April 15, 2007

Baseball Round Up -- "There are killer bees in Central Texas"

Travis Tucker's AB and base running in the bottom of the seventh in Sunday's final game against Texas Tech can be described with one word: Augieball. Trailing 2-1 in a game where the bats just weren't working, Tucker led off the seventh. Knowing that the Longhorns needed base runners, Tucker quickly worked a four pitch walk. Tucker stole second base, then stole third and scored the tying run on a Jordan Danks single up the middle two batters later. Texas would score three runs in the seventh and sweep the series with Texas Tech (7-2, 10-1 and 4-2). The series was their second Big XII series sweep and their 10th straight series victory.

The Horns showed several reasons this weekend why they may be going far in June.
  • Starting pitching: All three starters went at least 6 innings, combining for 24 strikeouts and 4 earned runs. James Russell and Adrian Alaniz have been doing this more or less all season, but if Joseph Krebs is pitching well then the Horns will be a very tough out.

  • Relief pitching: Aside from a few appearances, Randy Boone has been lights out this season. Sunday was really the only time Texas needed solid relief pitching and Boone responded beautifully with 3 innings, 22 pitches and no hits to pick up the win. Hunter Harris and Pat McCrory also pitched spectacularly in limited appearances. Relief pitching is certainly not a strong suit of this team, the bullpen does seem to be coming together at just the right time.

  • Power: Just about the only thing that didn't happen this weekend was a Kyle Russell home run. Bradley Suttle hit his 10th homer of the season on Friday, Chance Wheeless went yard on Saturday, and Texas put up three or more runs four times. Considering they were playing in the vacuum that is Disch-Falk, Texas is proving that it has one of the best offenses in the country

  • Defense: Statistically speaking, this Texas team is tied with the 2005 team as the best defensive team in the Augie era (both had a .978 fielding percentage). There's not much more to say about this other than to note that comparisons to the 2005 team are a good thing.

  • The lineup: Right now, the Texas batting order is like a murderers' row. They can hit for average, they can hit for power, they can steal bases and there aren't a whole lot of holes. Kyle Russell is slugging an insane .874, the team is averaging 8.2 runs per game with Danks leading off and Tucker, Danks and Nick Peoples have stolen a combined 43 of 47 bases.
Throw in Joseph Krebs reaching career highs in innings and pitches thrown and it was a great weekend for the Longhorns. About the only thing that went wrong this weekend was a stoppage of play in the bottom half of Sunday's critical seventh inning after a Tech outfielder was attacked by "killer bees", as Keith Moreland described it. We've said it once and we'll say it again, Texas has the finest home field advantage in the nation.

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