Numbers misleading for the average Longhorns

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Junior first baseman Alex Silver has contributed to five double-digit hit games in a six-game stretch this season after making 43 starts last season.   

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Whoever said that numbers don’t lie wasn’t talking about the Longhorns.

Augie Garrido has built the Texas baseball program on two things: solid defense and sacrificing for the good of the offense. This philosophy has been largely successful under his 17-year tenure as head coach.

As Texas (16-11, 2-4) was set to enter its non-district matchup with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last night, a game that was postponed, the numbers that bolster this philosophy appeared to tell the whole story. In their previous six games, the Longhorns were hitting .316 as a team with a 4-2 record.

Mark Payton, Erich Weiss and Alex Silver all had batting averages over .400 during the six-game stretch, helping the team post five double-digit hit games in the stretch. However, when taking wins and losses together in the same equation, the Longhorns’ real troubles remain invisible.

In the two losses the Longhorns suffered in their previous six games, both to Oklahoma State, they recorded 21 hits to 22 runners left on base. Silver and Payton, who coincidently have two of the highest batting averages on the team, went a combined 4-15 at the plate in the two losses.

Payton, who has made a habit of leaving runners on base this season, went just 2-9 at the plate in Texas’ two losses to the Cowboys, stranding five runners in the process. Silver, despite not leaving any runners on base, only had two hits in his seven at bats, with no RBIs.

When realizing that Oklahoma State committed six errors as a team in these two victories over Texas, the result becomes even more troubling. While the Longhorns’ pitching did little to help the cause by surrendering a combined seven first-inning runs in the two losses, a failure to convert remained the biggest disappointment for the Longhorns.

It is true that a .316 batting average over six games says a lot about Texas’ ability to get on base. The Longhorns have averaged 5.2 runs per contest during that span, but only three of these games truly mattered to their overall record.

In a 5-3 win over Texas State last Tuesday, Texas recorded 11 hits and stranded nine baserunners. Payton went 3-for-4 in the victory while Silver was 2-for-3 with two RBIs but in the Longhorns’ two losses to Oklahoma State this past weekend, those two players failed to show up when it mattered most.

Texas likely would have won against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, holding a 16-2 all-time record against the team, with 14 of those wins coming at home. But these stats gain credibility because they are mostly wins, not losses. When judging the 4-2 revitalization over the last six games in relation to the season as a whole, the losses should be the first thing seen.

When you look past the batting averages of Payton (.421) and Silver (.348) and look just a bit closer at the numbers, Texas still appears to be an average team despite a dash of momentum.