Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Texas' Boys of Summer Are Hot

The Texas baseball team continues to perform strong after besting Texas State for their 7th straight victory. Augie-ball is alive and well as the 20-7 Longhorns are currently ranked no. 1o by Baseball America. This winning streak included a sweep of Big 12 rival Baylor over last weekend, putting the Horns on top of the Big 12 (3-0).

Sophomore third baseman Bradley Suttle leads the Longhorn offense batting .425, 32 RBIs and 6 HRs. Kyle Russell has also knocked 13 dingers (leads the nation), batted in 33 runs and hit a a .387 clip. The Horns' offense is strong again, as it was last year. Five players (Suttle, Russell, Chance Wheeless, Travis Tucker and Jordan Danks) are all batting over .340. Of course, I am pretty sure Augie is the MacGyver of baseball coaches. The way MacGyver can make a bomb out of a potato, a match and a shoe string, Augie can make a run out of a walk, a hit batsman and a bunt.

But, the biggest improvement Texas has seen this season is from th pitching staff. Right away you can see the difference a more controlled pitching staff can make. Last season Texas pitchers allowed about 4 walks a game and that number has been cut to 2.6 per game this year. Ardain Alaniz leads the staff with a 5-1 record. Adrian has posted a 2.31 ERA and has been only allowing opponents to bat .213 off of him this year.

But Alaniz is not the only Horn to pitch well the year. Texas has at least 6 other hurlers that have had outstanding years thus far. James Russell, Joseph Krebs, Austin Wood, Randy Boone, Keith Shinaberry, and Pat McCrory have all put together solid years.

Texas’ goal this year is the same as it is every year. Anything short of a birth in the College World Series and a national Championship will not do for this squad (We all know how much Augie dislikes second place). The Horns’ certainly have the makings of a team that is primed to continue this win streak in conference play and throughout the post season.

It is worth noting that this weekend against Baylor saw a milestone. With the sweep over the Bears, Texas took the all-time conference lead in wins (173 wins to Baylor’s 169). This extends Texas’ win lead over Colorado to 173 games (yes, I know CU doesn’t play baseball).

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