The Texas Longhorns, one of the most decorated programs in the history of college baseball, is about to finish one of its worst seasons in 121 years of playing the sport.
That can’t be much fun for the young men who will go into the history books for all the wrong reasons. Texas is 21-27 (9-12 Big 12) heading into the final four games of the season starting tonight at home against Texas State. Baylor comes to Austin for a three-game series over the weekend. The Horns are assured of just the program’s eighth losing season, and first since 1998.
A fixture in the postseason, Texas will pack it up after the weekend until next year, assuming it doesn’t catch lightning in a battle and wins the Big 12 tournament. If the Horns don’t do the seemingly impossible, it will mark the third time in five seasons without advancing to the postseason.
Texas won the Big 12 title in 2011 with a 49-19 record (21-6 Big 12), and made it to the College World Series that season and again in 2014 that followed a 7-win Big 12 season in 2013.
Just as longtime successful coaches Mack Brown and Rick Barnes were shown the door after bouts of mediocrity, 77-year-old Longhorns baseball coach Augie Garrido, one of the game’s all-time greats, could be wrapping up his final rodeo even with another year left on his contract.
After winning three games in a row in mid-April, Garrido said the goal for his team is to make it 18 in a row by winning the final 15. Well, that’s not going to happen. Texas is 4-7 since and includes a current three-game losing streak after getting swept by West Virginia.
Ryan Autullo of the Austin American-Statesman has watched it all this season, and has painstakingly compiled the evidence that shows why the Longhorns are in such a rut when other teams around the state such as Texas Tech, TCU, Texas A&M, Rice and others are still swinging big sticks.
Check out this by-the-numbers list, courtesy of Autullo:
130: Texas’ RPI — by far its lowest score since that measurement of success came into existence in 1999
.195/.185: The batting averages of infielder Bret Boswell and catcher Michael Cantu. The sophomores were significant in-state recruiting gets.
0: Wins in 18 appearances (including eight starts) for sophomore pitcher Connor Mayes.
40: Games missed because of injury by corner outfielders Tyler Rand and Patrick Mathis, and infielder Joe Baker. Also, lefty reliever Josh Sawyer (shoulder) has been unavailable for large stretches and has made only six appearances.
9: Losses in 12 series openers. Playing from behind is never easy.
4.12: The staff’s ERA, the worst for Texas since 2008 (4.48).
.965: The fielding percentage hasn’t been lower since .962 in 2003.
9: Texas has batted in 34 ninth innings and has scored only nine runs.
2-9: Record in one-run games.
4-21: Record when scoring fewer than five runs.
1-19: Record when trailing after six innings. The lone win came on April 23 when Texas erased a one-run deficit to beat Texas Tech, 4-3.
7.8: The average number of strikeouts registered by UT’s hitters is slightly higher than the 7.6 of the 2010 team.
0: Three-game sweeps. If this holds, it’ll be the first time without one in Garrido’s 20 years.