Texas baseball battles the Bears for conference record advantage

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Sophomore left fielder Ben Johnson has emerged as a legitimate power threat for the Longhorns’ offense and currently leads the team with three home runs on the season. He is also tied for second on the team with a .304 batting average.

Photo Credit: Jenna Von Hofe | Daily Texan Staff

When eighth-ranked Texas hosts Baylor this weekend, one team will shed its .500 conference record.

The Longhorns (23-7, 3-3 Big 12) will battle the Bears (15-13, 4-4 Big 12) in their first home games in almost two weeks — a span that saw them win three out of four games. Texas won two of three games against Texas Tech last weekend, pushing its conference record to .500 before it defeated Rice 5-2 on Tuesday night.

The offense continued to scorch opposing pitching away from home, scoring 25 runs in the past four games. Freshman catcher Tres Barrera has erupted in the last few games. He notched eight total hits in the last four games, including two three-hit games against the Red Raiders.

Barrera’s average has creeped up to .297, placing him just under the Longhorns’ top three hitters, who are all hitting over .300. Against Texas Tech, Barrera hit Texas’ seventh home run of the season.

Sophomore left fielder Ben Johnson continued his torrid pace against Tech, tallying two homers of his own that put his team-leading total at three for the season. Johnson has recorded at least one hit in each of Texas’ last eight games and is tied for second on the team with a .304 batting average. 

The Longhorns will face a Bears team this weekend that is coming off two wins against Incarnate World. Baylor has posted a combined batting average of just .226 this season and hasn’t scored more than seven runs in a game since March 18 against Houston Baptist.

Texas’ pitching staff still boasts a combined 1.98 ERA and holds its opponents to a combined .218 batting average, despite giving up eight runs in the second game of series against the Red Raiders. Baylor will be forced to rely on its starting rotation, which has carried the pitching staff with a combined ERA of 2.43 this season. 

Texas and Baylor both sit at .500 in the Big 12 heading into this weekend, with Texas primed to stake its claim as a conference force.