The No. 3-ranked Longhorns (2-2) will face the No. 18-ranked
Stanford Cardinal (4-0) this weekend in an early test for the Horns’
pitching staff. Stanford is coming into the series with the bats smoking after sweeping Rice in a three game series last week.
The fast-starting Cardinals are coming off an 11-6 mid-week victory over Pacific
and are hitting .336 as a team. Granted it’s early in the season and
some of the numbers could be inflated, but there’s no denying the run-scoring ability the
Cardinal are bringing to Austin. Through four games, including three against a perennially stout Owl pitching staff, Stanford is averaging 9.5 runs per game. One of the heavy bats for the Cardinal is
Texas native Jonathan Kaskow, who has five RBIs and three doubles on the
season. Straight out of Coppell, Tex., the junior first baseman got
some good experience playing in the Alaskan Summer League for the
Peninsula Oilers. Who said baseball can’t be played in the cold?
Another natural slugger for Stanford is second-round draft pick by the
Tampa Bay Rays, Kenny Diekroeger. The freshman is starting off fast
batting .429 with three RBIs and five runs scored. Stanford is slated to send to the hill this weekend RHP Jordan Pries (1-0, 1.17), LHP Scott Snodgress (0-0, 4.26) and LHP Brett Mooneyham (0-0, 5.06). The Cardinal bullpen, though, has earned three of Stanford’s four wins. The Longhorns are looking to keep the pitching dominant after Cole
Green showcased his arm in a 7-2 win over Dallas Baptist on Wednesday
with four scoreless innings, only giving up five hits. The bullpen
looked tuned with Stayton Thomas, Andrew McKirahan and Chance Ruffin
closing the game with four shutout frames. Texas is expected to stick to its week one rotation of RHP Taylor Jungmann (1-0, 1.29), RHP Brandon Workman (0-0, 4.50) and RHP Austin Dicharry (0-1, 2.70). Through four games, the Texas staff has a nice 2.50 ERA. Cameron Rupp and Tant Shepherd are off to good starts for the season
each batting .462. Kyle Lusson has delivered the only long ball for Texas so far but seven different Horns have collected at least one double. Although a big question for the Horns this weekend will be if the bats
show up (Texas is hitting just .287 as a team through four games, almost 50 points below Stanford), the big picture for the series may be how well the pitching
staff does against a hot-hitting Cardinal team.
The Longhorns and Cardinal take the
diamond at 3 p.m. Friday with a projected forecast of north winds up to 30
mph. I guess it couldn’t hurt the pitching to have a little help.