Augie Garrido

Former Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido passed away at age 79 on Thursday morning. 

Photo Credit: Pearce Murphy | Daily Texan Staff

Texas head coach David Pierce remembers the first time he crossed paths with former head coach Augie Garrido.

Pierce was a restricted earnings coach for Rice. Garrido was the head coach for Cal State Fullerton. The two teams squared off for a game during the 1991 season.

Garrido’s team took an early lead and rode it throughout the matchup. By the seventh inning, the Titans led, 7-0. Pierce’s team was frustrated. His pitcher tried pegging the next batter, who took exception. The two teams began brawling on the field and multiple players were ejected.

“Right then is when I knew (Garrido) was somebody special,” Pierce said. “He was planning to win the game and that's what he felt like he had to do.”

When Garrido resigned as Texas’ head coach in 2016, he remained close to the program as a special assistant to then-athletic director Mike Perrin. When Pierce arrived as Garrido’s replacement, the pair already had a mutual respect for each other.

“I’m thankful for our friendship,” Garrido said in his last text message to Pierce before his passing on Thursday morning.

“I'm just thankful that I was around him but really, really thankful that he embraced me,” Pierce said. “That says it all for me. I mean he has become one of my very good friends over the past couple of years. And so, there's so many people in our building that are struggling right now with his loss. I'm up here speaking on behalf of all those that Coach Garrido is truly missed.”

Garrido’s loss has been hard for many people. Hundreds of people have reached out to the team wishing to give their thoughts, prayers and condolences.

“Obviously, it's a sad day for a program, sad day for college baseball,” director of baseball operations Drew Bishop said. “You get to see what his reach was really easily in a situation like this.”

Bishop played for Garrido at Texas from 2005–2008. He noticed during his career that Garrido always knew the right thing to say in any situation — not just baseball. It helped him stay in touch with his players, even in retirement.

“A lot of times it's not about baseball, it's really, it’s life, it’s about friendship,” Bishop said. “You know, he would care a lot more about how we were doing individually than he would ever wonder or have any idea or any knowledge or feel for baseball.”

Pierce and Bishop will turn their attention to consoling Texas’ current players and helping them move past the loss. They’ll try to find the right thing to say, just as Garrido used to.

“I want to tell them what he means to me and I want to tell them what he means to our game and to so many people that he cross paths with,” Pierce said. “And I want them to really appreciate what they have and reflect on what we could possibly become. I just want him to be a part of our program like he always has.”

“I know and anybody that knows him, he wouldn't want us to spend more than a second sad about it,” Bishop said.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Legendary Texas head baseball coach Augie Garrido passed away, Texas Athletics announced late Thursday morning. He was 79.

Garrido had been recently hospitalized for what was described as a “very serious medical condition.”

“This is a very, very sad day,” UT athletic director Chris Del Conte said. “We lost one of the greatest coaches of all time, a truly special Longhorn legend and college athletics icon. There will never be another Augie Garrido. He was a once-in-a-lifetime personality whose impact on Texas Athletics, collegiate baseball and the student-athletes he coached extended far beyond the playing field. If you were fortunate enough to have spent time with Augie, or if you followed him in any way, he had a great effect on you with his brilliant combination of wisdom, wit and charm.

“He was just an incredible coach, molder of men and a great person. He will be missed, but the memories of him and his awesome accomplishments will carry on forever. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Jeannie, and his family.”

Garrido, the winningest coach in college baseball history, was a beloved figure at Texas, where he coached from 1997-2016 until current Texas head coach David Pierce took over last season.

“Augie was a giant in our game,” Pierce said in a statement. “His impact on baseball, on the Forty Acres, and on me and so many others will live on forever. My thoughts are with (his wife) Jeannie, his friends, his family, and all those who were lucky enough to have met him, played for him, or learned from him. His presence will be sorely missed but his legacy will never be forgotten.”

Garrido compiled a career record 1975–919–9 over 48 years and is regarded as one of the best college baseball coaches in history. He was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Garrido will be remembered not only for his on-field success but also his tough demeanor and strong will to win. He will undoubtedly be missed by many.

Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

WACO — Since sweeping Kansas State in late March, the Longhorns have struggled to put together any sort of positive momentum.

In the six series since, Texas has posted only one series win while being swept three times, dropping down to an RPI of 104 and eliminating any chance of receiving an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.

But a nearly two-week long break might just be what the Longhorns needed.

The Texas bats came to life in a three-game set at Baylor with seven long balls and 18 runs, and, while it did come against a Bears team that barely got into the Big 12 tournament, the Longhorns showed a glimmer of hope in a 2-1 series win going into a must-win conference tournament.

“I think it’s really important to have that momentum and go off with a winning feeling and a decisive victory,” head coach Augie Garrido said.

Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa came alive the most, finally breaking out of slump where he went two-for-10 with zero RBIs after fracturing a bone in his hand at TCU on April 25. Hinojosa more than doubled his season home run total, sending four home four balls over the left field wall, including the tying shot in the ninth in Saturday’s game. That shot was followed by solo home run by sophomore first baseman Tres Barrera to give Texas a 6-5 win.

“Coming back being down a run it’s good for our team,” Hinojosa said. “It shows character we have to not really worry about what’s going on and go out there and play our game.”

Jake McKenzie, who had been used as a relief pitcher for most of the season, showed his offensive prowess in the second game of a double header Sunday. The freshman singled twice with the bases loaded, bringing in two runs each in a four RBI evening to help the Longhorns to an 11-1 run-rule and the series win.

“It was fun; I got a chance to go out there and play so I took advantage the best I could and put the bat on the ball,” McKenzie said.

But beating Baylor in a three-game set is much different than winning the four or five games necessary to win the Big 12 tournament, which the Longhorns will have to do to avoid missing the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years.

Texas, who will enter the tournament as the fifth seed and play Texas Tech Wednesday at 9 a.m., went 2-10 against the top four seeds in the conference and were swept at TCU, who the Longhorns would likely have to beat two times just to reach the championship game.

But, on Sunday, Garrido referenced the 2008 Fresno State Bulldogs. That team had to win its conference title, which it did, and then went on a Cinderella run to win the national championship.

“It’s been done before,” Garrido said. “That’s the model for it.”

After head coach Augie Garrido said this team was the best since 2005, Texas has limped to a 24–24 so far this season.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns (24–24, 9–12 Big 12) won’t return to UFCU Disch-Falk Field until next season.

Texas’ final home game this season, against Texas State, was cancelled for inclement weather, meaning the Longhorns have three guaranteed games left and a murky offseason looming on the horizon.

The Longhorns will travel to Waco to take on Baylor in their regular season series finale May 16–17, and Texas hopes it plays well enough to bolster its faltering chance of getting into the Big 12 Tournament.

If the Longhorns, who are 9–12 in Big 12 play and fifth in the conference, want to make a surprise appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the team will likely have to shock the conference and win the Big 12 Championship. That possibility is unlikely, as the Longhorns have dropped 10 games to the conference’s top four teams — TCU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

Despite the long odds, junior left fielder Ben Johnson and the players aren’t ready to give up yet.

“[We need to] try and win as many games as possible,” Johnson said. “If we were to win out, who knows what will happen. We just have to find a way to win games to give us a chance to find a way to get in.”

If the team doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament, it will be the third time in four years that the team has failed to advance to the postseason.

As the team faces the prospect of missing the NCAA Tournament again, some fans have raised questions about head coach Augie Garrido’s job security. Men’s athletic director Steve Patterson has already demonstrated that he isn’t afraid to take drastic action firing two of Texas’ top coaches — Mack Brown and Rick Barnes — in the last two years.

The fan base has grown tired of losing, leading to unsubstantiated rumors about Garrido’s future spread primarily on message boards. One Austin American-Statesman columnist called for Garrido to resign.

But Garrido shows no signs of quitting. Although this season has been subpar, Garrido said he feels like he can right the ship.

“I know how to fix it,” Garrido said. “But it has to start like it did last year in the fall. We really assumed and thought we had the leadership on this team as a result of how close they were and how many guys were coming back. … We didn’t work them as hard on attitude as we did with last year’s team. It’s all about attitude.”

As the offseason approaches, Johnson and junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa will have to decide whether to enter the MLB draft or return for their senior seasons. The Longhorns are already losing several starting seniors, including pitcher Parker French, second baseman Brooks Marlow and right fielder Collin Shaw.

In the face of offseason drama, Texas still has baseball to play — and the team will try, despite the odds, to make a run at the NCAA Tournament.

“We gotta comeback ready to play,” sophomore catcher Tres Barrera said. “Come back with an opening-day mindset and just fight it. We have a bunch of fighters in this locker room. We have everybody back from last year’s team, and we know what it takes to be in the College World Series.”

Texas Tech sophomore Stephen Smith, left, and freshman shortstop Joe Baker have to be separated in a contentious match Sunday.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Late in the ninth inning Sunday, Texas Tech sophomore Stephen Smith slid hard into freshman shortstop Joe Baker. As the two barked at each other, the Texas bench ran on to the field in a rare sign of emotion for the Longhorns.

“It’s just baseball,” sophomore catcher Tres Barrera said. “We’re just sticking up for our teammate. We saw a guy went in hard. You just got to back up your guy at all times, no matter what the score is.”

The move, about protection, was equally the result of raw emotion spilling onto the field as the Texas season hung in the balance. In a must-win game, Texas faltered to Texas Tech, 5–1, in a decisive series finale, just as it has done most of this season. The Red Raiders took the series with a 2-1 advantage. 

“It’s like going to the same movie over and over again,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “We continue not to take quality at-bats with runners in scoring position. When we have opportunities to score runs, we fail offensively to take our walks and sustain the rally that we need.”

Garrido said the team entered the weekend with the hope of sneaking into the NCAA Tournament. But the Longhorns flew off the radar in front of 6,284 faithful fans Sunday as a two-run home run by Texas Tech freshman shortstop Orlando Garcia sailed over the left-field wall in the fifth inning.

Despite recording eight hits, the Longhorns failed to produce any run-scoring drives as their only run came across on a walk. Texas played 24 innings of scoreless baseball over the weekend. It plated three runs in the fifth inning of Friday’s 3–0 win and one run in each of its losses.

“We haven’t capitalized when we needed to,” Barrera said. “We haven’t been able to put timely at-bats and timely hitting when we have runners in scoring position. That’s just the way it’s been.”

Texas has a .500 record and has failed to win back-to-back Big 12 games since late March. The team also dropped three mid-week games this season against UT-Arlington, Texas A&M–Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State. The Longhorns’ struggles started in early March when the team dropped a doubleheader against San Diego.  

“We had a lot of success, a lot of fight and a lot of expectations,” Garrido said. “I think when we lost the first three-game weekend, we started to feel differently about their ability to come back and win the game. We’ve had problem with RBIs.”

The Longhorns offense started off hot but quelled as the season grew. Texas put plenty of runners on base — as it did against the Red Raiders — but failed to bring home many runs. The biggest issue that hurt the Longhorns was their focus on their batting average, Garrido said.

“We became one dimensional; we only had one goal,” Garrido said. “Anybody who’s been around baseball for a long time … they know that the biggest demon of all the ones that are around is batting average.”

With four games left in the regular season, the team’s postseason hopes likely ride on winning the Big 12 Championship, a shock considering Garrido called this team as good as the 2005 national championship team earlier this season. 

Despite all the negativity surrounding this season, the players still believe a comeback is possible, according to freshman pitcher Connor Mayes.

“[The batters] are staying with it and going through the process that coach talks about, and that’s all we can do,” Mayes said. “We might be unlucky, but we just got to stay with it.” 

Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

Before the season began, the Longhorns thought they had a starting rotation certain to get them back to Omaha, Nebraska.

Senior pitcher Parker French was coming off of a year with a 2.41 ERA and 62 strikeouts. Sophomore pitcher Josh Sawyer and junior pitcher Chad Hollingsworth were coming off injuries, and sophomore pitcher Kacy Clemens, son of Texas pitching legend Roger Clemens, was looking for his first start on the mound after playing first base last season.

Two months later, as the team heads into its last Big 12 home series against Texas Tech this weekend, the Texas rotation looks far different from the one that started the season.

Clemens is out for at least a month with an elbow injury. Hollingsworth has battled injuries, and Sawyer has been relegated to starting the Tuesday games. Of the four, French is the only player left in Friday’s starting rotation.

“When you start talking injuries, you start making excuses, and you don’t try to find solutions,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “We’re trying to find solutions.”

Garrido’s solution, at least for this weekend, will be to put junior pitcher Ty Culbreth and freshman pitcher Connor Mayes into the starting rotation.

Culbreth started last Saturday at TCU in place of Clemens, and, although he got the loss, he pitched six innings, gave up just three earned runs and struck out six to give the Longhorns a chance in the game.

Mayes came out of the bullpen in Sunday’s series finale, shutting down the Horned Frogs for four innings before giving up two runs in the sixth.

“He came in, grabbed the ball and threw it to the mitt with no fear,” Garrido said of Mayes after Sunday’s game. “That’s the way he pitched in high school, and that’s what made him one of the top pitchers in the entire state.”

But the new arms in the rotation might be too little, too late for the Longhorns.

The sweep Texas received at the hands of TCU all but closed the door on the Longhorns’ hopes of receiving an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns still have a shot at getting into the 64-team field by winning the Big 12 Championship next month, but that would require winning a minimum of four games in five days.

The games won’t get easier this weekend as Texas Tech rolls into town. The Red Raiders sit fourth in the conference — two games above the Longhorns — with a 10–8 Big 12 record and were ranked in Baseball America’s College Top 25 before losing their series to Oklahoma State last weekend.

Texas pitchers will face off against Red Raiders sophomore Stephen Smith, who’s tied for second in the conference with eight home runs, and junior Eric Gutierrez, who has belted 13 doubles this season.

Still, even with all the losses and the changes in the rotation, junior left fielder Ben Johnson said the team is keeping an upbeat attitude.

“Whatever happens, happens with the tournament,” Johnson said. “It’s out of our hands at this point. We just have to go out there and compete every day and try to win as many games as you can.”

Senior second baseman Brooks Marlow makes a throw toward first against Texas State. Marlow said the Longhorns look to put their frustrating weekend at TCU behind them when they take on Prairie View A&M.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

After a sweep from No. 7 TCU this weekend, Texas is back to square one.

The Longhorns, who entered the season with high expectations and a roster full of returning talent, now sit at .500.

Texas came into the series with high hopes after two dominating performances against Kansas and Texas State. But after the Horned Frogs swept the Longhorns, they’re once again trying to regroup after suffering their 22nd loss of the season.

Despite the up-and-down season, the players still believe they can rally and make a run toward the postseason.

“We have the players to be one of the best teams in the country,” sophomore catcher Tres Barrera said. “But if you look as good as you want on paper, you got to come out here, and get it done. We’re playing hard. We’re fighting. We’re just not executing.”

Texas (22–22, 8–10 Big 12) will have a chance to gather itself against Prairie View A&M (14–31, 4–17 SWAC). The Panthers defeated Alcorn State, 10–7, Sunday and are coming off their first conference series win since Feb. 28.

The Longhorns and Panthers square off at UFCU Disch-Falk Field at 6 p.m. on Longhorn Network.

The Longhorns hope to find a break at home as they look to rebound from a tough weekend. 

Texas head coach Augie Garrido said the key to fixing the team’s issues is all in its execution.

“We’ve got to win with we we’ve got,” Garrido said. “I think we can win with what we’ve got. We just have to execute.”

He added that the team badly wants to get better.

“As bad as we’ve been beaten up during the course of this season, not only injury-wise but also mentally, with the losses that have accumulated, they still want to get that done,” Garrido said. “Their spirit is not broken. They’re still competitive.”

At .500, Texas will have to keep fighting through the rest of the season to make it to the postseason. 

“It’s just [about] battling right now,” senior second baseman Brooks Marlow said. “Coach [Garrido] talks about being mentally tough all the time. That’s what this team’s got. We just got to be ready to play tomorrow and put this behind us."

FORT WORTH — The momentum the Longhorns built over the last week dissipated in seven hours Saturday afternoon.

Texas gave up 21 runs and 26 hits two games as the Longhorns dropped both games of a doubleheader to TCU.

“The separation between the two teams might have been the infield play,” head coach Augie Garrido said.

The day got off to a rough start in the bottom of the first. With a runner on base, senior pitcher Parker French fielded a ground ball, but threw the ball past second base trying to turn the double play. The error came back to hurt the Longhorns as the Horned Frogs struck for two runs on a single by Dane Steinhagen.

After the Longhorns pulled back to within 2-1 in the second, TCU responded with two more runs on a single and a fielding error by junior left fielder Ben Johnson.

TCU's lead grew to 6-2, but Texas made a run in the eighth. The Longhorns drew four walks in the inning’s first six batters to cut the deficit to 6-3 and Johnson legged out an infield single to plate another run.

Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa led off the ninth with a single and eventually scored on a double play; however, senior second baseman Brooks Marlow struck out to end the game.

“We kind of fed off of it a bit,” Marlow said. “We had the momentum a little bit even though we lost.”

Texas got off to another rough start in the second game with TCU taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. But the Longhorns fired back with an RBI single by Hinojosa to tie the game.

After the Horned Frogs retook the lead in the bottom of the inning, Marlow responded in the fourth with a solo home run to right field. Johnson then gave Texas its first lead of the day with a single to right to score freshman designated hitter Joe Baker, who had reached on a two-base error.

But that was it for the Texas offense. The Longhorns loaded the bases in the sixth with one out, but failed to capitalize after senior right fielder Collin Shaw and Hinojosa struck out to end the frame.

Meanwhile, TCU struck for a run in the fifth, sixth and then blew the game wide open in a six-run seventh inning to take a 10-3 lead. All six of the runs were unearned due to lapses in the defense, including Hinojosa made a throwing error and overthrew second after making a diving stop up the middle.

“Those were the plays that separated the two teams,” Garrido said.

Junior pitcher Ty Culbreth got the start in place of sophomore Kacy Clemens, who Garrido said would be out for a month. Culbreth finished with three earned runs and six strikeouts in six innings of work.

“I felt like I attacked the zone,” Culbreth said. “I felt like I had command of all three of my pitches.”

The teams were forced to play a doubleheader because of torrential rain and winds Friday night. The Longhorns will look to avoid the series sweep in the final game on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Former Longhorn player, cancer survivor and Texas State head coach Ty Harrington returns to UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Tuesday night, Texas State’s head coach, Ty Harrington, made a surprise appearance at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in front of an unusually large crowd. 

Harrington, a former Texas player and coach, has been away from the Bobcats while he battles rectal cancer.

The former two-time Longhorn letterman hugged Texas head coach Augie Garrido at home plate as the crowd cheered after the opposing coaches exchanging lineup cards before the game.

Garrido said the embrace at the plate was emotional because of his friendship with Harrington.

“I know what he’s going through,” Garrido said. “I was with my mother when she went through that. She didn’t make it, but he did. So we thank God for that. It was very emotional.”

Harrington said the crowd’s response was uplifting, especially since he hasn’t been around the game for a while.

“The crowd was unbelievably gracious tonight to applaud me at the beginning of the game,” Harrington said. “I appreciate that from the Longhorn crowd, and I certainly appreciate that from Augie and his staff. … To have these kinds of things are heartfelt and nice. It makes you feel good.”

This was Harrington’s second appearance this season. His first was in Waco against Baylor on April 2.

During his playing days as a Longhorn, Harrington was a two-time letterman. He was infielder from 1984–1987 and went to the College World Series three times.

Harrington continued his time at Texas as a coach. He served as a student coach and a graduate assistant coach from 1988–1991. He moved to Arkansas State to become an assistant coach for the Red Wolves in 1992 before serving as head coach for Northeast Texas Community College in 1995 and Blinn College in 1999.

Harrington became the Bobcats’ head coach in 2000 and has lead Texas State to a 507–381–1 record, three Southland conference championships and three NCAA Regional Tournaments.

While Harrington enjoyed his time at the ballpark, he isn’t sure when he’ll be back full time. He said he’s hopeful that time will come soon, as he is done with his cancer treatment and is starting to feel better.

“I’m trying to work my way back in there,” Harrington said. “My first thought is I’ve got my health before the dugout. I don’t know that I’m ready to get in there and grind.”

Garrido said he has admired Harrington’s strength as he has battled cancer.

“I love what he’s had to go through and how he’s conquered it,” Garrido said. “I admire him. I respect him. And I love him for winning the battle.”

Texas ultimately won the game 7–3, but the play on the diamond only served as a backdrop to an emotional night at the ballpark.

Freshman catcher Michael Cantu has made his presence known behind the plate, throwing out seven would-be baserunners this season.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Trying to steal a base against freshman catcher Michael Cantu isn’t an easy task.

The feat proved especially challenging Saturday, as Cantu displayed his defensive prowess against Oklahoma. In the sixth inning, a Sooner runner tried to steal second, but the freshman made a phenomenal off-balanced throw from his knees to senior second baseman Brooks Marlow for an inning-ending out. He followed that with another equally impressive throw from his knees to freshman shortstop Joe Baker later in the game.

“Cantu did a great job throwing people out at the plate,” sophomore pitcher Kacy Clemens said after the game.

Cantu, a Corpus Christi native, has thrown out seven runners attempting to steal on him this season. He’s hitting .265 on the season and is tied for third in the Big 12 in walks with 25. The 6-foot-3, 237-pound catcher has been a bright spot throughout the season — especially when the team overall is struggling.

Although Texas dropped two out of three against the Sooners, Cantu hit .500 and drew three walks. Head coach Augie Garrido said he was impressed with Cantu’s play.

“He threw out every runner that tried to run on him,” Garrido said. “He was a very mature baseball player. If we could get everybody particularly on offense competing the way he competes — they certainly have a leader and a model to follow in him.”

Cantu came to the team with high accolades. Before coming to college, he was ranked the No. 1 catcher in the state by Perfect Game USA. Perfect Game USA also named him an underclass second-team All-American in 2013 and a third-team All-American in 2014. The Texas Sports Writers Association named him a first-team all-state catcher in 2013 and second-team in 2014. Cantu was also drafted by Chicago Cubs in the 30th round in 2014.

Cantu has proven himself with his confident play from behind the plate. Cantu said that confidence comes from his trust in himself and his baseball ability.

“You got to be confident,” Cantu said. “I was always told that there’s no age in baseball. It doesn’t matter. If you can play, you can play. That’s the big thing: You got to have confidence and trust yourself and trust that what you’ve been doing that’s got you here will keep you going.”

Although he isn’t shy about his skill, Cantu also is quick to mention his teammates and throw the spotlight off himself.

“I’ve just been trusting myself and having confidence in my teammates,” Cantu said. “I threw a guy out that Joe [Baker] caught [against Oklahoma]. The ball was up the line, and he made a great play on it. It’s just trust in ourselves and trusting our defense.”

Texas (19–18, 6–6 Big 12) hopes to live up to that trust as they continue to battle through recent struggles.

Cantu and the Longhorns will try to break out of their slump in a three-game series against Kansas starting Friday at 6 p.m. in Lawrence, Kansas.