Following a 6-1 win over Texas State in San Marcos on Tuesday night, Texas baseball will again hit the road for a 3 game series against Kansas State, with the first game starting on Thursday due to the Easter holiday. The Longhorns will enter Manhattan with a 5-1 conference record and having won 7 out of their last 8 games. This past weekend, Texas rebounded from a Friday loss against Oklahoma State, winning the next 2 games and taking the series. Head coach David Pierce said he was very pleased with the way his team responded after falling behind in Sunday’s series finale, which the Longhorns ultimately won, 10-5.
“What I was so excited about is when we responded, all of our energy was towards each other,” Pierce said. “It wasn’t towards any kind of animosity or anything the opposing team. It was about us and to me I think you can win the parking lot, you can win on the road when are truly working for each other. I thought that was just awesome to see that happen.”
Texas’ recent success comes on the heels of a tough stretch several weeks ago where they dropped 5 straight games to Stanford and Arkansas.
“I thought they really handled that streak with some character because it was hard,” Pierce said. “I tell them all the time, you are not guaranteed anything, just keep playing together. I promise the non-conference schedule really helped us to build confidence because we had seen everything we could have possibly seen, from starting arms to guys in the box that are tough outs. The way the entire piece has developed, it has created the chemistry even moreso. I don’t think you build chemistry in an offseason. I think that starts it, I think it presents a culture, but you build chemistry in winning and losing and fighting and battling together. That’s what was really cool to see on sunday. Honestly, there was resemblance of that last night in a really bad environment in terms of the element and the delays, and you just see it in the dugout, guys are really comfortable.”
After a tough start to the season, the Texas bullpen has begun to steady. Against Texas State, the Longhorns received 6 innings from their relievers, who combined to allow 1 run. The performance came on the heels of strong showings by several bullpen members over the weekend against Oklahoma State.
“There’s some dependability starting to take place and that’s critical for us. Last night was a great team win, in things that needed to happen, happened. We had a plan that we were not going to throw Nico over 50 pitches because he could be the potential starter on Saturday. We had a plan that every guy that threw last night was going to throw. We actually had a couple of others that were on the list, but in a short outing. We wanted as many people to build some confidence and to be fresh, it was really critical. I thought Kam (Fields) really threw the ball well. The ball came out of his hand and some of that exciting, electric type arm that we have been waiting for, a plus slider to go along with that.”
The Longhorns will look to continue their winning ways against a Kansas State team searching for their first Big 12 victory of the year after being swept by TCU to start conference play. Blair Henley will get the ball in Thursday’s series opener, with Nolan Kingham to follow on Friday and Saturday’s starter to be announced. Follow along at HornSports.com for live updates.