Horns relieved to be back in Austin

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After a rain-soaked weekend in Louisiana, the 12th-ranked Texas Longhorns are ready to be home again and play against a couple of familiar faces — Texas State and Houston.

“We’ve come off a long couple of road games, being away and traveling a lot [and] just being tired with that,” said senior shortstop Raygan Feight. “We’re glad to have a couple of home games and just get a couple of more games under our belt and [we] look forward to actually being able to play at our own stadium this week.”

The Longhorns went 2-1 over the weekend with wins against Pittsburgh and Hofstra. Texas suffered a tough one-run loss against the hometown LSU Tigers, who had the stands filled up and rocking.

“It was great and challenging to be in a new setting with their fans and their crowd,” said freshman outfielder Brejae Washington. “They had a lot of people out so it was really loud and crazy, so you really had to reset and calm yourself down.”

The Longhorn’s only three losses of the year have all come in one-run nail biters, including this past weekend’s against LSU. Despite how frustrating these defeats are for the team, Texas can learn some useful lessons from them and capitalize on those experiences in the future when close-game situations arise.  

“Not being able to pull through is kind of hard, but it’s a lesson learned, and it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” Washington said.

As Feight put it, the Longhorns enjoy playing one-run games — even when they come out on the wrong side of the scoreboard — because as competitors those are the games they enjoy and remember.

“That’s what you live for, really, those big moments you love playing in,” Feight said. “I look back when we were playing Florida out there, going into [the] ninth inning and I was like, ‘Man this is awesome.’ In my last year playing in this big-time game against a big-time team, it was really awesome. As hard it is losing by the one run, it’s still something you will always remember.”

A big issue in the one-run losses this year for the Longhorns has been their inability to move runners on base. In their three losses of the year, the Longhorns have left a combined 21 runners on the base paths, a number the team is looking to improve upon in the next few games.

“We need to capitalize when we have runners in scoring position,” said freshman infielder Taylor Thom. “We scored quick in the LSU game and then we couldn’t capitalize in the game, we had 10 runners on base and we just have to able to fix that.”

This week is different in the way it is structured for Texas. The Longhorns are not playing in a series or a tournament, but they are still going to go out there and work to improve as they continue to creep toward the all-important Big 12 conference play.

“Even though we’re in the middle of March and haven’t started conference yet, we’re looking to get as good as we can be to start the conference games coming up.” Feight said.