The Longhorns will travel to Minnesota this weekend for a three-game series against the Golden Gophers with Game One slated to begin at 6:35 p.m. Friday. Texas will take advantage of the Gophers’ indoor stadium as the temperatures are expected to dip well below freezing over the weekend.
“Frankly, we wouldn’t be going if we didn’t,” Texas head coach Augie Garrido said of the ability to play in an indoor stadium. “It gets mighty frosty.”
The Longhorns (12-8, 1-2) are looking to get their first road wins of the season this weekend. At the beginning of the month, Texas dropped its only road series to Stanford, 0-3 and dropped a midweek contest against Houston on the road Tuesday. Texas is currently 0-4 on the road.
“We mainly need to play our game and make sure we hustle hard in everything we do,” junior Erich Weiss said. “We are a very fast team and if we use that speed to help us this weekend, it will be a good series for us.”
Although the Longhorns have a long history with the Golden Gophers (13-9), this will be the first time the Longhorns have traveled north to play them. Texas currently leads the series, 65-21, all games played in Austin. The last time the two teams met was in 1990 when the Longhorns defeated Minnesota in a three-game series, 2-1.
Normally, ace Parker French would be starting on the mound for the Longhorns Saturday night. However, last weekend in the Longhorn’s Friday night loss to Texas Tech, French exited the game early with tightness in his right arm.
“It was close to the area where he hurt his arm last year,” Garrido said. “We didn’t know for sure what we were dealing with so we took him out right away.”
On Wednesday, Garrido confirmed that X-rays taken of French’s arm showed no damage and that the sophomore had a mild case of tendinitis which was being treated. Although he could pitch this weekend, the Texas coaching staff decided it would be better for him to rest so that he could heal properly.
Sophomore Dillon Peters, who is 1-1 on the season with a 1.97 ERA, will pitch in his place Friday night. Junior Nathan Thornhill will take over the Saturday afternoon duties for Game Two. It has not been determined who will pitch for Sunday afternoon’s game.
Juniors Mark Payton and Erich Weiss lead the Longhorns’ offense into the weekend. Both are currently riding a nine-game hitting streak and account for the two highest batting averages on the team. Payton is hitting .406 on the season with 28 hits and 15 RBIs while Weiss is hitting .329 with 24 hits and 12 RBIs.