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Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Years ago the walk into Floyd Casey Stadium meant one sure thing — a win.

Today, however, that guarantee is far from present. While in the past, Texas’ game against Baylor was played without much trepidation, on Saturday the Longhorns enter Waco with a chance to play for a Big 12 title — a thought many wouldn’t have associated with the Bears in past years.

“It is crazy,” senior quarterback Case McCoy said. “Baylor is one of those teams, but there’s several throughout college football. Just growing up as a football fan, it is different to see
them that way.”

Texas’ series with Baylor dates back to 1901, marking the third-longest series in school history. The Longhorns are a combined 74-24-4 against the Bears, with a 29-15-2 record in Waco.

Most games at Floyd Casey Stadium between Texas and Baylor brought a large amount of Longhorns fans and, on numerous occasions, it was considered another home game for the players in burnt orange.

But that has changed since Baylor has become a prominent football team. Especially since this season’s contest is the last to be played in the 63-year-old stadium, Baylor will be even more motivated to leverage its home-field advantage against
the Longhorns.

“We’ve had 25,000, 30,000 fans there,” head coach Mack Brown said. “But Baylor’s crowd is coming. They’ve done a good job of getting their own crowd. I’d say we’ll have our normal great Texas support, but it will probably be less than it has been in the past just because Baylor is selling more tickets.”

Baylor head coach Art Briles and his Bears have made a large transformation since current Longhorns watched Baylor growing up. The team has entered national recognition in the past few years and helped create another in-state rival for Texas.

“That’s not belittling Baylor,” senior offensive lineman Mason Walters said. “I don’t think [Texas] really had a lot of hesitancy going into that game. If you were to go up against a Baylor team that I grew up watching it’s nowhere near the same thing. As that program continues to get better and better its going to keep making great competition in the Big 12.”

For many of Texas’ seniors, this might be the biggest game of their career — a chance to end their underwhelming four years with a Big 12 championship against No. 9 Baylor and a chance to go to a BCS bowl if things work in their favor. That thought might have been unheard of when they first came to the 40 Acres, but now beating a 10-1 Bears team is what stands in their way of their final goal.

“They’ve done a tremendous job,” Brown said. “Art [Briles] has a great football team.  It’s a team that’s in the Top 10. It’s a team that’s playing before their largest crowd in the history of Floyd Casey Stadium.  Last game there. It’s for a championship. It’s a great challenge for us and our team.”

Mark Payton and the Longhorns have yet to win a conference series after being swept by Baylor.

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns will host Prairie View A&M on Tuesday night in an attempt to salvage what is left of their unsuccessful season. Texas (22-20, 5-12) was swept by in-state rival Baylor this past weekend in Waco, getting outscored 12-4 through three games. 

However, despite dropping all but two weekend series this year, the Longhorns have dominated their midweek games. Texas is 7-2 in Tuesday night contests, including a dominating offensive performance in a 12-5 victory over Texas State earlier this month. 

“We keep telling them the truth,” junior pitcher Corey Knebel said. “We’re a lot different than last year. We’re actually a team that’s really good, but we’re not showing it right now. We know it will turn around soon. It’s got to. The team we have is actually really good. It just hasn’t gone our way.” 

Prior to the series against Baylor, Texas head coach Augie Garrido said that if they couldn’t win their upcoming series against Baylor, Kansas State and Big 12 newcomer TCU, the team would have to rely on their performance in the conference tournament next month. The last time the Longhorns failed to win a conference series was in 1956. 

According to the coaching staff, to avoid missing another postseason, the Longhorns will need to win their remaining nine games and hope to carry that momentum into the Big 12 tournament, which only invites the conference's top eight seeds.  

“If we can’t respond to that, then we’ll have to respond to what we get from where we place in the Big 12 tournament,” Garrido said. 

Last week the Longhorns blanked Houston 4-0 in Austin. Earlier in the season, the Cougars defeated Texas 4-3 in Houston. Junior Erich Weiss hit his first home run of the season during his first at-bat last Tuesday night while Weston Hall and C.J Hinojosa each added an RBI to the evening. 

Travis Duke, who came in as relief for starting pitcher Josh Urban, got the win for Texas to move to 3-0 on the season. Along with junior Ty Marlow, who came in at the top of the eighth inning, the Texas pitching staff combined for five strikeouts while surrendering only four hits and no runs. 

Urban is expected to get his fourth start of the season against Prairie View A&M on Tuesday night. Urban is 1-0 on the season and has posted a 1.73 ERA, while fanning 18 batters through 26 innings. He is second among relievers in ERA, behind Duke, who has a 0.62 ERA through 29 innings on the mound.

Junior Ty Marlow talks with a coach and catcher Jacob Felts during the Longhorns’ game against Houston on April 23. The Longhorns were swept over the weekend by Baylor as their Big 12 troubles continue. The team has yet to win a conference series this season. 

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns’ season-long conference struggles continued in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Baylor, allowing the Bears to complete the three game series sweep.

Texas was held hitless through three innings and scoreless through five, as Baylor starter Ryan Smith turned in one of his strongest outings of the year. Smith allowed just two runs on six hits in 6.2 innings, picking up three strikeouts on the way to his second win of the year.

Nathan Thornhill recorded a strong start for the Longhorns, holding the Bears to three runs in 6 1/3 innings while striking three. The right-hander allowed an RBI double to Nathan Orf in the third inning and a two-run single to Cal Towey in the fifth to give the Bears a 3-0 lead through five frames.

The Longhorns answered in the sixth inning when Jacob Felts’ single to left field scored Mark Payton, and Texas would add another run in the seventh on an RBI infield single by C.J Hinojosa.

The Bears added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning behind run-scoring hits by Steve Dalporto and Duncan Wendel while the Baylor bullpen kept Texas off the scoreboard for the final 2 1/3 innings. Crayton Bare was dominant in picking up his third save, striking out the side in the ninth inning while holding the Longhorns hitless.

The Longhorns struggled to score against the Baylor pitching staff, managing just four runs in the three-game set. The team dropped the series opener, 6-2, behind four errors that led to five unearned runs on Friday, and were unable to back up a solid start by Dillon Peters falling, 1-0, on Saturday.

Sunday’s loss marks the first time Texas has been swept by the Bears since 2005. The Longhorns have now been swept twice in 2013, with the other instance coming on the road against Stanford on March 1-3.

Texas has now dropped each of its six series against conference opponents this season and nine in a row dating back to last season. The Longhorns are currently 5-13 in Big 12 play and sit alone in the basement of the conference standings.

The Longhorns will have a chance to end their three-game losing streak on Tuesday night when they host Texas A&M Prairie View. The game is set to begin at 6 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Softball Review

The Longhorns were able to tame the bear this time around. After losing their first game of the series to conference rival Baylor, the Longhorns took this second game with ease on Tuesday night.

In the 7-3 win, Texas proved how strong of a team it is. While giving up seven hits and hitting 11 themselves, they were able to out power Baylor late in the game.

After five innings, the Longhorns were down. Baylor took the lead early with a 1-0 stand through the first two innings. When the Longhorns finally got some production in the third, the Bears responded with two more runs of their own to keep the lead by one. It wasn’t until the sixth inning when the true Texas team came out.

Two of the Longhorns leaders all season took their role as Lexy Bennett and Taylor Hoagland both hit home runs to knock in four runs. Hoagland, who was just named co-Big 12 Player of the Week, hit a home run with one runner on base, knocking in two runs to give the Longhorns the lead. Bennett, just two batters later, followed up with an almost identical home run, tallying another two runs to give the team a three-run lead.

It was a record tying and breaking day for the Longhorns. Hoagland, after hitting her home run in the sixth, tied her personal record for home runs in a season with 15.

Then senior Bennett broke a record herself, setting the new UT single season record for RBIs with her 51st last night. She took the accolade from Loryn Johnson, who graduated in 2009.

Finally, Brejae Washington set a new Texas career mark with her 63rd stolen base, passing the previous record of 62 set by Desiree Williams (2005-2009).

This was a much better game for the Texas team after their last game with Baylor ended in a loss. The eight inning game came in a period of the season for the Longhorns in which they had lost four out of their last seven, their first real period of losing this season. Tonight, however, Texas tied up the series with a win.

Texas will continue with Big 12 play this week when they face rivals Oklahoma in a three game series in Norman, Okla. There are only four games left for the Longhorns and they look to finish strong. A strong finish for the team can push the team into convincing postseason play, where they look to make a far run into the NCAA Women’s College World Series. 

Printed on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 as: Longhorns score five unanswered runs in record-breaking win over Baylor