Texas is far from the driver’s seat in the Big 12, even with seven games left to go in the regular season. Despite a respectable 9–9 conference record, the Longhorns’ poor out-of-conference performance places them at 21–24 overall, placing them at fourth place in the Big 12.
An at-large bid is now out of the question for Texas after getting swept by
Oklahoma State last weekend following a stint in which the Longhorns won six of seven contests. But after defeating Prairie View A&M in commanding fashion on Tuesday night, head coach Augie Garrido believes his team can gain steam as it heads into the Big 12 tournament.
“You keep grinding it out and pointing out to the players what their opportunities are,” Garrido said. “You work on the fundamentals of the game, and you work on the mental game. And finally, it’s what they do. It’s not what they know, it’s what they do in any given moment that produces the results.”
As the season winds down, Texas will face a pair of Big 12 opponents in West Virginia and Baylor, sandwiching a Tuesday night battle with Texas State. As they attempt to climb the Big 12 standings, first on the Longhorns’ agenda will be a trek out to Morgantown, West Virginia, to face the Mountaineers in a three-game set beginning Friday night.
Texas will be without Garrido for Saturday’s contest as associate head coach Skip Johnson will take the skipper’s duties. Far from the country roads of West Virginia, Garrido will be in New York City accepting the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
The award will be given by The National Ethnic
Coalition of Organizations, which is honoring Garrido for a “lifelong commitment to hard work and sacrifice,” according to a press release. Garrido dismissed the idea of not traveling to New York and staying with his ball club on Wednesday.
“There’s no choice,” Garrido said. “It goes beyond a choice. This is about the University of Texas, that’s who I work for. I’m here to serve the University of Texas in the best way I can.”
The upcoming series with West Virginia poses an opportunity for the Longhorns. In desperate need of a strong close to the season, a strong series in the Mountain State can provide Texas with some much-needed momentum heading into the Big 12 tournament. As the opportunities to claim the conference diminish, there is no better time for the burnt orange to play its best baseball of the season.
“The teams that always come out at the end are the ones that are peaking at the right time,” junior catcher Tres Barrera said. “Ours just has to start a little bit earlier than everybody else’s.”