Bats have come alive, turned around slow start to year

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Landon Steinhagen and the rest of the Texas offense has shrugged off its slow start to the season, and have averaged 7.18 runs a game in its last 16 contests.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Howeth | Daily Texan Staff

After 13 games, Texas was struggling to find the win column at 5-8 and averaging an anemic 3.3 runs a game. The pitching kept the team afloat early on, but if their output at the plate didn’t change, any dreams of Omaha would be crushed before the semester is over — for non-baseball playing students, at least.

The Longhorns have responded, however. Since that point they have gone 12-4 and raised their offensive output to 7.18 runs a contest.

What has changed at the plate to give the team such an impressive offensive boost?

The players would tell you that it’s just baseball, the team got off to a slow start but eventually they were going to turn things around.

While that particular cliche has played a part in the huge jump in production, there are a few other important factors that explain the sterling performances the lineup has displayed over the last month.

First of which is that hits started to find gaps that they weren’t early on in the season, and once that happened, it freed up the players to just go out and play baseball.

Early on, the team was pressing; they were looking to get a hit instead of just allowing it to happen, and it cost them.

Once the hits started falling, the batters relaxed and the results of that are quite noticeable in the win column.

The turnaround wouldn’t have been possible without standout individual efforts, most notably the contributions of Texas’ three and four-hole hitters, Erich Weiss and Jonathan Walsh.

Weiss, who was just named Big 12 Player of the Week after he went 10-for-17 at the plate over the weekend against Texas Tech, has been a steady presence in the middle of the Longhorn order after a slow start, giving the team the consistent bat that the offense needs.

Walsh, on the other hand, has been a pleasant surprise in the cleanup role for the Longhorns. Originally, Walsh was batting near the bottom of the Texas order, but head coach Augie Garrido moved him into the four-slot a few games into the season in search of some pop from the slot, and he has thrived in the role. Walsh is hitting at a .350 clip, with a .515 slugging percentage and a .398 OBP.

The rest of the lineup has upped their production since the slow start as well. After the first 14 games the offense was battling to keep their team average above the Mendoza line, but since that point the Longhorns have raised it to a
respectable .278.

It hasn’t been all positives at the plate since that point, though. The Longhorns have failed to come through in many late game situations during this stretch, and their inability to perform in the clutch has cost the team games.

The team still has time to work on this issue, and if they want to be playing in Nebraska later this summer their offensive production must continue to maintain this pace.