David Pierce has been honest with the fact he isn’t afraid to talk about the big picture with his team. The Longhorns currently sit at 29-15 overall and sit one game back of first-place in the Big 12 standings with a record of 11-4. A RPI of 30 is likely to improve over the course of the final 3 weeks of the season. As it currently stands, Texas has positioned themselves to make a run at a conference title and potentially host a regional.
“The more information you have, you understand the landscape of college baseball,” Pierce explained. “You understand how it works. Then you put that aside, then you have to go compete. I do it everyday. I’m not in the box nor am I on the mound, but you have to be able to compartmentalize that. I think it’s better for them to know than to not know where we are and not understand what we are playing for. We are playing for 5 championships every year, and those need to be identified to them. Now if they address that as pressure, you are probably not performing in the games when the perceived pressure is there. I think the more information they have, the better they are.”
This weekend’s road series at West Virginia represents another opportunity for Texas to strengthen its resume. Despite a 20-18 record, the Mountaineers have a RPI of 35 and the 2nd best strength of schedule in the country. Last time the Longhorns visited Morgantown in 2016, they were swept in 3 games. It was a series that junior left-hander Josh Sawyer would like to forget.
“For me personally, this is where I tore my arm, the bullpen at West Virginia,” Sawyer said. “It’s definitely a little personal for me and we did get swept, and we sat in the runway after the game for about 3 hours on a hot plane. So it was not a fun trip, and we are looking forward to going back this year and making it a little more exciting for us.”
Following the trip to West Virginia, the Longhorns will finish out the conference schedule with a weekend series at Texas Tech and a home series against TCU. Junior Masen Hibbeler said the team knows what they will be playing for over the next several weeks, but will continue to take it one game at a time.
“Of course the Big 12 championship is always in the back of your mind,” Hibbeler said. “You want to be Big 12 champions, but we are going to take it one game at a time. You can’t win the Big 12 championship if you don’t win the first one. So that’s what we are going to do. One game at a time, and just try to keep winning”
Texas and West Virginia will begin the 3 game series on Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:30 PM CST. Saturday’s game will begin at 3:00 PM CST, with the series scheduled to wrap up on Sunday afternoon at noon. All games will be broadcasted online for free at wvusports.com
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