Longhorns look to bounce back, salvage season

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Junior first baseman Kacy Clemens prepares to bunt the ball in Texas’ 11-2 home-win against UTSA on March 22.
Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

Head coach Augie Garrido didn’t know what to say following Texas’ 5-0 loss to Texas A&M – Corpus Christi on Tuesday. 

There wasn’t much to say. The Longhorns were outhit, outpitched and simply outplayed by the Islanders, dropping their season record to 12-17. Texas looked listless and out of sync, far from the team many picked to compete for a Big 12 title before the season. Garrido kept it simple in his postgame press conference. 

“We didn’t show up,” Garrido said. “As the game went on, we had several opportunities with runners in scoring position and didn’t produce a run. We were very ineffective.” 

In a season full of disappointing losses, Tuesday’s may have taken the cake. Not only did the Longhorns lose to the Islanders — who had lost seven of their last eight before facing Texas — they looked unable to muster any signs of life. 

Zero Longhorns recorded multiple hits against Corpus Christi, with six starters going hitless. Shutting out Texas wasn’t any Cy Young award winner, but freshman Aaron Hernandez who was shellacked by the NAIA University of Houston­–Victoria in his previous start. Junior first baseman Kacy Clemens summed up the state of the Longhorns as they search for answers.

“We’re just in a hole and we have to get out,” Clemens said. “We just have to focus on the next one and have to get out of that hole. That’s all we can do. It seems like everything that has gone wrong has gone wrong.” 

But despite the despair, the baseball season is a long one, and the Longhorns aren’t done yet. Texas has six weekend series left in its 2016 slate, beginning with Kansas State on Friday in Manhattan, Kansas.

Luckily for the Longhorns, the Wildcats don’t outwardly appear to be significant challengers. Kansas State currently sits in the cellar of the Big 12, holding a conference record of 0-6. Before a victory over Nebraska on Tuesday, the Wildcats had previously lost 11 of their last 12 games.

However, nothing is certain for this Longhorns squad. Texas currently holds the No. 109 RPI ranking in the country and looks to have a slim chance of making the NCAA Tournament via an at-large bid. And in order to even surpass the .500 mark prior to the Big 12 Tournament, Texas must go 15-8 down the stretch.

The Longhorns are aware of these statistics. As the second half of the season continues, Texas’ prognosis is simple: play better baseball or end the season inauspiciously early.

“Everything’s been said,” Clemens said. “This is already way too many times to be sitting in the locker room thinking about what we need to do. We already know what we need to do, we just need to get out there and do it.”