Punchless offense and porous defense don’t breed success against Power Five baseball teams.
In eight games against Pac 12 opponents Stanford and Cal, the Longhorns sport a 2–6 record and are averaging just a shade over three runs per game and have collected 11 errors. Costly misplays from the corner outfield spots have not counted toward the defensive statistics but have held sway over the final scores.
“The defense allowed them extra outs,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “We didn’t get our three outs on time in many cases, and they took advantage of it, and when defense breaks down in the way our team is structured, it’s very costly.”
Among those miscues against Power Five competition was a play where Longhorn first baseman Kacy Clemens dropped what would have been the final out in a 7-6 win over Cal on Sunday. After the error tied the game, the Golden Bears went on to win 10-7 and hand Texas its first four-game sweep in program history.
The Longhorns will receive a respite from Power Five competition and attempt to regroup with a home matchup on Tuesday at 6 p.m. against the Sam Houston State Bearkats of the Southland Conference.
The Bearkats heads into Tuesday with a 5–8 record, but the team has faced a brutal schedule that has included seven matchups with top 25 foes. The Bearkats have also played particularly well against Big 12 opponents.
Sam Houston State rode strong pitching and clutch late-inning offense to a three-game sweep over the then No. 25 Oklahoma Sooners during the last weekend in February and have stayed competitive in losses to Baylor and No. 23 Texas Tech.
“This game is centered on confidence,” Sam Houston State head coach Matt Deggs said following the final game of the Oklahoma sweep. “Any time you can win three against the quality of opponent with the history and tradition OU does it propels that momentum.”
The Longhorns, who dipped below .500 following last weekend’s sweep, have just about lost any semblance of momentum, but the veteran leaders claim that it is too early to hit the panic button ahead of Tuesday’s game.
“We have 40-something, 50-something games left, but we have to keep taking it pitch by pitch, game by game,” junior catcher Tres Barrera said. “Worry about the task at hand, and don’t worry about the past and what’s going to happen in the future. Just keep on doing your job, and good things will happen.”