AUSTIN (KXAN) — With heavy rain and storms expected in the Austin area over the weekend, Texas and San Jose State are going to frontload its 3-game series with a Friday doubleheader.
The first game is scheduled for 2 p.m. with the nightcap at 6:30 p.m., leaving Saturday open as that is when the forecast calls for the heaviest rain and potential flash flooding around the area. The weather Sunday is forecast to be a little better, and the teams will figure out when or if they’ll play a third game on Sunday.
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Severe weather season in Central Texas can get erratic and unpredictable, and Longhorns head coach David Pierce knows that.
“You gotta be a weatherman right now,” Pierce said. “A lot of people are dependent on the schedule.”
Weather caused Texas and Oklahoma to play a doubleheader to end their Big 12 Conference series April 22, and that led to the Sooners sweeping the Longhorns at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. While the Spartans, at least on paper, aren’t exactly on the level as most of the Big 12 teams, Pierce said keeping his team ready to go at all times is paramount.
“The prep to play a baseball game these days is crazy,” Pierce said. “You have to make sure your arms have thrown the right amount, and then light work after that and to see who’s on the list for Day 1.”
Pierce said the biggest thing for the club to shore up is its bullpen. He said he hasn’t found the right combination of 2-3 go-to guys in relief yet, and the prospect of having to play two games in a day with a bullpen in flux isn’t very appealing. However, he said he’s close to cracking the code and finding arms he’s comfortable going to in high-leverage situations.
As Tanner Witt begins to work back into the starting rotation coming off Tommy John surgery, the Texas pitching staff at the top with Lucas Gordon, Lebarron Johnson Jr. and Travis Sthele looks solid. Pierce said Witt needs to “clean up some things,” and once he does, Pierce’s comfort level with the rotation arms will rise.
“He’s worked hard on syncing his delivery and getting more connected,” Pierce said of Witt.
When the Longhorns and Spartans get their series going earlier than anticipated, outfielder Dylan Campbell will have another chance to tack on to his school-record hitting streak. Now at 27 games, Campbell said when he broke the record against the Kansas Jayhawks after his 26th consecutive game with a hit, he was just playing ball and doing his thing. He said it still hasn’t sunk in yet that his name is going to be in the record books at a program like Texas.
“It doesn’t feel real at times,” he said. “I have people in my family texting me saying, ‘Do you know how cool this is?’ And I’m just like, yeah, but I don’t really understand it yet. Maybe after the season is over and I get a chance to get out of the flow of things, I’ll realize how cool it is.”
Like any good hitter on a hot streak, he didn’t even know he was close to a record until the game before he tied Michael Torres’ 25-game hitting streak in 2008. Thinking about a record like that can consume a hitter and mess with the approach that got them there in the first place, so Campbell kept it simple. He was just out there having fun.
“I was just playing the game and was fortunate enough to be in the position that I am,” Campbell said.