Texas Baseball Team Firing on All Cylinders


The Texas baseball team look like world-beaters early in the season. The offense has produced 23 runs in the first three games of this series with Minnesota. The pitching staff has allowed just two runs, neither earned. Saturday the Longhorns pitched back-to-back shutouts.

Things are really clicking.

I know it’s early in the season. The Longhorns are also playing a Gopher team that doesn’t have the same opportunity to get the reps in during the winter months. Texas should be further along than Minnesota.

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It’s still baseball, however. You have to be able to throw, catch and hit the baseball. Right now Texas is doing that very well.

I like the batting lineup Augie Garrido has put together, for the most part. Ben Johnson at the top of the order gives Texas a legitimate leadoff hitter. Johnson’s speed should result in more runs scored. Collin Shaw is eating up Gopher pitching with four doubles in the series. I would argue he should be hitting third instead of CJ Hinojosa. Hinojosa has a hole in his swing at the moment, and moving him to the two hole (or down in the lineup) would give him less to think about at the plate. If Johnson gets on, Hinojosa’s thinking becomes simple – move Johnson over. Make things simpler for him until he irons out his swing.

Garrido has been using Brooks Marlow in the clean-up spot. You don’t see many 5-foot-9 clean up hitters. We all know Texas is a small ball team, and that your typical masher in the fourth spot doesn’t apply with Garrido’s strategy. Here I would disagree. The baseball has changed this season – the seams are lower, meaning less wind resistance when the ball is hit.

Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Using a baseball that will travel farther means you do want your power guys hitting four and five in the lineup. Tres Barrera will probably move up to fourth as the season progresses. You want to give your RBI guys as many chances as possible, and hitting higher in the lineup affords you this opportunity.

Texas is a little inexperienced in the bottom third of the lineup, but Bret Boswell has been a pleasant surprise so far. Zane Gurwitz in the nine-hole gives Texas a second leadoff hitter. Freshman Michael Cantu has done a good job behind the plate, and has owned Minnesota pitching to the tune of six RBI in three games.

The pitching has been equally impressive. After Parker French, the starting rotation is brand new. Chad Hollingsworth looks to be over his shoulder issues from the fall and should slide into the Saturday spot. Josh Sawyer bounced back from the Rice game to pitch five shutout innings. He will battle Kacy Clemens for the Sunday spot, with the other being relegated to the weekday starts.

The story has been the freshmen pitchers in the bullpen. We already know what we are going to get with Travis Duke and Ty Culbreth. Tyler Schimpf, Connor Mayes, Jake McKenzie and Kyle Johnston have done a really good job shutting down the opposition. Right now the starters are on a pitch count and not going deep into ball games. I think French may be the only starter who will pitch deep into games this year. This means the bullpen will be called upon most weekends. So far the freshmen have acquitted themselves well.

Like I mentioned before, it’s early in the season. Garrido is still feeling out his lineup and pitching staff. So far, though, the prognosis for another post season trip looks accurate.