Texas is off for finals this week a few days after its game with Texas Southern was called due to rain in the bottom of the fourth. Meanwhile, other series around the country have major implications on the Longhorns’ quest for a top eight seed.
Pitching roles were up for grabs ahead of the 2021 Texas Longhorns baseball season, save for Ty Madden’s presence on Friday nights. The rest of the weekend starting jobs were not set in stone, and who Texas head coach David Pierce would give the ball to on Saturdays and Sundays were huge questions facing a team returning most of its roster.
Texas had a unique opportunity on Sunday to avoid its first home series defeat of the 2021 season. Saturday’s game was stopped in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and the Longhorns trailing Texas Tech 5-3.
With the arrival of the No. 11 Texas Tech, a new challenge confronted the No. 3 Texas Longhorns. David Pierce’s team hadn’t faced anyone the caliber of the Red Raiders in over a month, and the weekend set versus the in-state rival carried with it major Big 12 Conference and postseason implications.
A pre-season look at Texas’ conference schedule hinted at the back half of the Big 12 slate being the challenging portion, with the non-conference series with Abilene Christian serving as a mid-season checkpoint for the Longhorns. Prior to the series with the Wildcats, Texas took weekends from teams near the bottom part of the Big 12 standings. Three of the four series after ACU – Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and TCU – would be the real tests of Texas’ status within the Big 12.
Texas lefty Pete Hansen’s 92nd pitch of the game was skied to right field by Texas State pinch hitter Cameron Gibbons, and Douglas Hodo had plenty of time to settle under it for the first out of the top of the ninth inning. It was the 17th-straight Bobcat retired by Hansen, and he prepared to face the top of the Texas State order for the fourth time needing two more outs to finish a complete game three-hitter.