Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Texas track and field heads to Stanford

Coming off the high of Texas Relays, the track and field team looks to keep the momentum rolling in a trip to Stanford, California, for the Stanford Invitational.

The meet, which begins Friday, will be the second chance for the majority of the team to make their mark on the outdoor season after putting up a solid performance this past weekend in Austin. Junior Morolake Akinosun was named athlete of the meet for her efforts in helping the Texas women pick up three victories.

Junior Katie Burford, who set her personal best in the 1500 meters with a time of 4:34.79 at last year’s Stanford Invitational, looks to improve upon that career best on what is known as a “fast track” by locals.

In outdoor season, it’s always important to keep an eye on local weather, as poor conditions can affect the athletes in a big way. The weather should be ideal out on the California coast as sun and 70-degree temperatures are in the forecast.

Stanford, which won its last national championship in 2000, plays host to the country’s track and field athletes. With head coach Chris Miltenberg at the helm, the Cardinal is ranked 14th in the country on the men’s side and 12th on the women’s.

The Texas men head into the affair ranked fifth in the country, and the women enter ranked third.

Men's tennis begins four-match home stand against Red Raiders

Coming off a 4–1 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma on Sunday, No. 9 Texas will begin its four-match home stand, starting against unranked Texas Tech on Saturday at the Caswell Tennis Center in Austin. All four matches will come against unranked opponents, and the Longhorns will look to improve upon their 15–3 record before the Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championship later this month.

Despite reaching No. 7 in the nation, their highest ITA ranking, on March 24 following their win against UT-Pan American, the Longhorns have struggled lately, narrowly defeating No. 22 Oklahoma State and falling to No. 1 Oklahoma last weekend.

The team’s drop-off in play has been most notable in the singles positions, especially from the Longhorns’ No. 1 singles player, Søren Hess–Olesen. Hess–Olesen reached the No. 1 overall singles ranking in the most recent ITA polls but subsequently lost his next two matches, both in straight sets.

With a top-10 overall ranking in the nation, the Longhorns are still contenders for a Big 12 championship, as well as a national title. In order to contend with the top teams in the nation, Texas looks to get back in the win column starting Saturday.

After struggling offensively, the Longhorns found a spark against Stanford. Texas hopes its offense ignites against the Cardinals in its final game before Big 12 play.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

No. 16 Texas (10–6) returns home after splitting a four-game series against Stanford in Palo Alto, California, to face the Incarnate Word Cardinals (7–9).

The Longhorns have dropped four of their last six games after starting the season 7–2, deafeating No. 11 Rice twice and sweeping a four-game set against Minnesota. 

Despite struggling over the past week, head coach Augie Garrido said the losses were a learning experience for the team.

“The value [of losing] is if we would’ve won those games, we wouldn’t have taken apart every detail like we did and got back to work on those details,” Garrido said. “Winning kind of sweeps dirt under the carpet, but when you lose, you really start to pay attention.”

During its first five home games, the Longhorns scored 45 runs on 67 hits and only allowed four runs.

The offense came to a halt, however, as Texas only scored 7 runs in its last three home games, but its confidence remains high despite its struggles.

“Everybody has confidence in one through nine that they’re going to go up there and do their job, which is all you can ask at the end of the day,” senior right fielder Collin Shaw said. “Every at-bat matters. Every pitch matters in college baseball, and that’s kind of the fun in college baseball.”

And the team’s confidence showed in Sunday’s game against Stanford. The Longhorns displayed their offensive potential as they scored 12 runs on 15 hits.

The Longhorns hope their offensive explosion will carry over to their game versus Incarnate Word. Garrido said since the offensive drop-off at home, Texas has slowly improved.

“We really improved in every game we played [at Stanford],” Garrido said. “The toughest game was the first one. … We were uncharacteristically impatient and swinging at bad pitches, but we got it straightened out and ended the series in the right way.”

Texas will also try to keep up its pitching performance. The Longhorns have seen good performances from their starting pitchers — senior Parker French, junior Chad Hollingsworth, sophomore Josh Sawyer and sophomore Kacy Clemens.

Texas also has a deep bullpen. The Longhorns are hoping to find the right balance between its pitching and batting as Big 12 conference play quickly approaches. Texas’ game against the Cardinals will be the final game before they begin conference play.

Senior second baseman Brooks Marlow said he and the team hope that their performance in practice translates into their upcoming games.

“We’ve been practicing all fall and early spring, and this is kind of the outcome we’ve had during practices — hitting the ball hard and pitching very well,” Marlow said. “We’re just bringing it to the ballpark every day.”

First pitch against Incarnate Word is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. The game will air on the Longhorn Network.

Junior left fielder Ben Johnson had a career day on Sunday. Johnson went 5-for-5 with two RBIs and raised his batting average to .443 on the season.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Led by junior left fielder Ben Johnson, No. 12 Texas secured a 12–4 win and a series split against Stanford (9–8) on Sunday afternoon in Palo Alto, California.

Johnson hit a perfect 5-for-5 and finished the game with two RBIs.

“Ben has worked really hard at his game. … He’s worked very hard in the weight room,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “I think this is really leading towards a level of confidence … that feeling of confidence he has, it’s almost magical. He got five [base hits] today, which is a pretty good season for a lot of people.”

The Longhorns (10–6) got off to a hot start in the first inning, scoring five runs. Johnson led off the first with a single to center field. After Johnson’s leadoff single, Stanford was able to get two outs, but Texas answered with four straight walks to score two runs.

Redshirt junior designated hitter Taylor Stell smacked a two-run single to extend the Longhorns’ lead to 4–0. The Longhorns capped off the inning with an additional run to push the lead to 5–0.

Texas continued its offensive explosion in the second inning. Sophomore catcher Tres Barrera ripped a ball past the left-field fence for a two-run home run to put the Longhorns up 7–0.

Stanford tried to fight its way back into the game, scoring two runs in the third and sixth innings. The Cardinal got the game to within three, but Texas quelled the Cardinal comeback in the seventh inning with a pair of RBI singles from Johnson and senior right fielder Collin Shaw.

In the ninth inning, sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz hit a two-run home run to push the Longhorns’ lead to 11–4. Johnson followed Gurwitz’s homer with a triple and scored on Shaw’s single.

Stanford couldn’t find a way to score in the bottom frame and Longhorns finished the game with a 12–4 win.

While the offense was on display Sunday, sophomore starting pitcher Josh Sawyer (2–2) had a solid outing, allowing two runs on four hits. 

“[Sawyer’s] improved each time he’s been out there,” Garrido said. “He’s got a little perfectionist in him, which is part of what makes him good. He practices right, takes his bullpens and really works at them game-like. He’s an up-and-coming star pitcher for us.”

After dropping the first two games of a four-game series, splitting the series was important for the team’s RPI, Garrido said.

“If you split 50-50, you’re coming out of it with a pretty good score,” Garrido said. “But if you go three losses and one win, it really adds up in the wrong way quickly.”

Texas returns home to play Incarnate Word (7–9) at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The game will air on Longhorn Network. 

Junior outfielder Ben Johnson knew the Longhorns need to be ready for Stanford’s experienced pitching staff.

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Three times the Longhorns had the bases loaded — and each time, the Longhorns finished the inning with zero runs.

Meanwhile, Stanford drilled two home runs of its own as Texas struggled to capitalize with runners in scoring position, leading to a 5–3 Longhorn defeat in Palo Alto on Thursday night.

After Stanford (8–6) took the lead on back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the second, junior outfield Ben Johnson launched a two-run home run to left field to give No. 12 Texas (8–5) a 2–1 lead in the top of the third.

The Cardinals came back in the bottom of the inning, striking on a three-run home run by freshman third baseman Mikey Diekroeger to take a 4–2 lead. Stanford added another in the following inning on a solo home run by junior designated hitter Austin Barr.

Johnson pulled the Longhorns back to within two runs with a solo home run in the top of the fifth.

Texas had a chance to tie and take the lead in the ninth. Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa led off the inning with a double and then scored on a wild pitch with two outs. Two walks and a single then loaded the bases for junior designated hitter Taylor Stell.

But Stell’s line drive on an 0–2 count was snagged by the second baseman to end the game.

The rest of the team struggled to capitalize on run-scoring opportunities. Texas went 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position, although only Johnson’s first home run resulted in a run scoring. The team also left 11 batters on base.

The Longhorns had the bases loaded with only one out in the top of the fourth; however, sophomore center fielder Zane Gurwitz and Stell each struck out to squander the opportunity. Texas had bases loaded again in the top of the sixth after three consecutive walks but failed to capitalize as senior right fielder Collin Shaw struck out to end the inning.

Junior starting pitcher Chad Hollingsworth, making his first start in almost two weeks, went five innings, giving up six hits and three walks in addition to the five runs.

The loss is the third-straight defeat after the Longhorns had won seven-straight games.

Texas and Stanford will square off at 8 p.m. tonight before finishing the series with games Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Junior outfielder Ben Johnson knew the Longhorns need to be ready for Stanford’s experienced pitching staff.

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

After two losses in a doubleheader Sunday, head coach Augie Garrido had a brief explanation for what happened.

“I think we played with a lack of discipline,” Garrido said. 

In the two games against San Diego, the No. 13 Longhorns managed to go 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and scored only two runs, both of which came on sacrifice flies. 

In the field, Texas committed two errors, both of which led to big innings for the Toreros. 

“To be consistent, it takes discipline and it takes confidence,” Garrido said. “And, for me, that’s what was missing.”

The Longhorns look to turn it around in time for a four-game series beginning Thursday against a formidable Stanford team.

Until the setback on Sunday, the Longhorns’ season was off to a good start, with a split against Rice in the opening weekend and a four-game sweep against Minnesota last weekend. 

“It humbles you when you come out and don’t play so well, especially at home,” senior pitcher Parker French said.

But fixing what Garrido called “a common problem” won’t be easy.

“First of all, you have to make them aware of it,” Garrido said. “Secondly, you have to put them in situations in practice, force them to practice at a level that is highly competitive and get them to perform in an environment that you create that simulates as accurately as you can to a game.”

However, correcting the problem in practice and not making the same mistake again in a game are two separate things, especially against Stanford. 

The Cardinal comes into the weekend series unranked in the NCBWA poll, although they managed to take two of its four games against No. 15 Rice in Palo Alto, California, this weekend. They also won two of their three games at perennial powerhouse Cal State Fullerton the weekend before.

Additionally, all of Stanford’s starting pitchers, most of whom are sophomores, returned this season.  

“They’re a physical team,” junior outfielder Ben Johnson said. “[Their pitchers] are going to have a year under their belt. They’re going to be really experienced.”

But even with the stiff competition ahead of the Longhorns this weekend, they are confident they will find a way to overcome the losses from this past weekend.

“It happened, they didn’t want it to happen, and they don’t want it to happen again,” Garrido said. “I have to count on that, and I do count on that.”  

Senior right fielder Collin Shaw provided the lone hit for the Longhorns in the front end of Sunday’s doubleheader.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Last week, Texas baseball was on a roll. 

Redshirt freshman third baseman Bret Boswell provided the heroics in the form of a walk-off single as the Longhorns rallied from a four-run deficit against UT-Pan American for their seventh consecutive victory — their longest streak since March 2011. 

Texas’ pitching had been dominant during the streak. Against Minnesota, Texas pitchers threw three consecutive shutouts, and that hasn’t happened since the 2002 national championship season. In those seven games, the staff allowed only seven earned runs.

The offense was hitting as well as one could expect during the run, combining to hit .335 in those seven contests.

While 23 of Texas’ 29 extra-base hits came from the first six batters in the order, the bottom of the lineup got on base in other ways — by drawing 18 walks, which tied the rest of the lineup over the stretch. 

With a 2–6 San Diego headed to Austin for a three-game set, the Longhorns appeared to be a near lock to enter their four-game series against Stanford with double-digit wins and perhaps even a double-digit winning streak.

But colder temperatures seemed to cool down the streaking Longhorns. 

The weather forced Texas to scratch a three-game series for a Sunday doubleheader. The Longhorns dropped both games, falling five spots to No. 13 in the NCBWA rankings.

They batted a meager .104 in 48 at-bats against the Toreros. In the first game of the doubleheader, the Longhorns only had one hit — a double by senior right fielder Collin Shaw, who, through Monday’s games, ranks second in the nation in that category with 10.

In the combined 16 innings, Texas scored just twice against San Diego. That same staff allowed at least three runs in seven of eight contests entering the weekend, including eight or more in three of those.

Texas stranded 14 runners on base, with the middle of the order responsible for nine of those. Meanwhile, the last third of the lineup went hitless.

The Longhorns totaled only eight bases after hitting for 118 in the previous seven games.

If the bats get going again against Stanford this weekend, the Longhorns could start another winning streak before conference play. The Cardinal, similar to Texas, split its four-game series with Rice this past weekend, and its pitching staff may be exactly what gets the Texas offense back on track.

Stanford has allowed nine or more runs in four of its first 12 games.

Down two points to No. 6 Stanford with six seconds remaining, No. 10 Texas relied upon its experience and depth on the road as junior guard Empress Davenport penetrated the lane for a layup to send the game into overtime.

Facing the team that ended top-ranked UConn’s 47-game winning streak in overtime early this week, Texas pulled away late to outlast the Cardinal in the extra stanza, 87-81.

The win marks the first time Texas beat Stanford in Palo Alto, California, since 1981. The Longhorns also ended the Cardinal’s 28-game home win streak at Maples Pavilion.

Texas jumped out to a six-point lead over the Cardinals at halftime but the second half featured a slightly different story. The Longhorns did not score a point for the first 4:35 of the second period. After that, Texas would match Stanford point-for-point — halfway through the second half both teams scored a total of 31 points in five minutes.

But for the first time since the opening half, Stanford took the lead with less than two minutes remaining.

After Davenport’s game tying layup, Stanford tied the game in overtime with less than a minute remaining but junior guard Brady Sanders' jumper gave Texas a lead it would not relinquish. Late points from freshmen guard Brook McCarty increased the lead and secured the victory for the Longhorns.

Texas shot 48.5 percent from the field. Senior forward Nneka Enemkpali led the team in points with 18 but fouled out in the second half. Davenport fouled out in overtime.

The team amassed 30 personal fouls and had five players with three fouls with less than eight minutes left in the second half.

Freshmen guard Ariel Atkins scored 16 points and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc making two. Sanders led the team with 4 assists, while sophomore center Kelsey Lang shot 7 for 12 from the field with 14 points and nine rebounds.

Texas will look to regain energy quickly as it ends its road trip Sunday against the UCLA Bruins at 3 p.m. 

Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

It’s not an easy schedule for No. 10 Longhorns as they begin an early two-game road trip versus ranked opponents starting Thursday against No. 6 Stanford.

Stanford is coming off an 88-86 upset of the top-ranked Connecticut Huskies on Monday, which ended the defending champions’ 47-game winning streak. In that game, the Cardinal extended its home winning streak at Maples Pavilion to 28 games.

Longhorns’ head coach Karen Aston said the west coast trip is a great opportunity to assess and test the team.  

“Any time you can go play a team that will expose your weaknesses, then I think that’s what you’re trying to do,” Aston said. “You’re trying to get better every day and reach your potential. I think the only way you can do that is to get exposed.”

Thursday’s matchup between Stanford and Texas marks the fourth time both teams played one another since the 2010-2011 season. Stanford won all three games, including a 63-54 win in Austin last November.

Aston said Stanford poses a different challenge from other opponents because of how well its guards play.

“They have the ability — as everyone saw [against Connecticut] — to string you out defensively, which is something that we need to get a lot better at,” Aston said. “We’re, at times, not in the right place on defense, and I think … they can put a lot of pressure on you defensively.”

Texas won its regular season opener Saturday against UTSA 68-48 as the Longhorns pulled away late in the second half. Aston said the team looked undisciplined in the season opener possibly because of nerves or not being “amped” enough for the Roadrunners.

“That’s not a good quality of a team,” Aston said. “I think we’ll be ready to play, but have we done the work that it takes and worked on our discipline and execution enough to be prepared to play a team like Stanford?”

Sophomore guard Brianna Taylor said last year’s close game against the Cardinal, with an injured Longhorns team, gives the team a lot of confidence heading into Thursday. 

“We know that we can play with them,” Taylor said. “I think that we’re an even better team this year. We have more experience, and we’re a lot faster team. We can definitely compete
with them.”

Team officials announced junior guard Brady Sanders is cleared to play because of a previous hand injury. However, junior center Imani McGee-Stafford and freshman forward Diani Akigbogun remain out because of McGee-Stafford’s leg injury and Akigbogun’s knee injury.

Tip-off for Thursday’s matchup in Palo Alto, California, is scheduled for 8 p.m.

1. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota

Last week (W, 45-16 vs. Stanford): 19-for-30, 258 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 1 INT, 85 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs

2014: 2,541 passing yards, 26 passing TDs, 2 INTs, 410 rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs

Of all the great things Mariota had accomplished, beating Stanford wasn’t on that list until last week. Mariota led the Ducks to their first win over the Cardinal in three years. And if that’s not enough proof of just how well Mariota is playing right now, then consider his statistics. Four total touchdowns and 343 all-purpose yards against Stanford were more than enough to dispel the greatest demon of Mariota’s time at Oregon. The pre-season Heisman favorite somehow appears to be getting better and better each week. As Oregon’s chances to get into the College Football Playoff increases, so will Mariota’s Heisman odds.

2. Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott

Last week (W, 17-10, vs. Arkansas): 18-for-27, 331 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 2 INTs, 61 rushing yards

2014: 2,025 passing yards, 16 passing TDs, 7 INTs, 725 rushing yards, 10 rushing TDs

You can’t play inconsistently and expect to sit atop the Heisman race, and Prescott is no exception. He’s played like a star most of the season, but his three interceptions in the last two games and nail-biting victories over average teams are not going to cut it by the time the Heisman winner is announced in December. Prescott has still kept his Bulldogs undefeated and ranked first in the nation, but he’s got to regain his consistency if he’s going to win this award.

3. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon

Last week (W, 37-0, vs. Rutgers): 19 attempts, 128 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs

2014: 173 attempts, 1,296 rushing yards, 18 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD

It’s been more than two months since the last time Gordon failed to reach 100 rushing yards in a game. Now that you’ve let that sink in, here’s another stat that puts the 6-foot-1-inch, 213-pound junior in a class of his own: this season, Gordon has accounted for more than a third of his team’s total offense. As a running back, there’s not much more you can do for your team than that. Gordon has also scored at least one rushing touchdown in each of his last six games and is rushing for 162 yards per game — the second-highest average in the country. 

4. Alabama WR Amari Cooper

Last week: BYE

2014: 71 receptions, 1,132 receiving yards, 9 receiving TDs 

Cooper has been one of the biggest reasons for Alabama’s rebound after the Oct. 4 loss to Ole Miss. In the three wins since that loss, Cooper has totaled 386 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Two weeks ago against Tennessee, his 224 receiving yards were more than the Volunteers’ total passing yardage in the contest, and he accounted for 78 percent of the Tide’s passing yardage total. It’s been simple this season — when Cooper has a good game, the Tide win big. With four regular-season games left, it’ll be up to him to push the Crimson Tide into the playoff. 

5. TCU QB Trevone Boykin

Last week (W, 31-30, vs. West Virginia): 12-for-30, 166 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 INT, 49 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD

2014: 2,472 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 4 INTs, 423 rushing yards, 4 rushing TDs

Just how potent has Boykin made his TCU offense this season? The answer can be found in TCU’s embarrassment of Texas Tech two weeks ago. In that game, Boykin threw for 433 passing yards and a school-record seven touchdowns, as TCU throttled the Red Raiders, 82-27 — highest ever point total for a Big 12 conference matchup. Beyond that contest, Boykin has been the centerpiece of a TCU offense that is ranked second in scoring offense, third in total offense and sixth in passing offense in the nation. With the Dallas native under center, the Horned Frogs have yet to score less than 30 points in a game.

Thursday and Friday, the Texas women’s swimming and diving team heads to California to race in its first two dual meets of the season. The team will take up the challenge of swimming against two of the Top 4 teams in the NCAA, No. 1 California and No. 4 Stanford.

Last time Texas met with Stanford and Cal, Texas lost to both. Stanford won by a narrow margin of 154-146, and Cal, by a 172-128 count.

This 2014 Texas schedule is anything but easy. Thursday, Stanford (2-0), who conquered Oregon and Utah State in its first meet, will host Texas (3-0) at 4 p.m. Not only does the Stanford women’s swimming and diving team have big talent overall, but their freshman are stealing the show. This season, Stanford’s freshmen alone have acquired 15 individual wins.

Other than the swimming on Thursday, Stanford will also be hosting a “Pink Out” to raise awareness for cancer, in which both teams will swim in pink caps, and both coaches have vowed to donate.

Stanford head coach Gregg Meehan, will donate $1 for every fan who wears pink to the meet. In response, Texas head coach Carol Capitani tweeted:

“@Stanford_W_Swim: I will be donating $1 for every fan in PINK.

I will match Greg’s donation, 100% to Komen Austin. Be there!”

Capitani takes her team to the Spieker Aquatic Complex on Friday to swim against her alma mater, Cal, at 1 p.m. Both teams have been held to high esteem in college swimming. Though Texas has won more championships than Cal overall, Cal has been at the forefront of the competition in the NCAA in recent years.

This meet will be especially interesting for senior diver, Emma Ivory-Ganja, who transferred from Cal to Texas her sophomore year.