Texas looking to bounce back

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Sophomore right fielder Mark Payton, who leads Texas with a .346 batting average, four extra-base hits, and four RBI, is the only Longhorn hitting above .250 this season. Texas will try to end a five-game losing streak Tuesday against Houston Baptist.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

After a 7-5 loss to UT-Arlington last Tuesday, head coach Augie Garrido was asked if his team was ready to play Stanford — his response was a no-nonsense “No”.

Unfortunately for Texas, Garrido was right. The Longhorns were shellacked over the three game series, as the Cardinals outscored Texas 28-5 in a sweep. The series loss was capped off by a 15-1 beatdown on Sunday, in which Texas gave up 13 runs in the fourth inning, only eight runs short of the NCAA record for most runs allowed in an inning.

That type of inning, and series, is not the type of mentally tough baseball that this team prides itself upon playing, and a change in attitude will be necessary for the previosuly No.

11 team in the country to turn its 2-5 start around.

This will start tonight against Houston Baptist (3-3), a team many would have overlooked before the season started. But after a loss to UT-Arlington last week, the Longhorns can’t take anything for granted.

In the weekend collapse, it was a lack of runs scored and the pitching staff’s inability to keep a potent Cardinal offense off the board that cost them the series.

The pitching staff was poor, allowing 28 runs in only 27 innings. The starting pitchers, who are normally the players counted upon to carry the Longhorns, gave up 10 of those runs in only 12 innings of work, with each of the Longhorns’ starters — Nathan Thornhill, Hoby Milner and John Curtiss taking a loss.

All three pitchers got caught on days when they did not have their best stuff, and the talented Stanford offense took advantage of it. This was most evident in Sunday’s game when Curtiss failed to get a batter out in the fourth inning before being pulled.

The Longhorns will need a much steadier performance from their starter tonight, which will most likely be senior Austin Dicharry. If he can give Texas five or six quality innings it would do wonders towards getting the team back into the win column.

The Huskies have scored six runs a game, so their offense has the potential to cause Texas problems if Dicharry doesn’t come out firing quality strikes.

However, the offense needs to do its share and pick up the slack.

After the Longhorns’ tough series in Palo Alto, the team is hitting an abysmal .184, almost a full tenth of a point lower than what their opponents are hitting against them. Not exactly a formula for winning baseball.

Thankfully for Texas, it will not be facing a rotation full of future major leaguers as it did against Stanford. Instead, the Longhorns will be facing a Husky pitching staff that had a staff ERA of 6.07 in 2011, presenting the team a real opportunity to break out of its slump and to pick up their first win in six games.

Printed on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 as: Texas looks to end skid