Baseball Preview No. 22: Texas Southern

TEXAS (34-17) vs. TEXAS SOUTH (24-20)
May 10, 2022
Where: UFCU Disch-Falk Ground
Time: Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Television: Longhorn Network
Radio: 104.9 FM The Horn / 1260 AM
Live Stats: https://texassports.com/sidearmstats/baseball
All-time series: Texas leads, 12-0

LIKELY LAUNCH MATCHUP
TUESDAY-
Texas HPL Luke Harrisson (0-0, 3.08) vs. Texas Southern TBA

THE MATCHUPS—Texas begins a five-game homestand to close out the regular season with a Tuesday matchup against Texas Southern. The Longhorns and TSU Tigers have already met 12 times, all in Austin. Last season, the Longhorns and Tigers played in the bottom of the fourth inning before the weather intervened and the game was declared a draw.

A LOOK AT THE LONGHORNS—The Longhorns won a series in West Virginia for the first time in program history. Heading into last weekend, Texas was 2-7 in Morgantown, W.Va. Texas leads the Big 12 with a .316 batting average and a program-record 94 homers, while staff at pitching is second in the league with a 4.28 ERA. The Longhorns are the best fielding team in the league with a .985 fielding percentage.

BOMB SQUAD—Texas broke the program record for most homers in a season, smashing 94 bombs in 51 games that season. Total home runs lead the Big 12 and rank third nationally. Last season, Texas hit 68 home runs in 67 games, the fourth by a Longhorn team. Texas has 25 multi-homer games, including 10 three-homer games, five four-homer games, and three five-homer games.

THE SOFTNESS OF HOME-Texas went 19-7 this season at friendly UFCU Disch-Falk Field. In the first 48 games of the season, Texas played a total of 26 home games and 22 away games at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Of the last eight games of the regular season, the Longhorns have played five at home and only three on the road. In home games, Texas has a .330 team batting average and .988 fielding percentage. The Longhorns have also averaged 6,849 home fans this season, the fifth highest average attendance in the nation.

TITANIC-Ivan Melendez leads the nation with 25 homers this season, the second-most hit by a Texas player in a single season. Melendez now has 38 career homers, which is the third in career in Texas. Melendez also ranks in the top 5 nationally in total bases (1st), slugging percentage (1st), RBI (2nd), and on-base percentage (4th). He also ranks fifth nationally with a .423 batting average, while his 77 hits rank seventh and his 43 walks rank 11th.

MURPH DOG—Murphy Stehly had a stellar batting season, batting .372, ranking seventh in the nation with 77 total hits and 10th with 138 total bases. Stehly also has 17 doubles, a triple and 14 home runs. He has a hit in 43 of his 50 games played and has 23 games with multiple hits, including only the sixth three-homer game in Texas Baseball history. He had a 20-game hitting streak earlier this season, which is tied for fourth-longest in program history. His versatility was also on display, playing first base, second base, third base and right field throughout the season.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT-Texas clinched gold last season with the addition of graduate transfer Mike Antico of St. John’s. The outfielder became the first player in Big 12 history to hit 10 homers and steal 40 bases in a season. This season, the Longhorns have added the transfer of graduates Skyler Messinger of Kansas and he produced. The similarities are striking, as both players started their careers slowly in Texas. In Antico’s first 26 games last season, he batted just .202 before dropping to .273 and landing in the second-team All-Big 12. For Messinger, he was batting just .192 after his first 16 games, but in his last 31 games he increased his batting average to .350. Messinger has hit eight home runs this season, after hitting just six in his four years at Kansas. He’s also been excellent defensively at third base with just two errors on 129 defensive chances this season.

DISC OWNER—Much of the Longhorns’ success under head coach David Pierce came to dominate at home. Since 2017, Texas has produced a 141-40 (.779) record at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, including a 19-7 mark this season. Since the stadium opened in 1975, Texas has gone 1,572-400-3 at home for a .797 winning percentage. The fanbase has also done a great job of making Disch a tough place to play. In the first 26 home games this season, Texas averaged 6,849 fans in attendance, which would be a program record. With the exception of last season’s limited capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas has led the Big 12 in attendance for 15 straight seasons.

FLASHING LEATHER—Trey Faltin and Mitchell Daly formed an incredible midfield duo, anchoring the Big 12’s best defense with a .984 field percentage. This season, Daly and Faltine are currently tied for first in the league with 149 assists each. Last season, Faltine led the Big 12 with 203 assists, while Daly was second with 178.

GROUND SHOT MACHINE—Throughout his career on Forty Acres, Eric Kennedy used his speed as a means to reach the base. With four field singles (three bunts) this season, Kennedy now has 55 career field singles (31 bu). Last season, he had 27 singles from the field, including 16 hits.

MARS MADNESS—Texas Baseball started March with a tough 11-game streak in the first 16 days of the month. To make matters even more difficult, the majority of those matches took place away from UFCU Disch-Falk Field, with 10 of 11 on the road. The road was grueling and the Longhorns started the month with a 6-5 record. The end of the March schedule was also tough, starting Big 12 Conference play by dropping the series at Texas Tech before dropping to Texas A&M for a midweek game. Overall, Texas went 11-8 in March with 13 away games.

LISTEN TO THEM—In partnership with Learfield IMG College, Texas games will air on the Austin radio network, primarily on 104.9 The Horn and AM 1260. Craig Way is primarily handling play-by-play duties alongside Roger Wallace . This season, fans will also hear analysis from Longhorn greats Keith Moreland, Ty Harrington and Nathan Thornhill throughout the season.

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