With Oklahoma State this weekend, the Longhorns have the chance to show a marked improvement both in road contests and in Big 12 Conference play. The two will square off tonight at 6:30 p.m. for game one and will finish the series Friday night at 7 p.m. and Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. making it home in time for the Easter holidays on Sunday.
The Longhorns (15-9, 1-2) defeated the Gophers last weekend, 2-1, on the road and compiled their first two road wins of the season. Currently, they are 2-5 while on the road. Earlier in the month, Texas dropped a three-game series, 0-3, to Stanford in its first road contest. Two weeks later, it dropped a mid-week matchup on the road in Houston. While the Longhorns showed progress on the road against the Cougars, losing only by one, they were unable to wrap up a win.
Last weekend in Minneapolis, the Longhorns looked to continue their road struggles, dropping game one 5-1. However, thanks to strong pitching performances from sophomore Dillon Peters and junior Nathan Thornhill, the Longhorns came out with the series.
At the end of spring break, the Longhorns opened up their conference season with a 1-2 loss at home to in-state rival Texas Tech. After dropping the opener 0-1, the Longhorns picked up game two to force the rubber match. However, the Texas offense could not overcome a talented Red Raider pitching staff.
With No. 18 Oklahoma State this weekend, the Longhorns have the opportunity to earn winning records in both categories. A 3-0 sweep of the Cowboys (19-5, 1-1) could do a lot to help propel the Longhorns through their upcoming conference schedule which features a home series against No. 12 Oklahoma, the top ranked Big 12 team according to the USA Today Coaches poll.
Texas will be returning sophomore Parker French, the leader of the Longhorn pitching staff who was out for the Longhorn’s series against Minnesota. The Texas offense will rely on juniors Mark Payton and Erich Weiss along with freshman C.J Hinojosa at the plate who have been hitting a combined .356 on the season with Payton hitting .430.
The Cowboys struggled mid-week against Central Arkansas, dropping the contest 11-3 at home. In their Big 12 opener, they split the series 1-1 with Baylor, unable to play the rubber match due to heavy snow storms. Their top hitter, Tann Krietemeier is hitting .391 on the season with a cumulative team average of .300.
Last April, the Longhorns swept Oklahoma State in a double header in Austin.