First, many apologies from Texas Baseball Blog for vanishing into cyberspace for the last third of the season. We had some personal matters to attend to, and unfortunately, they couldn’t wait until a more convenient time. Now that the 2012 season has ended in an unfortunate and premature fashion, we’ll get you all caught up on the latest Texas Baseball news, recruiting and MLB draft information, news on Tommy Harmon’s departure, and previews of the incoming players for 2013.
When we last updated the blog, Texas had just beaten Central Arkansas 4-2 in a midweek game. The Longhorns held a 24-14 record and were 11-4 in conference play. Things quickly worsened for Texas. After dropping the last three conference series to Texas A&M, Baylor, and Mizzou, Augie’s team found itself with a 30-20 record at the end of the season. The Big XII Conference Tournament did nothing to bolster the Longhorn spirit, as Texas went 0-2, losing to both Kansas and Mizzou, and returning to Austin without reaching a regional for the first time in 14 years.
Many events combined to create the perfect storm that was the 2012 season. Before the team could even take the field in its first game, Sam Stafford, the staff ace, and Cohl Walla, the starting center fielder, both suffered season-ending injuries and were scratched from the lineup. Matt Moynihan, the hot-bat outfielder that had transferred from Orange Coast College was declared ineligible by the NCAA. C.J. Hinojosa, who was scheduled to graduate early and join the team for 2012 remained in high school for the spring semester. For a team that had already lost 2/3 of its starting pitching rotation from 2011, the road to Omaha became fraught with blind turns and steep climbs. After taking the first third of the season to work out the kinks, Augie Garrido seemed to have a team with a decent shot at the post season. The Longhorn bats heated up temporarily, but another round of the injury bug struck at the worst possible time. Taylor Stell tweaked his knee and went out for a few weeks. Freshman phenom Parker FrenchÂ sufferedÂ a stress fracture in his elbow during the Mizzou series and missed the rest of the season. While word rippled through the baseball community that Texas had lost French for the remainder of the season, word came out that fellow RHP Ricky Jacquez had been dismissed from the team, due toÂ indiscretionsÂ during the same trip to Missouri. Augie Garrido suddenly found himself with a very limited roster, and Texas ended its season much like it had started it, with more of a whimper than a bang.
Fortunately for the Longhorns, there is great promise and hope for 2013. What was a very young team in 2012 has gained valuable experience. The players that learned the sting of loss and falling short of high Texas expectations will return next season stronger and more prepared for whatever 2013 brings.
Cross posted from Texas Baseball Blog