TEXAS BASEBALL 'IN A HOLE'

As Texas faces last-place Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., this weekend, HD contributor Tyler King offers his perspective on what's ailing the Longhorns' baseball program.

The Texas baseball program has fallen into a deep hole this season.

As sophomore first baseman Kacy Clemens said after Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Texas A&M Corpus Christi, “We're just in a hole, and we have to get out.”

Clemens added, “We just have to focus on the next one and have to get out of that hole. We have to have guys coming up and getting people on base and scoring those runs, that’s it. That’s all we can do. It seems like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.”

 

The way Texas is playing and has played over the last year and a half resembles a little of the path that the football team took the last couple years under Mack Brown. They are bringing in talented players and getting them on campus, the problem is that they are majorly under-performing.

 

I don't believe that Tommy Nicholson had the requisite credentials to get the hitting coach/recruiting coordinator position that he got in 2012, and it has showed since he's been here. He had only been a full-time coach for two years (2011-12) at Sacramento State.

Here are Texas' batting averages in Nicholson's first three years as hitting coach at Texas as well as the three years before he was hitting coach. Note: 2010 was the last season with old bats that aided the offensive numbers.

 

2015- .259 (227/295)

2014- .263 (186/296)

2013- .260 (217/296)

2012- .263 (226/291)

2011- .269 (224/292)

2010- .286 (232/292)

 

Texas ran into a problem with the signing classes of 2011 and 2012 where 5/13 and 6/14 signed pro contracts and did not make it to the Forty Acres.

Five other members of those classes who did make it to Texas either transferred or did not pan out.

There are only two seniors on this year's team - Ty Culbreth and Travis Duke. There are five juniors (six if you count Morgan Cooper) who contributed to the College World Series team in 2014.

 

Augie Garrido, who was recently announced as an inductee into the College Baseball Hall of Fame, has talked about walking that fine line between being aggressive but also being patient.

 

The goal was to adopt the mindset of the world champion Kansas City Royals - be aggressive and not strike out.

 

Well the Longhorns have had eight games in which they've struck out 10 or more times and have struggled to score runs this season.

 

Honestly, Augie probably needs to get them out of the small-ball mentality (using sac bunts to advance base runners) and just let players swing away and see what happens.

Just let them be aggressive like you’ve been preaching and have fun with it. They can’t do much worse than what they’re doing right now and need to start attacking instead of getting behind.

 

In my mind, I believe this is the last season for Augie and Tommy. The only way Skip isn’t back is if Texas was to hire TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle and he brings with him his pitching coach Kirk Saarloos, who has done a very good job at TCU.

 

Skip is one of the best around at teaching pitching and still has pro clients like Clayton Kershaw and Homer Bailey. I had heard from someone who was in the program last season, that the coaches were saying their goodbyes after the Baylor series believing that they wouldn’t be back after the Big 12 Tournament. 

 

If things don't start turning around immediately this weekend at Kansas State, who is 0-6 in Big 12 play, those goodbyes may be happening - for good - next month.

 

TEXAS (12-17) at KANSAS STATE (13-17)

April 8-10, 2016
Where: Manhattan, Kansas
Time: Friday at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m.Sunday at 1 p.m.
Radio: 104.9 FM The Horn/1260 AM
Talent: Craig Way (Play-by-Play), Roger Wallace (Analyst)
All-time Series: Texas leads, 17-3     

PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAYUT RHP Morgan Cooper (1-1, 4.55) vs. KSU LHP Parker Rigler (2-5, 4.58 ERA)

SATURDAYUT LHP Ty Culbreth (5-2, 2.31) vs. KSU RHP Levi MaVorhis (3-2, 4.12 ERA)

SUNDAYUT RHP Kyle Johnston (1-1, 3.12)  vs. KSU RHP Corey Fischer (1-3, 6.17 ERA)


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