Longhorns head to Kansas in pivotal series

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Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

There are two weeks left in the regular season for Texas. That means there are just two more opportunities for the Longhorns to improve their spot in the Big 12 standings, which has rapidly sunk since the last week of March.

This weekend’s series between the Longhorns and the Kansas Jayhawks will provide a great indication of which team has a better chance of securing the final spot in the Big 12 Tournament at the end of the season.

For Texas, the only way to make sure the team is playing its best baseball is to clean up errors at the plate, on the mound and in the field.

“We have to play three phases,” head coach David Pierce said after the 10-2 win over West Virginia. “That’s the only way we are going to be successful. We’re not overly talented. We have some talent, but probably the biggest thing feeds off of our pitching, and if we attack the strike zone, we get back to having opportunities to win every game.”

Texas currently sits with a 6–11 record against Big 12 foes so far this season, which has them in the eighth and final spot in the Big 12 postseason tournament. In the last place position is Kansas, which is 5–10 in Big 12 play this season.

With the Big 12 Tournament only taking the top eight teams in the standings, this weekend’s series is quite significant in determining the team that will be making the trip to Oklahoma City.

Texas has struggled tremendously over the last month. However, Pierce has made changes to the lineup recently to combat the difficulties. Most notably, Pierce inserting shortstop Masen Hibbeler into the leadoff spot.

“It’s working right now and I do like it,” said Pierce when asked if Hibbeler will remain in the leadoff spot. “As long as we are getting on base up there and being productive — we’re trying to get Duke (Ellis) right, right now, so we’re sliding him in the bottom and letting him work through that.”

Moving Hibbeler to the top of the lineup has been successful as of late, with Texas scoring 20 runs over the last three games, all of which have consisted of Hibbeler in the leadoff spot.

The senior shortstop has gone 6-for-14 at the plate in those three games, including a walk and four runs scored.

The Longhorns will need the same type of production from Hibbeler this weekend against Kansas or else the nightmarish turn this season has taken could be topped off with missing the Big 12 Tournament entirely.