The Longhorns need to figure something out, and fast.
As Texas prepares for its final three series of the regular season, a common theme has arisen for the Longhorns: their struggles on the road. The Longhorns sling an atrocious 4–8 road record over their shoulders as they head to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for their weekend series with Oklahoma State.
Texas’ overall record (28–16) is well above .500, but the Longhorns continue to struggle outside the fences of UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The latest road defeat came on Tuesday night when Texas and No. 24 Louisiana Lafeyette met at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas, for the neutral site matchup.
Texas was the designated home team, but it didn’t protect the Longhorns from yet another loss off the 40 Acres — they suffered an 8-1 blowout loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns on Tuesday.
Although redshirt junior pitcher Morgan Cooper and his team realize their issue of road woes has been weighing them down all season, they still can’t locate the exact cause.
“Baseball is funny,” Cooper said. “There’s not really one thing that I can say, ‘This is why.’ If that was the reason we would fix it and we would start winning, but baseball is not that easy. Whatever it is, we’ve just got to get past it. We’ve got to move forward and stop worrying about where we’re at.”
Tuesday night’s defeat ended a five-game winning streak for Texas. This setback admittedly weakened the Longhorns’ momentum, but they hope to rekindle their confidence when they resume conference play this weekend.
“I’d be lying if I said, ‘No, we’re fine,’” Cooper said. “(Tuesday) night was not fun. Getting beat will demoralize you a little bit and deflate you a little bit, but it’s over with … We got to get ready for Big 12 because that’s what is important.”
But a tough task lies ahead — the Longhorns are still trying to find their first series win on the road. With only two road series remaining in the regular season, and one coming against No. 5 TCU, this weekend’s series against Oklahoma State is crucial — unless the Longhorns plan to find their one road series win against the No. 5 ball club in the country.
That doesn’t seem to be out of the equation for Cooper.
“We know that we’re good and when everything is clicking, we can beat anybody,” Cooper said. “I think the main thing is we just got to take the same mindset on the road and not worry about where we’re playing, just worry about playing the game how we know how to play it.”
Although the right-handed pitcher expressed the deflation following the team’s loss Tuesday, head coach David Pierce remained his usual self: calm, ready to move forward and reluctant to overreact.
He can’t afford to do otherwise.
“We’re unlike a basketball or especially a football season, where you play once a week and you have all week to worry about it and try to fix everything in practice — we have to move on,” Pierce said. “We play 54 to 56 regular season games, so it’s key for us to have short memories, understand what we did wrong, understand where we can improve, work on our weaknesses and move on.”
Texas now prepares for a series with Oklahoma State. Although the Cowboys are tied for seventh in the Big 12, they are coming off a series win against No. 8 Texas Tech.
Despite their road woes, the Longhorns are still in a decent position. They have an opportunity to move up a couple of spots from the sixth slot they currently sit in, but that will take something they’ve yet to do: win a series on the road.
“Our fate is right in front of us,” Pierce said. “Oklahoma State is really hot, they’ve played really well last weekend. It’s going to be a good environment for them. We’ve just got to toughen up and be better on the road — it’s that simple.”