my half-sister, who I really go to know. I just really found happiness.”

But the change would have never happened if it wasn’t for one bad decision on a mid-October afternoon.

What happened that afternoon

Like some college students who find trouble on a Saturday, Etier’s issues stemmed from a night of heavy drinking and the bad decisions that come with that. In his case, he made the decision to wake up and attend a tailgate the next morning despite still being intoxicated from the night before.

At the tailgate Etier continued to drink until he and his friend, a baseball player from Oklahoma State, went down to a ravine area near the tailgate, which many students use as a place to drink or smoke, and even as a crude location for a bathroom break.

The latter was the reason that Etier and his friend took a trip down to the spot. A few minutes after they arrived a police officer called out to them to come up to the top of the ditch to talk. At that moment Etier had a choice, approach the officer and risk arrest, as he had two-thirds an ounce of weed on him at the time, or run.

Maybe it was because of the drinking or maybe it was because he thought it was the easiest option at the time, but he knows one thing was true. He was with his friend and he didn’t want him to get in trouble, so he ran.

“Once I saw him, I mean, there were 50,000 people there and he was on a bike, and I just thought it’d be a lot easier to get away real quick,” Etier said. Etier claims he did get away from the first officer, but as he recalls with a slight grin because of his oversight, “I couldn’t get away from their walkie-talkies.”

He eventually ran into Trinity Garage right off of campus and disposed of the marijuana he was carrying along with the receipt it was wrapped in. Both were later found by police and used in the charges against him.

To make matters worse, the arrest took place a night before the team’s first fall game, which he says was the toughest part of the ordeal.

“Sitting in jail while my teammates were out there playing was the worst part,” Etier said. “I wanted to be out there so bad that I was doing pushups, crunches, whatever in the cell to keep my mind off of it.”

However, Etier admits that he wouldn’t change much of what happened over those couple of days, because of the improvements he’s made as a person in the months following.

“I don’t regret it because it’s put me in a good place as far as seeing what I really want in life,” he said. “It’s also helped me see that life is not just all baseball. But I do regret the fact that I ran. I mean, it was a pretty bad deal sitting in a jail cell while all my other friends were out there playing.”

How he turned his life around

That terrible feeling he had about letting his teammates down was the first step in his recovery as a person and in getting back to UFCU Disch-Falk Field as a player.

But it wasn’t an easy road.

At first Etier was upset with the situation and angry with himself about his choices. But his teammates never quit on him, and it was their support during the ordeal that kept him upbeat and attending classes regularly.

His roommate and teammate Jonathan Walsh says that the team just tried to “show him love” throughout the process. Etier was thankful for it, because there were a lot of people around campus and the community who weren’t nearly as kind.

“There were a lot of other people going ‘hey look at that guy, he fucked up his career,’” Etier said. “But it really meant a lot to have that support from my teammates.”

His teammates weren’t the only source of love that Etier received. His family was key in helping him make the necessary changes, and the whole ordeal also brought them much closer together.

For the rest of the fall semester after his arrest, Etier went to live with his grandparents in West Lake Hills. The time he spent there allowed him to reflect and come to terms with his actions on his own.

“When I was able to go out and live with my grandparents I was not only able to make my own decisions, but was also able to have their support,” he said. “That was key because I had to come to terms with it myself, otherwise I don’t think it would have really sunk in the way it has.”

Though, Etier was in no way done with the game. He missed playing with his teammates out on the field and every day after class. In an attempt to fill that void, he would go hit with his dad, his friends or even just the little leaguers who would be outdoors practicing. He missed the game, badly.

Only problem was, despite finding a new perspective on life and making a change for the better, he still didn’t have a place to play his senior season.  

The reinstatement process

When he was originally suspended, Texas head coach Augie Garrido told Etier that he would find him a place to play for his senior year, because he had always respected the tenacity and appreciation for the game that Etier displayed on the field.

Plus, Garrido is a real believer in people receiving a second chance, something he has experienced firsthand after his drunken driving incident in 2009. That event made Garrido a better person in the end, and he attempted to pass on that message to Etier.

“He told me it was just like when he endangered people through his incident and that he learned a lot from it,” Etier said. “That gave me the inspiration that I knew I could do the same and learn from the situation.”

Etier was originally scheduled to play at St. Edward’s University for his senior season — something that he didn’t want to do one bit. But St. Edward’s refused to admit Etier for the spring semester to play baseball, so he turned to his legendary coach for help at a second chance.

“I called coach Garrido, and he was like, ‘That’s not what we talked about, I have your back, and we’ll find you a place to play’,” Etier said.

Garrido set up one last meeting with athletic director DeLoss Dodds attempting to persuade Dodds to put Etier back on the team. In the meeting, Dodds sat right across for Jordan and looked at him squarely in the eyes to determine if he really had changed as a person. The charges had been dropped, but Etier wouldn’t be reinstated if Dodds didn’t firmly believe that Etier had not only learned from the incident but had also transformed as a person.

In the end, Dodds determined that he had earned a second chance, and Garrido had this to say about his shortstop’s reinstatement:

“It was decided by the administration to bring the punishment more in line with Jordan’s wrongdoing. After he was dismissed from the team in the fall, Jordan continued to attend class, which was looked on in a positive light by the administration ... which demonstrated his effort to learn and grow from the incident,” he said.

Fittingly, it was Garrido and not the administration who got to break the news to his shortstop.

“Coach Garrido just called me into his office and was like, ‘This is your second chance, this is your second life. You learned from your first one and now it’s time to make the most from what you learned from it,’” Etier said.

Etier gets his second chance

Etier was reinstated by the administration on January 18 and would have to sit out the first four games of the season due to suspension, but he was just thrilled to be back out on the field with his teammates.

“For so long, I couldn’t even wipe the smile from my face from just being able to be out there with the guys and having fun,” Etier said.

He wasn’t the only one; his teammates were ecstatic to have him back out on the practice field with them. It was not just for what he brings with the glove and with the bat, but because he is an amazing teammate who brings an irresistible level of positive energy to the clubhouse.

“Jordan’s always been a great person and a caring person,” Walsh said. “He’s one of the most loyal friends I know. If I’m lost somewhere at three in the morning, he’ll come pick me up, just like that. He just shows love to everyone. He really is a kind person.”

It’s that ability to care that makes Etier an incredible leader for Texas. He knows when to get on a player for having a bad at bat, but at the same time, he will always be the first player to come up to his teammates with words of encouragement after an error or a strikeout.

He’s also the Longhorns’ vocal leader. He’s the one that keeps spirits up on the field and communicates with the infielders to make sure everyone knows their assignments and are in the right spots.

“He’s always talking out there letting everyone know what to do, and you need somebody like that,” said second baseman and Etier’s double play partner Brooks Marlow. “That’s what Jordan is. He’s a leader and he’ll be a leader for the rest of his life.”

The leadership qualities he displays on the diamond translate directly into the career he wants to have after he’s done playing baseball: coaching. He’s in love with the game, and it’s on display every time he hits the field with a grin that seems to belong more on a hometown sandlot than it does at a big-time college baseball program, and that’s the kind of passion he wants to pass on to future generations.

Fortunately for him, during the past four years he’s had the opportunity to learn from Garrido, one of the best coaches in history and the NCAA’s all-time wins leader, and he’s soaked up all that he could learn from him in his time on the 40 Acres.

Garrido also believes that Etier has what it takes to be a great head coach because of his vast knowledge of the game and because his troublesome experiences make him a more relatable person and compassionate teacher.

“He’s had a lot of decisions to make in his own life and it hasn’t been necessarily a smooth road for him,” Garrido said. “I think what that gives him is an internal and subconscious compassion for people that need to make changes in their life, and that’s what teaching is about.”

Etier is attempting to take Garrido’s philosophical approach to heart this season, and outside of winning a conference championship and making it back to Ohama, his goal for his senior year is to pass on his experiences to his teammates to ensure that they don’t make the same mistakes he’s committed.

“That’s what I want to do more than anything,” Etier said. “You can’t control other people, but you can help them with different situations and you can mentor them, you can tell them what you’ve been through.”

Back on the field

After sitting out the first four games of 2012 because of his suspension, Etier returned with full intentions on making the most of the second chance he was given. This year he’s played with a solid glove at shortstop, and his hitting average is up over .25 points from the previous season to .256.

It might not be the best season by a shortstop in Longhorn history, but the intangibles Etier displays on the field — things like hustling down the line, a positive attitude and working his tail off every day — have earned back any respect he may have lost from his teammates after his arrest.

This is his second life out there on the diamond. He made mistakes in his first one, but he firmly believes that he’s taken the lessons learned from those struggles and transformed himself into a new ballplayer and more importantly, a reformed person. The new Etier was on display on Sunday afternoon in the Longhorns’ final game against Texas A&M, in which he knocked in the game-winning RBI.

After contact, he bounded down the first base line with a look on his face of pure joy, something he knows would have never been possible without the lessons learned from an arrest that now seems to be a lifetime ago.

“That was awesome,” he said. “The fact that I was never going to get to be able to play again was heartbreaking, but to come out here and finish strong on my home diamond and at the dish to put the Aggies away, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Jonathan Walsh crosses home plate in the ninth inning to give Texas a 2-1 victory over Texas A&M on Sunday. The Longhorns avoided a sweep as senior Jordan Etier drove in the winning run.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Howeth | Daily Texan Staff

After more than 100 years of facing off on the diamond, the Longhorns weren’t about to go quietly to Texas A&M.

Down 1-0 and heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Longhorns worked a two-run comeback to avoid a sweep and to take what is quite possibly the final game for a long time in this historic series.

“It was incredible, I had chills running down my spine,” said Jordan Etier. “I couldn’t ask for a better feeling than the one I had right there.”

The rally started with a single into center field off the bat of Erich Weiss. Then Jonathan Walsh worked A&M closer Kyle Martin to a full count and singled into right field. Walsh was due in that situation, as he had come up all day with long, tough at bats and nothing to show for it.

The hit got the sellout Texas crowd on its feet for the first time all game, and the fight song echoed throughout the stadium.

Alex Silver, in typical Augie Garrido fashion, dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.

Catcher Jacob Felts came up next, and he continued his hot day at the plate by sending the first pitch he saw up the middle for his third hit of the game. The single scored Weiss and moved Walsh to third.

In what could be considered a slightly poetic moment, Etier — the lone senior starter — was the one that sent A&M to the Southeastern Conference with a loss.

On the first pitch of the at bat, Etier chopped a ground ball right at the first baseman Tyler Naquin. He fielded it cleanly and came home with the ball attempting to throw Walsh, who was streaking home from third, out at the plate. The throw was on time, but Walsh hooked around the tag from A&M’s catcher for the game ending and rivalry-ending run.

“Jonathan [Walsh] running in and scoring was the best part of the game in my opinion,” Etier said. “He was hustling down the line and trying to win one for his boys. You have to tip your hat to him because he made an incredible slide and a great play.”

After Walsh slid in safely at home, the Texas bench exploded onto the field to celebrate. It ended up being a split dog pile between Walsh at home and Etier at first base.

This is not the way the Longhorns would normally celebrate after a regular season win, but it being the final game against rival A&M, the players decided they could make an exception.

“This means a lot with this being the last game against those guys,” Felts said. “This was great and is a huge confidence booster moving forward.”

The ninth inning continues to be a strength for this Texas team, as it seems that the Longhorns play their best baseball when they’re under pressure to close out a game or when their backs are against the wall, attempting a comeback.

“It’s just like a survival instinct knowing that your three outs away from the end of the game,” Felts said. “Everyone is just fighting to keep the game going.”

The will to not give up and fight back gave this team an incredible victory, but more importantly to the players it meant that the final game in the books between these two historic rivals will forever read: 2-1 Texas.

Printed on Monday, April 30, 2012 as: Texas slides past A&m in ninth inning

Freshman Taylor Stell helped Texas reclaim the lead on Tuesday when he hit the ball into right field, allowing Mark Payton to score in the seventh inning.

Photo Credit: Skylar Isdale | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns squeaked out their third straight win Tuesday night after holding off outs in crucial moments at bat.

Texas racked up five hits in 12 two-out at-bats and scored its first three runs with two outs in a 4-2 victory over Central Arkansas (16-21, 10-11)Tuesday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The No. 20 Longhorns (24-14, 11-4) were tied at 2-2 at the seventh inning stretch before freshman Taylor Stell drove in sophomore right fielder Mark Payton, who tripled the previous plate appearance with an RBI single — all with two outs.

“The two-out hits were the difference in the game today,” said Stell, who was 1-for-3 that night. “The previous two at-bats hadn’t really worked out well, but I was seeing the ball good. I just tried to square it up and hope that it would find a hole.”

After a throwing error by shortstop Jordan Etier, the first of three that day by the senior, the Bears drew first blood in the top of the fourth inning, but Texas got the run back in the home half of the frame. Sophomore first baseman Alex Silver, sophomore catcher Jacob Felts and freshman second baseman Brooks Marlow all singled with two outs in the fourth inning as Silver scored to tie the game at 1-1.

“When you get two quick outs, you still have a third of your life left,” Silver said. “If someone gets a hit in front of you, it kind of clicks in your mind that it’s not that hard. If everyone’s hitting, it helps the next person in line.”

The Longhorns were at it again in the next inning as sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss hit into a potential inning-ending double play. But Central Arkansas sophomore shortstop Kraig Kelley made a throwing error of his own after Stell was forced out of second base, allowing senior center fielder Tim Maitland to give Texas its first lead of the contest at 2-1. “To get the runs that they need, in the way they got them, when they got them does show the right spirit,” said Longhorns head coach Augie Garrido. “They weren’t doing that before. They couldn’t get out of that rut.”

A bizarre sixth inning ensued as freshman John Curtiss allowed an RBI single to the first batter he faced after replacing sophomore Kirby Bellow on the mound. Etier’s second throwing error erased any chances of Texas turning a double play to end the threat, loading the bases with one out. Felts’ pickoff attempt at third base skipped by Weiss into left field as the Bears appeared to regain the lead, 3-2.

But home plate umpire Branden Padgett called interference on the Central Arkansas batter, junior third baseman Garrett Brown, who was called out. Curtiss struck out the next hitter to end the inning, eventually earning his second win of the season after Payton’s and Stell’s heroics in the following frame.

Texas also got a good effort on the mound from freshman Dillon Peters, who allowed two runs in just one inning of work against Kansas on Sunday. Peters did not allow an earned run, surrendering two hits, in 3.2 innings, his longest career outing. Sophomore closer Corey Knebel, two days after picking up a seven-out save, pitched two scoreless innings to get his eighth save of the season.

Stell, who was hit by a pitch while squaring around to bunt in the fifth inning, suffered an injury to his meniscus, said Garrido after the game. After a single in his final at-bat in the seventh inning, Stell, who served as the designated hitter Tuesday night, was replaced by pinch-runner Christian Summers. Garrido will have a better idea as to the extent of Stell’s injury following an MRI, although Stell insists he will play this weekend against Texas A&M.

“It’s hurting a little bit,” Stell admitted. “But I’ll be playing. If I’m in the lineup, I’ll be playing. I’ll just deal with it and figure it out after the season.”

Printed on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 as: Longhorns capitalize on two-out hits

Baseball Review

There must be something about the mound at Dish Falk Field that Parker French really likes, because he just doesn’t give up runs at home.

French pushed his scoreless streak at his home ballpark to 32.2 innings while going after seven innings of shutout ball on Saturday evening, leading Texas to a 3-0 win over Kansas.

“Parker did a really good job,” said head coach Augie Garrido. “It might not have been a smooth or as dominating as Oklahoma State [which was an eight inning scoreless performance by French], but it was consistent enough with the way the defense played behind him to make it work.

The defense did play a huge role in the outing, and shortstop Jordan Etier might have made the play that saved the game for the Longhorns in the third inning.

With two runners on at second and third and two outs, the Jayhawk batter hit a sharp ground ball into the hole between third base and short, but Etier tracked the ball down. Not only did he stop the ball from advancing into the outfield, he turned and made an incredible throw from deep in the hole to first nipping the runner while saving two runs from scoring.

“The big play of the game was Etier’s in the third, and how he threw a strike to first is beyond me,” Garrido said. “That saved the lead because it would have put them ahead 2-1.”

From there French didn’t need a lot of help. His sinker was working well and inducing a lot of ground balls from the Kansas hitters. But it was his use of his changeup in the outing that was really the key, as it gave the hitters another pitch to look at so they just couldn’t look for the sinker on every pitch.

“We didn’t go as much slider tonight because the changeup was so effective in the bullpen,” French said. “We stuck with the changeup to show the pitch and keep them off balance so they can’t sit on the sinker.”

Once French left the game in the eighth inning, Texas’ two stud relievers Hoby Milner and Corey Knebel came into the game and shut the Jayhawks down, combining for two innings of no-hit work.

The offense didn’t hit a ton on the evening but it was enough to give Texas the win.

The Longhorns got on the board quickly in the first inning in traditional small ball fashion. Mark Payton led off the game with a walk, Taylor Snell moved him over with a sac bunt and then Erich Weiss sent a single up the middle to score Payton.

Texas would add another run in the fourth inning after Kevin Lusson hit a two-out double all the way to the left-center field wall and then he was plated by a sharp single off the bat of Jacob Felts.

The last Longhorn run of the evening came with Snell on base, as he advanced to second after a single and a passed ball, and then Weiss recorded his second RBI of the night when he blooped a single into right field, which scored Snell.

Sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss slides safely back into first base during Texas’ 6-1 win over Texas State last Tuesday. Weiss, a .348 hitter last season, went 7-for-15 in last weekend’s three-game sweep of the Sooners, raising his batting average this year from .259 to .304.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

Head Coach Augie Garrido was unsure of whether his team could play well away from home, especially in a place like Norman, Okla., home of the Oklahoma Sooners, his Longhorns’ first Big 12 foe of the year.

“I think after tonight we can hope [that we’re ready],” Garrido said after a 6-1 win over No. 20 Texas State last Tuesday.

“Whether we’ll be able to go from the coziness of where we scrimmage and take it to a different environment remains to be seen.”

After Texas swept Oklahoma this past weekend and pounded out 45 hits in three games against the Sooners, Garrido should have his answer — a resounding “yes”.

The Longhorns struggled at the plate before last week, scoring only 30 runs in the 12 games before their victory over the Bobcats, who boasted the nation’s best ERA coming into their game against Texas. But thanks to an offensive explosion — scoring 23 runs and batting .360 as a team ­— the Longhorns (10-8, 3-0) were able to win their 14th straight series against the Sooners and sweep OU for the seventh time since that streak began. Now they set their sights on a home game against Stephen F. Austin (7-12, 2-4) Tuesday at 6 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk as Texas attempts to extend its winning streak to six games.

There were several players that stood out last weekend, starting with senior shortstop Jordan Etier, who was suspended for the first four games of the season, missed Texas’ fifth game while suffering from food poisoning and getting only one hit in 16 at-bats over the next six. But Etier bounced back with a 2-for-4 showing in a win over Dallas Baptist, picking up base hits from each batter’s box. Then, the former Westlake High School standout went 5-for-8 with a triple in the first two games of the series against Oklahoma, raising his batting average from .154 to .265 in the process.

Sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss, the team’s leading batter last year when he hit .348 and drove in 28 runs, also struggled early on this season. Weiss went 5-for-28 (.179) in the Longhorns’ first eight games of the year, but has since raised his batting average above .300 and recorded a base hit in all but two of his last 10 games, turning in multi-hit performances in six of them. The Brenham product batted .467 against Oklahoma and had three of his seven hits go for extra bases, including his first home run of the year in the series opener.

“What can happen — and we don’t know whether it will or not — is that he can decide that he has to do too much,” said Garrido of Weiss before the season began. “If he does that, then he’ll have a down year. If he comes out and just keeps baseball simple and continues to have fun with it, which is kind of his personality, he’ll be fine.”

Unlike Etier and Weiss, sophomore right fielder Mark Payton was white-hot at the beginning of the season, getting base hits in seven of his first 13 at-bats before batting .191 in his next 11 contests. But Payton got back on track last weekend, picking up as many hits in three games against the Sooners as he did in his previous 47 at-bats (nine). At .329, Payton currently stands as the Longhorns’ leading hitter.

If Texas hits as well as it did against Oklahoma the rest of the season, the Longhorns — who seem far from the team that lost five consecutive contests — will be tough to beat.

Printed on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 as: Hot-hitting Horns look to continue win streak

A few months ago, Jordan Etier’s baseball career was over.

The former Westlake star and two-year starter at Texas was booted off the baseball team following an arrest for marijuana possession and evading arrest last October. But Etier was reinstated last month and instead handed a four-game suspension, rather than a career-ending season-long ban. Now the Longhorns welcome back their senior second baseman to the lineup as they head to Palo Alto to square off against No. 3 Stanford.

“It’s a life-changing experience, no doubt about it,” Etier said. “It’s absolutely awesome to play baseball again. I was able to kind of look back and get away from baseball for a little bit but it just showed me how much I really cared about baseball, how much I cared about the team and the guys that I was with and the role they played in my life.”

Etier’s return comes at an opportune time as the Longhorns have committed two errors in each of their last two games, both losses. Freshman Brooks Marlow filled in for Etier while he was serving his suspension — hitting two home runs in his Texas debut — and head coach Augie Garrido has not yet decided where Etier will fit into the lineup. Etier could replace Marlow, or either Marlow or Etier could slide over to shortstop and swap spots with sophomore Christian Summers, a .125 hitter so far this season.

“He’ll bring a lot leadership to the infield,” Garrido said. “I think he’ll bring something to the batting order, too. He’s a settling force and the players listen to him and respect him. So he’ll be in the lineup, we just have to figure out where.”

Another thing Etier brings to the table is much-needed veteran leadership. Twice as many underclassmen have gotten playing time as upperclassmen, as only two seniors have seen the field this year. The list of nine opening day starters included just one junior, left fielder Jonathan Walsh, and one senior, center fielder Tim Maitland. With Etier back in the batter’s box and middle infield, a young Texas team adds an experienced piece to its lineup.

“He was a leader last year on this team and he’s probably one of the more vocal guys that we have on this team,” said sophomore pitcher Nathan Thornhill. “He’ll add a little extra spark to our defense and to our dugout. Everybody’s probably going to have a little bit more energy with Jordan back.”

Etier himself might have a little more of a hop in his step. Garrido and his teammates have noticed a different demeanor and attitude in him since he returned to the squad. As a baseball player, Garrido said, Etier has never had a problem. His work ethic and enthusiasm on the field have always set an example for the people around him. But after what Etier did off the field, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound middle infielder claims to have a different perspective on life, and others have taken notice.

“He has been given an opportunity and he recognizes that it’s a life-changing opportunity,” Garrido said. “He was facing not being able to graduate from the University of Texas and not being able to play on the baseball team — both very important things. Now, he’s been given that opportunity back. Now, he has a very different view and is not taking very many things for granted.”

Second baseman Jordan Etier will return to the team and serve a seven-game suspension stemming from an arrest last October. Etier was first dismissed from the squad as punishment.

Photo Credit: Andrew Edmonson | Daily Texan Staff

 Better late than never.

The axiom held true last Thursday when it was announced that the Longhorns had reinstated Jordan Etier — who was arrested last October and charged with possession of marijuana, as well as evading arrest — to the baseball program. The initial punishment did not come close to fitting the crime but following a reexamination of Etier’s regressions, a more appropriate penalty was levied on the senior second baseman.

After Etier was seen urinating under a bridge in downtown Austin, police pursued him to the second floor of a parking garage. During the chase, Etier dropped an ATM card and about two-thirds of an ounce of marijuana. He was kept in Travis County Jail on $2,000 bond and the senior-to-be was dismissed from the Texas baseball program two days following his arrest.

“After the University decided to revisit the situation,” according to a statement made by Longhorns head coach Augie Garrido this past week, Etier was allowed to return to the team. The former Westlake High star will serve a four-game suspension and will not receive an athletic scholarship for playing this upcoming season.

What Etier did that Saturday afternoon three months ago was undoubtedly wrong and a clear and misguided lapse in judgment. But, especially considering the fact that many Texas football players have received much more lenient punishments for more serious offenses over the past decade, Etier did not deserve to get kicked off the team.

Cedric Benson, who rushed for more than 5,500 yards as a Longhorn, was arrested twice during his time on the 40 Acres. Former Longhorns cornerback Tarell Brown, a member of the 2005 national title-winning squad and starter for the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, was caught with a loaded handgun and twice as much marijuana as Etier was caught with. Both Benson and Brown were suspended one game over the course of their college football careers.

Even Etier’s coach, the all-time leader in wins in Division I, was recently in trouble with law. Garrido was charged with drunk driving after being pulled over January 2007. Six months later, the longtime Longhorns skipper was sentenced to four days in jail and, like Etier, was handed a four-game suspension.

“[Etier] showed his intention to continue his education and graduate from the University of Texas whether or not he was a member of the team,” Garrido said. “It was decided by the administration to bring the punishment more in line with Jordan’s wrongdoing.”

With Etier back in the lineup, Texas will bring back all but two of last year’s starting infielders as catcher Jacob Felts and third baseman Erich Weiss also return. Etier batted .237 while starting all but five of the Longhorns’ five contests last season, hitting two home runs, stealing six bases, and driving in 26 runs. He was not a particularly imposing presence in the batter’s box but was an asset as a middle infielder, leading the team with 187 assists in 2011.

Thanks to the Texas athletic administration’s willingness to act on its better judgment, Etier will remain an asset in the Longhorns’ infield. Etier had to be reprimanded for what he did but there was no reason to cut his college baseball career a season short.

After being charged with marijuana possession and evading police this summer it seemed as if Jordan Etier's time at Texas was all but over. He was recently reinstated to the team, sans scholarship.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

When shortstop Brandon Loy was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft, the Longhorns lost half of their starting middle infield. After Jordan Etier was arrested and charged with marijuana possession and evading police four months later, it seemed as if they would lose the other half.

But Texas announced Wednesday that Etier would be reinstated to the baseball team and that the senior second baseman would serve a four-game suspension. In addition to sitting out four games, Etier will also not have a scholarship while playing for the Longhorns this season.

“With there being closure in Jordan’s case, the University decided to revisit the situation and his punishment,” said head coach Augie Garrido in a statement. “After he was dismissed from the team in the fall, Jordan continued to attend class which was looked on in a positive light by the administration. He also showed his intention to continue his education and graduate from the University of Texas whether or not he was member of the team, which demonstrated his effort to learn and grow from the incident.”

Garrido was himself suspended four games three season ago when he pleaded guilty to drunken driving in February 2009, a little more than two weeks after he was pulled over at about 1 a.m. and admitted to a police officer that he had consumed five glasses of wine. The NCAA Division I all-time leader in wins with 1,817 victories, Garrido was also sentenced to four days in Travis County Jail and fined $500 in July 2009.

Etier, who hit .237 as a junior last season, will be eligible to return to the Longhorns lineup Feb. 24 when Texas faces Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. The Cardinals are ranked No. 3 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll while the Longhorns checked in at No. 5. Stanford, who was swept in the Super Regional round last season by North Carolina – the team that knocked Texas out of the College World Series last year – lost two out of three to the Longhorns at Austin in 2011.

Texas will bring back three of its starting infielders from a year ago as catcher Jacob Felts and third baseman Erich Weiss will join Etier in his final season with the Longhorns. They will also return two starting outfielders, Mark Payton and Cohl Walla. Texas loses its ace, Taylor Jungmann, a first-round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in last June’s MLB Draft, and another starting pitcher in Cole Green, who was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth round. But the Longhorns will welcome back southpaw starter Sam Stafford, who turned down the New York Yankees that drafted him in the second round and sensational closer Corey Knebel, who tied a school record with 19 saves as a freshman.

The Longhorns open the 2012 season with a three-game homestand against Duke beginning Feb. 17 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.