Texas Longhorns Baseball Notebook

HD contributor Tyler King presents his thoughts on the Longhorns baseball team as it prepares to face rival Oklahoma.

1. Texas had one of those “flat” games Tuesday against Lamar.

And the bad thing is it has had too many of those games this year.

The team couldn’t bunt and struggled to move runners up with less than two outs - an issue that has become an alarming trend this season.

The Longhorns played well last weekend winning two-of-three against TCU, and need that team to show up in Norman, Oklahoma.

2. Skip Johnson and Augie Garrido made a great decision by putting in Connor Mayes.

Mayes had two shutdown appearances, closing out both wins last weekend against TCU.

But the best thing to happen to the bullpen was getting back LHP Josh Sawyer.

Sawyer had not pitched a game since February 19 after dealing with shoulder soreness, but that changed last Tuesday when he faced UTSA. He gives the bullpen a boost with his 93-94 MPH fastball and a curveball that is almost untouchable by left-handed hitters. Don't be surprised to possibly see him back in the rotation if Kyle Johnston's control continues to falter.

Add Chase Shugart moving to the seventh inning role to the mix, and the Longhorns have a seven-eight-nine that can help close out games. Last weekend was a great example of it.

3. Tyler Rand has really added a nice spark to the offense since he returned last Thursday.

After being out for nearly a month, Rand is 4-12 hitting with a RBI, two stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .428 since his return. 

He is also a plus-plus defender in center. Yes, I know he misplayed a ball on Tuesday, but he can really cover a lot of ground in CF and has good throwing arm.

The defense is better with Rand at center and Zane Gurwitz playing second base - which is what he played in high school. 

The Longhorns weekend rotation will remain the same against Oklahoma with Morgan Cooper Friday, Ty Culbreth Saturday and Johnston Sunday.

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