Posted March 10th, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Baseball, Feature

Chance Ruffin threw a complete game in a 6-2 win over Stanford. (TexasSports.com)

Chance Ruffin threw a complete game in a 6-2 win over Stanford. (TexasSports.com)

The Texas Longhorns dropped their first game of the season over the weekend, but managed to take the series in Palo Alto over [tag]Stanford[/tag] two games to one.

The series win moved Texas to No. 1 in the new Baseball America poll. Right now three of the top five teams in the nation come from the Big 12 South and five of the top 12 teams come from the state of Texas.

Pitching continues to be the anchor for this year’s team. The Longhorns have five legitimate weekend starters with only three slots open. Through 13 games Texas sits at 12-1 with a team ERA of 1.35. Each starter is capable of going seven innings plus, and with closer Austin Wood manning the back end of tight games the Texas bullpen has been untested thus far. [tag]Chance Ruffin[/tag] is the ace and will get Friday starts, it looks like [tag]Brandon Workman[/tag] and [tag]Cole Green[/tag] will get the Saturday and Sunday nods with [tag]Taylor Jungmann[/tag] starting the mid-week games and playing the role of long reliever on the weekend. Jungmann would be the Friday starter on the majority of college baseball teams.

Texas is also receiving great play from their defense. Errors were the Achilles’ heel of last year’s ball club, and so far the work the team put into the offseason has paid off in spades. With the pitching staff on such a role it is imperative opponents aren’t given free base runners because of poor plays in the field. Outside of [tag]David Hernandez[/tag] who has seven errors, no one on Texas’ team has more than one. Texas is fielding .978 as a team.

The weak link so far has been at the plate. Texas is only hitting .296 with five homeruns through 13 games. Texas is going old school with their approach at the plate. The Longhorns will look to manufacture runs throughout the season because the lineup just doesn’t have anybody who is going to strike fear in opponent’s hearts. Hernandez has struggled in the field of late, but is leading the team in hitting at .395. Texas has only four other batters hitting over .300 and no UT batters have double digit RBIs.

Luckily it is early in the year and the pitching staff has not yet needed much run support. When Texas was winning championships it was behind stellar starting pitcher, shutdown bullpen work, good play in the field, and timely hitting. The Longhorns have never been confused with the mash brothers with Augie Garrido at the helm.

Texas faces [tag]Baylor[/tag] in an out of conference matchup on Wednesday March 11th before hosting [tag]Missouri[/tag] and top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson to start the Big 12 season this coming up weekend.

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