Hello Horns Fans!
Longhorns Baseball season is here!
Texas opens tonight with the Ragin’ Cajuns of U La La. Tonight’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:30, with Nolan Kingham on the bump for the Horns.
Lots of fun stuff on the interwebs and social media.
Texas is ranked No. 21 by D1 Baseball and NCBWA. No. 14 by Baseball America and No. 20 in the USA Coaches Poll.
Saturday’s game is at 2:30, with Chase Shugart to start, and Sunday Blair Henley gets the ball with a 1:30 start time.
ULaLa returns 18 letter winners and 4 starting pitchers. They should be pretty good.
Probable starters for the Horns:
6 C DJ Petrinsky
5 1B Ryan Reynolds
7 2B Masen Hibbeler
1 SS David Hamilton
2 3B Kody Clemens
4 LF Tate Shaw
11 CF Duke Ellis
44 RF Austin Todd
55 DH Sam Bertelson
Some new faces, as expected. Here are the quick bios on a couple of them.
AS A SOPHOMORE (HILL COLLEGE)
Hit a team-high .353 with 12 home runs, 16 doubles, and one triple in his second season at Hill…drove in 58 runs while scoring 48 times…went 9-of-10 in steals and caught 15-of-33 attempted base stealers from behind the plate…fielded at a .997 clip on the year in 51 games…earned Academic All-State honors.
AS A FRESHMAN (HILL COLLEGE)
Posted a .390/.490/.677 line with 12 homers in 189 at-bats in his first season at Hill…added nine doubles and a triple while scoring 50 runs and driving in 50 on the year…swiped four bags in five attempts…caught 14-of-39 attempted base stealers on the year and fielded at a .990 clip.
ODESSA COLLEGE (2017)
Named team captain on the conference champion Wranglers…earned first team All-Conference and first team All-Region honors…compiled a .493/.561/.792 line in 39 games during his sophomore season…hit 10 homers, 2 triples, and 9 doubles while driving in 40…also stole 14 bags for the Wranglers.
ODESSA COLLEGE (2016)
Hit .312 with 8 doubles, 4 triples and 4 home runs during his freshman season at Odessa…stole 11 bases in 43 games…also appeared in 3 games on the mound.
From UT SID:
THE MATCHUP—No. 21 Texas hosts the Ragin’ Cajuns for a three-game series to open the 2018 slate…last season, the Ragin’ Cajuns defeated the Longhorns, 8-1, at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas.
A LOOK AT THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS—Louisiana finished 2017 with a 35-21-1 record on the year…the 2018 roster is made up of 18 returning letter-winners, including four starting pitchers…the Ragin’ Cajuns lost four starting position players, including leading hitter Steven Sensley.
A LOOK AT THE LONGHORNS—Texas came up a game short of an NCAA Super Regional appearance when it dropped a pair of games at Long Beach State in the NCAA Regional…the Longhorns dropped both games by one run after opening regional play with two wins…Texas lost its leading hitters, Kacy Clemens (.305) and Zane Gurwitz (.305) and starter Morgan Cooper (6-3, 2.32 ERA), but returns Friday night starter Nolan Kingham (10-4, 2.84) and closer Beau Ridgeway (12 saves, 1.89)…shortstop David Hamilton and first baseman Ryan Reynolds return to an infield that helped turn 65 double plays in 2017…the UT defense ranked fourth in the nation last year.
NEXT UP—Texas hosts Lamar on Wednesday, February 21, at 6:30 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field before heading to Baton Rouge, La., to take on #16 LSU.
IN THE RANKINGS—Texas has been ranked by several publications to open the season: D1Baseball (#21), Baseball America (#14), NCBWA (#21), USA Today Coaches Poll (#20), and Collegiate Baseball (#26).
CROWNING ACCOLADES—Texas RHP Nolan Kingham has received several preseason honors…the junior has been named to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list, and to the NCBWA, Perfect Game/Rawlings, and Collegiate Baseball preseason All-America third teams.
RIDGEWAY RECOGNITION—Texas closer Beau Ridgeway was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award preseason watch list and an NCBWA preseason third team All-American.
NEW MAKEUP—The Longhorns have a total of 10 new transfers, nine of which from junior colleges…the Horns also have 10 freshman (or redshirt-freshman) on the roster in 2018.
D1BASEBALL POWER RANKINGS—In D1Baseball.com’s Top 100 College Prospects list, the Longhorns’ starting rotation was recognized…Kingham was highest at No. 47, followed by No. 76 Blair Henley, and No. 89 Chase Shugart…Matteo Bocchi, Kody Clemens, Michael McCann, Donny Diaz, and Ryan Reynolds made the “best of the rest” list…in D1’s position power rankings, several Longhorns made the cut: Clemens (3B, #24), Reynolds (1B, #26), David Hamilton (SS, #30), and Austin Todd (OF, #58).
DRAFTED— UT had 11 players from the 2017 team taken in the MLB Draft, tied for most in the nation…RHP Morgan Cooper (Dodgers, 2nd round), LHP Nick Kennedy (Rockies, 5th), RHP Kyle Johnston (Nationals, 6th), 2B Bret Boswell (Rockies, 8th), 1B Kacy Clemens (Rockies, 8th), RHP Tyler Schimpf (Giants, 13th), OF Patrick Mathis (Astros, 22nd), RHP Connor Mayes (Royals, 24th), 2B Zane Gurwitz (Angels, 26th), UTIL Travis Jones (Royals, 29th), LHP Jon Malmin (Angels, 31st).
STOLEN BASES & THE SNEAKY WHEELS CLUB—Catcher Michael McCann, one half of the Sneaky Wheels Club, returns to the base paths this year while top base-stealer, David Hamilton, who went 14-of-16 in his rookie season, looks to improve upon his thievery.
PRESEASON POLL—In the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll, Texas was selected to finish third behind preseason favorite Texas Tech (61) and TCU (60)…last season, seven of the nine Big 12 teams made the NCAA postseason.
YEAR TWO—February 17, 2017, marked David Pierce’s first game at the helm of the Texas Baseball program…Pierce was named head coach on June 29, 2016, when he became just the fifth Longhorn head coach since 1911 (with the exception of the war years of 1943-45 when Blair Cherry was at the helm) and the 13th head coach in 122 years of Texas baseball…Pierce—along with assistant coach Sean Allen, assistant coach Philip Miller and volunteer coach Phil Haig—came to Texas after two years at Tulane and three years at Sam Houston State.
PIERCE TO THE POSTSEASON—Head Coach David Pierce has reached the NCAA postseason in each of his six seasons as a head coach at Texas, Tulane, and Sam Houston State.
PRO BALLPARKS—Texas will once again head to Whataburger Field, home of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this year (April 3)…the Longhorns also return to Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters, to take on Texas Southern on April 18.
WATCH ‘EM—All but one Texas home game will be broadcast on Longhorn Network this season…the team of Lowell Galindo, Keith Moreland, and Greg Swindell will return to the booth to call the action.
HEAR ‘EM—In partnership with IMG-College, Texas games will be broadcast on the Austin Radio Network, primarily on 104.9 The Horn and AM 1260…Craig Way will return for primary play-by-play duties alongside Roger Wallace and, new this season, Quan Cosby, former Texas Football and minor league baseball player.