There’s no place like home.
After several weeks of playing on the road, the No. 6 Longhorns will finally be able to enjoy a home field advantage. Texas will host four non-conference games this weekend at Red and Charline McCombs Field before Missouri heads to Austin for another Big 12 Conference weekend series.
The Longhorns, who are 27-2 in the season thus far and 6-0 in Big 12 Conference play, will face No. 25 New Mexico in a best of three series and Tulsa University in a single Saturday afternoon contest.
Texas leads both series; 2-0 with New Mexico and 1-0 with Tulsa. The New Mexico Lobos, who are 22-6 on the season, are coming to Austin fired up about facing the Longhorns. Their recent success has propelled them into national rankings for the first time in a while. The last time the Lobos had 20 wins in a season was 2008.
The Tulsa Hurricanes are 23-6 on the season and are coming off a 6-0 road win against the University of Arkansas. The underappreciated Hurricanes are coming in on a seven-game win streak.
The Longhorns will begin the weekend Friday with a 5 p.m. game against New Mexico. On Saturday, the Longhorns face a double header — a game against Tulsa followed by a game against the Lobos. Sunday afternoon brings the series completion against New Mexico. The four game stretch will be a good test to see if the Longhorn’s depth can survive a busy slate.
This past week, senior third baseman Nadia Taylor was named the Big 12 Player of the Week for her part in the Longhorn’s three-game sweep of Iowa State last weekend. Taylor went 5-for-10 during the three-game stretch with seven RBI and two homeruns. The weekend totals include five personal runs scored and two doubles. Taylor also achieved a team high 1.200 slugging percentage for the weekend.
Taylor is only one of the many Longhorns who have made national and conference headlines for their performances this season. Senior second baseman Lexy Bennett, who has already earned Big 12 Player of the Week once this season, was drafted third overall to the Akron Racers, a team with the National Pro Fastpitch league. Bennett is the eighth player ever from Texas to be drafted. Her .453 batting average leads the team and conference standings.
The Longhorns are not letting their success get to their head, though. Despite outscoring their opponents 197-42 over 29 games, both coaches and players realize they have a long way to go before they erase the pain of the last two seasons.
“We have been working on some individual things, offensively and defensively,” said junior outfielder Taylor Hoagland. “Our focus is just to keep moving forward.”