Connor Rowe slides back into the newly FieldTurfed first base.

Connor Rowe slides back into the newly FieldTurfed first base during the season opener.

With [tag]Augie Garrido[/tag] watching from home the 2009 Texas Longhorn baseball team got the season going on the right foot sweeping four games against Illinois-Chicago. This year’s version of Texas baseball looked to be a throwback to the 2002-2005 Longhorns. Texas won 6-1 Friday, took the double header Saturday 3-1 and 10-1 (in seven innings), and 1-0 on Sunday.

Texas’ pitching staff showed off all weekend combining for a 0.79 ERA and striking out 24. Texas has four capable starters in [tag]Chance Ruffin[/tag], [tag]Taylor Jungmann[/tag], [tag]Cole Green[/tag], and [tag]Brandon Workman[/tag]. All four of them went at least six innings and none of them gave up more than one run. And the best part is all of them are not yet draft eligible.

It wasn’t just the starters that were on display in the opening series. Newly appointed closer senior [tag]Austin Wood[/tag] was nearly perfect in his two appearances, both of which were for two innings to finish off games. Wood gave up only one hit and walked one batter.

Defensively the Longhorns were stellar. For the weekend Texas committed one error. Last year’s ball club struggled defensively all last season. Garrido teams usually defend well and this year’s team looks to fit the mold early. The new surface provides truer bounces and speed so look for the defense to be much improved, especially in the infield.

Offensively Texas did enough. The Longhorns won’t have the pop they did with [tag]Kyle Russell[/tag] in the lineup, but Texas will make contact and stay on the base paths. The Longhorns only registered six extra base hits in the series, but did a good job of getting runners on with one and two outs and using the sacrifice bunt to produce runs. Some fans might not like it, but it works. And it will work even better on the new and slow motion playing surface.

Overall it was just one weekend, and in baseball fortunes can change quickly, but Garrido has shown his recipe for success in the past: pitching, defense, sacrifice bunts. This team showed all three this weekend in the sweep over a pretty good ball club. Mentally Texas has been lacking after the run early in the decade. Changing that mentality will decide if this team has a trip to Omaha in their future.

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Three UT stars (Kyle Russell, Jordan Danks and Preston Clark) are looking for their first regional championship.

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Longhorns participate in Leadership Luncheon. Vince Young, Mike Griffin, Kyle Russell, & others discuss the importance of effective organizations & leadership skills.

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Posted June 8th, 2007 by Joanna
Filed under: Baseball, Draft

A couple of quick notes. Texas signee Brandon Workman (rhp, Bowie HS) was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. [tag]Kyle Russell[/tag] and [tag]Bradley Suttle[/tag] were drafted in the 4th round. They only got through the first 5 rounds of the draft yesterday; more Horns will be drafted today.

Major League Baseball has changed their “draft and follow” rule. In the past, a team could draft a player and then take up to 51 weeks to sign him…and no other team could come knockin’ on the door during those 51 weeks. So, they could draft a player, encourage him to play another year of college ball, watch his progress, and then decide. All the while safe in the knowledge that if they wanted to sign the player, they had a year to do so. The new rule states that the teams only have until August 15th to sign a player, except for college seniors. I think the change will mean more draftees from the later rounds will go ahead and sign. But, maybe not. Some people think the rule change will mean that teams will draft fewer players. The draft goes 50 rounds. In the past, 4 or 5 teams would drop out as the draft got into the later rounds. But, most would draft all the way through to the end since teams had so long to evaluate talent. The new rule may mean they won’t bother drafting some players they would’ve drafted in the past.

If I’m able, I’ll update this post as the draft progresses today.

Update (2 pm). [tag]Randy Boone[/tag] was drafted in the 7th by Toronto; [tag]Adrian Alaniz[/tag] in the 8th by Washington; signee Taylor Grote (cf, The Woodlands) in the 8th by the Yankees; and signee Runey Davis (cf, Georgetown) in the 11th by Pittsburgh.

Update (5 pm). [tag]James Russell[/tag] was drafted in the 14th by the Cubs; [tag]Joseph Krebs[/tag] in the 14th by Cincinnati; [tag]Chance Wheeless[/tag] in the 17th by Arizona; [tag]Nick Peoples[/tag] (as a second baseman, apparently) in the 19th by St. Louis; and signee Kevin Keyes (rf, Connally HS) in the 26th by the Rangers.

Update (6 pm). [tag]Preston Clark[/tag] was drafted in the 33rd by the Cubs; [tag]Kenn Kasparek[/tag] (who was recovering from Tommy John surgery and did not play this year) in the 34th by Washington; signee Garrett Clyde (rhp, San Jacinto College) in the 43rd by the Cubs; signee Cameron Rupp (c, Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano) in the 43rd by Pittsburgh; and [tag]Clay Van Hook[/tag] in the 45th by Seattle.

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Posted May 7th, 2007 by Joanna
Filed under: Baseball

Sadly, the Horns lost their first Big 12 series of the year. They played two very uncharacteristic games this weekend. It was almost like watching a team I’d never seen before. Jeckyll and Hyde. The team on Saturday? That was the team we’ve been watching all year long. But yesterday? Almost all of the things that went wrong on Friday night went wrong again yesterday afternoon as they lost 4-5. Coming away from the weekend, all I can hope is that the team got it out of their system.

I also hope [tag]Missouri[/tag] comes earlier in the season next year!

Two notes: [tag]Jordan Danks[/tag] jammed his shoulder and had to leave the game early on Saturday. [tag]Kyle Russell[/tag] jammed his wrist and had to leave the game early on Sunday. In the post-game interview, Coach Garrido said he didn’t think either injury was very bad (Jordan Danks actually went in as a pinch runner in Sunday’s game) and that they’d both be back for the A&M game. Here’s hoping.

I also hope they Horns manage to schedule a game for the 12th. I don’t think they need the game. But, it certainly couldn’t hurt to get a game in. I don’t know that letting the team “stew” on the Missouri series for 11 days without facing another team would be the best thing to happen right now. Too much time to second-guess, m’thinks.

Anyway, for more specifics on how things went this yesterday:

Check out the Daily Texan article for a great action photo of Travis Tucker. And, note that the TexasSports.com recap has an error (it states that the Missouri’s fifth run was scored on a balk…it wasn’t).

Hopefully, I’ll have better news to report next time. Hook ’em!

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Posted May 5th, 2007 by Joanna
Filed under: Baseball

Texas had a tough time of things last night as they lost the series opener to [tag]Missouri[/tag]. Missouri has proven to be a thorn in the Longhorns’ side for the last three years. Coming into the series, Mizzou had taken 6 of the last 9 games. The Tigers had also worked their way into 2nd place in the Big 12 as they came to town. So, the Horns couldn’t really afford to take things for granted.

Things started out nicely last night as Texas took the lead 4-2, helped along by two home runs by [tag]Kyle Russell[/tag]. But, the Tigers took the lead in the 6th when they put 4 on the board as the Texas bullpen showed a crack or two. The Horns rallied, though, and tied things up in the 9th. Sadly, they gave up an unearned run in the top of the 11th as Preston Clark made a very rare error on a toss back to [tag]Randy Boone[/tag] that sailed over Boone’s glove. The Missouri runner at third base made a great decision and broke for home, scoring the go-ahead run. In the bottom of the inning, with two out, Texas rallied but the tying run was thrown out at the plate. Tommy Harmon made the decision to send the runner home and said afterward that he didn’t want to end the game with the tying run stranded at third base. He was hoping Missouri would make a mistake on the play. But, Missouri didn’t make a mistake. They won the game 7-6.

The Horns bounced back today, though. In fine fashion. They got a great game out of [tag]Adrian Alaniz[/tag] who went 8.1 innings. He gave up one run on three hits while walking 2 and striking out 4. And, the bullpen did not let him down. [tag]Joseph Krebs[/tag] went in and struck out the final two batters of the game. The Horns scored 2 runs in the 4th and 3 in the 6th to cruise to victory. [tag]Preston Clark[/tag] went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and two runs scored. [tag]Chais Fuller[/tag] went 3-for-4 with a run scored and 3 runs batted in. Kyle Russell failed to hit any home runs today (“only” going 1-for-4) but that 1 hit pushed the final two runs across for the Horns.

So, the series is even. Here’s hoping the Horns finish it off tomorrow. Austin Wood is expected to get the start. He’s done well lately and seems to be improving. This should be fun.

For more details, you can check out the game reports I posted to my page. See yesterday’s game report or today’s game report.

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Posted April 25th, 2007 by Brian
Filed under: Baseball, Basketball, Football

As a freshman [tag]Kevin Durant[/tag] had the best season ever for a Longhorn basketball player. [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] broke Texas passing records despite missing a game due to injury and only being a redshirt freshman. Sophomore baseball star [tag]Kyle Russell[/tag] has set baseball power records with plenty of games left to play in the season; It’s a great time to be a Texas fan and we’re lucky to get a chance to see all three of these guys play for the Horns in a single year.

Vote below on which one of the three amazing Texas athletes has had (is having) the best season:

Which Horn had the better season?

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Posted April 25th, 2007 by Brian
Filed under: Baseball

Kyle RussellTexas right fielder [tag]Kyle Russell[/tag] continued his incredible record setting season for the Horns by hitting for the cycle against UT-Pan American. And he did it in only seven innings as the game was called early to allow UT-Pan Am to get out of town before El Niño hit.

Russell started off the game with a two-run homer in the first. He then picked up the toughest component of the cycle by hitting a triple in the bottom of the fifth. He added a double in the sixth and completed the feat by singling in a run in the seventh. Russell commented on his cycle, “It’s the first cycle I’ve ever hit, to do it at home in front of the burnt orange nation is really special.” He also finished the game with a five RBIs.

If Russell can stay hot and runners can get on base in front of him, the Longhorns should be in great shape to make a run out another national title. Kevin Durant may be the best basketball player to ever play at Texas, but right now Kyle Russell is putting on an even more impressive performance. He’s well on his way to earning player of the year honors of his own.

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Rice snaps 10-game losing streak against Texas with 7-4 win on Tuesday. Kyle Russell sets Texas home run record.

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Kyle Russell is one homer away from Texas season record, with 20 regular season games to go.

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