February 24, 2008

Baseball's Back!

That's right, Texas baseball returned to the diamond this weekend. The last two seasons Texas has been a combined 1-5 after the first weekend of baseball. This opening weekend, however, was different, as Texas swept a pretty solid Virginia Commonwealth club (6-2, 17-4, 10-2). One of us was lucky enough to attend two of those games and had a few observations:

1) The biggest surprise of the weekend has to go to Kevin Keyes. This giant of a man started two games at DH and went 5-7 with 4 runs scored. The 6'4" 215 lbs freshman even stole two bases on the weekend.

2) UFCU Disch-Falk field. Wow. The newly redone stadium is awesome. Well done by the university in making the Disch into a nice, enjoyable park to watch baseball. There is a ton of open space along the right and left field lines, the concourse looks fantastic, and all the new seating makes for a beautiful setup. If only there was grass...

3) VCU was clearly overmatched, but Texas played some real nice baseball. Doing the little things right, stealing bases, playing solid defense, putting the ball in play, this is what makes Auggieball so dangerous.

4) If the starting pitching is this good, look out Omaha! We can't remember another time when so much of the pitching staff will be determined on the field. Austin Wood pitched six good innings on Friday, Kenn Kasparek did the same on Sunday in his first game in over two years, and Cole Green pitched nicely in his Longhorn debut. Throw in some nice relief work by Brandan Workman, Kyle Walker, and Chance Ruffin -- amongst others -- excites us to see how this pitching staff will develop.

5) We can't remember a year in which we a) had so many newbies in key positions, and b) felt so confident in their abilities. Michael Torres and David Hernandez are a great combination in the middle infield, Brandon Belt should do a nice job filling some big shoes at first, and Travis Tucker (new to 3b) played the position very nicely this weekend.

6) We're interested to see how the condensed schedule affects the team. Texas clearly has a quantitatively deep pitching staff, but we'll soon learn about the quality. The Horns play 8 games in the season's first 9 days, having a two-game series against always feisty UT Pan American before traveling to Houston to face Tennessee, Rice, and Houston in the Minute Maid Classic.

7) TexasSports.tv enables you to watch games live, on the internet, for free. That is awesome.

8) The next six weeks are the best of the offseason. College baseball is back, college basketball is still here. We suggest enjoying it while it lasts.

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