First Pitch 02-17-12

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The Daily Texan presents a preseason baseball preview. ARMS RACE How do the Horns make up for losing ace Sam Stafford? Page 4

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The Feb. 17, 2012 edition of First Pitch.

Transcript of First Pitch 02-17-12

  • The Daily Texan presents a preseason baseball previe

    w.

    ARMS RACEHow do the Horns make up for losing ace Sam Stafford?

    Page 4

  • 22 Friday, February 17, 2012

    theLINEUP

    Sports Editor......................Sameer Bhuchar Associate Sports Editor......................Christian CoronaPhoto Editors.........Ryan Edwards................................................................Elisabeth DillonCopy Editor.............................Elyana Barrera..........................................................Klarissa FitzpatrickSenior Sports Writers............................................Christian Corona....................................................................Chris HummerSenior Designer.........................................Bobby BlanchardIssue Staff........................................................Trey Scott

    The Daily Texan PresenTs:

    2012 eDiTion

    3page

    series to watch

    Texas gets its second baseman and vocal leader, Justin Etier, back for a three-game set against No. 2 Stanford and plays its last series against Texas A&M before the Aggies bolt for the SEC.

    6page

    carrying the offense

    With sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss being the only returning member of the lineup that hit over .300 last season, Weiss will need help from fellow hitters to get the offense rolling in 2012

    sophomores stepping up

    Like the football and mens basketball team here at the 40 Acres, this Texas team is young. But that doesnt mean they cant make a return trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

    7page

    picking his brain

    Augie Garrido knows what it takes to win. Hes only done it 1,817 times as a head coach -- more than any other skipper in college baseball history. See what he has to say about his team this season.

    4page

    replacing sam stafford

    The Longhorns lost their ace for the season but sophomore Nathan Thornhill and junior Hoby Milner are looking to seize the opportunity to become the teams most reliable hurlers.

    Cover Photo: corey leamon | Daily Texan file photo, Above: elisabeth dillon | Daily Texan Staff

    corey leamon | Daily Texan file photo

    5page

    getting back to omaha

    Its been seven years since Texas has made back-to-back trips to the College World Series. But after going 0-2 in Omaha last season, the Longhorns cant wait to get back.

  • texas by the numbers in 2011

    33Friday, February 17, 2012

    By Christian Corona | Daily Texan StaffSERIESTOWATCH

    2011 record:49-19 (19-8 Big 12)

    2011 record:35-22 (14-12 Pac-12)

    Sunken DiamondPalo Alto, Calif.

    Feb. 24-26

    No. 13 Texas No. 2 [email protected] record:

    49-19 (19-8 Big 12)2011 record:41-19 (14-11)

    L. Dale Mitchell ParkNorman, Okla.Mar.ch16-18

    No. 13 Texas No. 19 [email protected] record:

    49-19 (19-8 Big 12)Overall 10-3SEC (7-1)

    Dell DiamondRound Rock, Texas

    March 30-Apr. 1

    No. 13 Texas [email protected] record:

    47-22 (19-8 Big 12)

    Olsen Field/Disch-Falk FieldCollege Station, Texas/Austin, Texas

    April 27-29

    No. 7 Texas A&M No. 13 [email protected] record:

    49-19 (19-8 Big 12)

    The Longhorns face their first elite oppo-nent when they head west to face the Stanford in the second weekend series of the season. Like Texas, the Cardinal were ousted in the postseason by North Carolina in the Chapel Hill Super Regional. This series will also be the first that senior second baseman Jordan Etier, who was arrested and kicked off the team last October, will play in this season. Etier is not playing with a scholarship and is serving a four-game suspension to start the year.

    The Sooners were upset by Dallas Baptist and Oral Roberts in the Fort Worth Regional last year but come into this season as one of three Big 12 teams in the Baseball America preseason Top 25. The Sooners boasted a Big 12-best .313 batting average last year but lose their top five hitters from 2011, as well as 10-game winner Michael Rocha, a 26th-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies last June. Texas has won eight of its last nine games against Oklahoma.

    It might be hard to believe but the Golden Bears, the 6th-place team out of the Pac-12 last season, advanced further in the postseason the Longhorns in 2011. Cal, the No. 3 seed in the Houston Regional, won six straight games af-ter falling to Baylor in its first postseason con-test to reach the College World Series, where they eliminated Texas A&M, for the first time since 1992. The Longhorns have a four-game series with the Golden Bears at the Dell Dia-mond, including a double-header Mar. 31.

    Despite their respective struggles, the Longhorns football team, as well as the mens and womens basketball squads, all handed Texas A&M a demoralizing defeat before the Aggies left for the SEC. Texas will try to fol-low suit when they face the unanimous Big 12 favorite this April. With Texas A&M bringing back top-notch pitchers in Michael Wach and Ross Stripling, along with All-American out-fielder Tyler Naquin, the Longhorns will have their work cut out for themselves.

    Feb. 17 Duke Austin, Texas 7:00 p.m.Feb. 18 Duke Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.Feb. 19 Duke Austin, Texas 12:00 p.m.Feb. 21 UT-Arlington Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.Feb. 24 Stanford Palo Alto, Calif. 7:30 p.m.Feb. 25 Stanford Palo Alto, Calif. 3:00 p.m.Feb. 26 Stanford Palo Alto, Calif. 3:00 p.m.Feb. 28 Houston Baptist Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.March 2 Rice Houston, Texas 7:00 p.m.March 3 Tennessee Houston, Texas 3:30 p.m.March 4 Arkansas Houston, Texas 11:00 a.m.March 6 Dallas Baptist Austin, Texas 4:00 p.m.March 9 Loyola Marymount Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.March10 Loyola Marymount Austin, Texas 7:00 p.m.March 11 Loyola Marymount Austin, Texas 1:00 p.m.March 13 Texas State Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.March 16 Oklahoma Norman, Okla. 6:30 p.m.March 17 Oklahoma Norman, Okla. 2:00 p.m.March 18 Oklahoma Norman, Okla. 1:00 p.m.March 20 Stephen F. Austin Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.March 23 Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. 6:30 p.m.March 24 Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. 2:00 p.m.March 25 Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. 1:00 p.m.March 28 UT-Pan American Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.March 30 California Round Rock, Texas 7:00 p.m.March 31 California Round Rock, Texas 3:30 p.m.March 31 California Round Rock, Texas 6:30 p.m.April 1 California Round Rock, Texas 1:00 p.m.

    April 5 Texas Tech Lubbock, Texas 6:30 p.m.April 6 Texas Tech Lubbock, Texas 6:30 p.m.April 7 Texas Tech Lubbock, Texas 2:00 p.m.April 10 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.April 13 Oklahoma State Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.April 14 Oklahoma State Austin, Texas 3:30 p.m.April 15 Oklahoma State Austin, Texas 2:30 p.m.April 17 Texas State Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.April 20 Kansas Austin, Texas 7:00 p.m.April 21 Kansas Austin, Texas 7:00 p.m.April 22 Kansas Austin, Texas 1:00 p.m.April 24 Central Arkansas Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.April 27 Texas A&M College Station, Texas 6:35 p.m.April 28 Texas A&M Austin, Texas 3:00 p.m.April 29 Texas A&M Austin, Texas 2:00 p.m.May 1 Prairie View A&M Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.May 4 Missouri Columbia, Mo. 6:00 p.m.May 5 Missouri Columbia, Mo. 1:00 p.m.May 6 Missouri Columbia, Mo. 1:00 p.m.May 12 Texas Southern Austin, Texas TBAMay 12 Texas Southern Austin, Texas TBAMay 17 Baylor Waco, Texas 6:30 p.m.May 18 Baylor Austin, Texas 6:00 p.m.May 19 Baylor Austin, Texas 1:00 p.m.May 23-27 Big 12 Championships Oklahoma City, Okla. TBAJune 1-4 Regionals TBA TBA June 8-11 Super Regionals TBA TBAJune15-25/26 College World Series Omaha, Neb. TBA

    Date Opponent Location Time Date Opponent Location Time

    LONGHORN 2012 SEASON:Feb. 17 - April 1 April 5 - June 26

    When opponent scored 2 runs or less 32-2When opponent scored 3 or more runs 17-17When Texas scored first 32-5

    Leading after 6 38-0

    Trailing after 6 40%Trailing after 7 18%Trailing after 8 6

    - compiled by Trey Scott

  • AN ACE IN THE HOLE?4

    4 Friday, February 17, 2012

    Can Thornhill, Milner help Texas replace Stafford, go to Omaha?

    Texas Omaha run last season was fueled by outstanding pitching, particularly from its starting rotation. The problem is, nobodys left from last years rotation.

    Two of the three members of the staff, Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green were lost to the MLB draft and the teams projected ace, Sam Stafford, has suffered a shoulder injury that requires season-ending surgery. This all begs the question who will be included in the rotation? And, perhaps more importantly, who is the ace?

    There are two hurlers that will attempt to fill Staffords shoes: junior Hoby Milner, the fourth member of last years rotation and sophomore Nathan Thornhill, who excelled out of the bullpen last season.

    Both have very similar styles on the mound and could each serves as the Friday starter for the Longhorns, although one could distinguish himself as the undisputed ace.

    Hoby and Thornhill are very much the same, said head coach Augie Garrido. They pound the strike zone, field their position and hold runners very well. Theyre not overpowering or over-whelming but at the same time they are courageous and efficient, which is exactly what we look for in our pitchers.

    Thornhill will start out the season as the teams Friday night starter and Milner will be pitching on Saturdays. Both will need to be at their best to fill the hole left by Stafford and the quality innings he was expected to provide.

    Milner showcased his skills in his very first start of 2011 when he sparkled, pitching seven innings of two-hit ball against Mary-land. He also performed well on the biggest of stages, pitching 2.2 innings of scoreless relief in the College World Series.

    Thornhill displayed his abilities out of the bull pen, serving as a middle reliever, replacing starting pitchers when they struggled while safely carrying the team to its short-inning relievers. He was effective in this often thankless role with 1.89 ERA.

    It was his attitude and toughness out of the bull pen that made Garrido comfortable with making the sophomore his No. 1 guy to start the season.

    His performances provide leadership and certainly theres quality in his pitching. He is talented, Garrido said. He has his own style and identity but it is one that reflects the competitive courage we want all of our pitchers to have.

    However, becoming the ace is completely different than filling in on a day where the starter doesnt have his best stuff. Thornhill will be expected to be the stopper, the man that ends losing streaks and the guy that other teams dread facing.

    At least the Cedar Park native is familiar with the spotlight; he was an all-state starting pitcher and all-district quarter-back in high school, both pieces of evidence that prove he can be dominant on the mound.

    Thornhill is capable of becoming the staffs ace but is still young, and it would be a lot to expect an exceptional season in his second year of college baseball and first as a starter.

    Milner, on the other hand, is much more experienced. He has pitched in big-game situations and has the experi-ence as a starter to naturally make the transition into the rotation.

    He posted numbers last season indicating his ability to become a bona fide starter as Milner was 7-4 with a 2.45 ERA while holding opponents to a .201 batting average. With another season of pitching under his belt, those numbers could easily develop into statistics characteristic of an ace.

    Im used to just being the set-up, bullpen guy but its an exciting role for me and Im pumped for it, Milner said.

    No matter how talented the pair is, the loss of Stafford is still a huge blow. But now a young, talented group of Longhorns have the chance to step in and do something great something that may even include a trip back to Omaha.

    Pair of pitchers make move from bullpen to rotationby chris hummerDaily Texan Staff

    starting pitchers W-L ERA K/9 BB/9 IP AB AB/IPNathan Thornhill 3-0 1.89 9.0 1.5 38.0 142 3.7

    Hoby Milner 7-4 2.45 6.6 3.5 84.1 298 3.5

    nathan thornhillelisabeth dillon| Daily Texan Staff

    hoby milnerelisabeth dillon| Daily Texan Staff

    - compiled by Trey Scott

  • Omaha the Mecca of college baseball, the site of the College World Series and the expected destination for Longhorn baseball teams every year.

    Behind pitchers like Taylor Jungmann and Cole Green, hitters like Brandon Loy and Tant Shepherd, and the all-time winningest coach in college baseball history, Texas reached the College World Series for the 34th time last season, a Division I record. Longhorns skipper Augie Garrido is back for his 16th year on the 40 Acres but Jungmann, Green, Loy and Shepherd are all pursuing professional baseball careers.

    Without any of its starting pitchers from a year ago and after losing three of its top four hitters, Texas could have a tough time getting back to Omaha.

    I do know that weve gone to Omaha with less talent than we have right now, Garrido said. But talent doesnt get you to Omaha, quite honestly. Its part of it, but its not even the most

    important. Attitude and teamwork are the most important parts.Last year marked the seventh time since Garrido took over

    as the Texas head coach in 1997 that he took the Longhorns to the College World Series. It was Garridos pitching staff, one that

    boasted the nations second-lowest ERA a year ago, that carried Texas to Omaha. The Longhorns bring back Corey Knebel, who tied a

    school record with 19 saves as a freshman in 2011, but will have three new starting pitchers in their rotation sophomore Nathan Thornhill,

    junior Hoby Milner and freshman John Curtiss after Sam Stafford, who was expected to be Texas ace, went down with a season-ending

    shoulder injury.

    You cant replace a guy like Taylor. You cant replace a guy like Cole or Sam, said Thornhill, who will start the season opener against Duke on Fri-day. We definitely have a lot of young guys who know how to throw strikes and arent afraid to throw strikes, which is a huge deal. Weve got a lot of guys who are ready to challenge hitters, whether theyre a freshman or senior.

    While the guys Texas was sending to the mound were mowing down the competition, the players in the Longhorns lineup didnt fare as well. Texas posted a team batting average of .269, the third-lowest in the Big 12 and the 224th-best in the country, last season. The Longhorns lost three members of that lineup, including Shepherd and Loy, who were two of their three batters that hit better than .300 last season. Texas lineup this year should feature many underclassmen, especially after junior center fielder Cohl Walla suf-fered a torn ACL during the offseason.

    I think we have some good chances [to get to the College World Series], said Erich Weiss, who led the team with a .348 batting average in 2011. There might be a few [different] lineups after the first week going into the second week. Hopefully after that we can get it settled.

    Whether the Longhorns lineup, rotation or bullpen will be good enough to get them back to Omaha remains to be seen. Texas is a rela-tively inexperienced squad but knows what it takes to get there.

    We have enough talent on the pitching staff, were going to be able to play defense at a high enough level, and were going to be able to play offense at a higher level than we did last year, Garrido said. Its about the fundamentals of the game. If we can master the fundamen-tals of the game, accept the roles that each player has in teamwork and maintain the right attitude, anything can happen. Thats the beauty of it.

    AN ACE IN THE HOLE?5

    5Friday, February 17, 2012

    Young Longhorns squad makes another run at Omahaby christian coronaDaily Texan Staff

    corey leamon | Daily Texan File Photosam stafford

    Position Class Height Weight NotesJosh Urban RHP Jr. 64 215 Throws 97 MPH fastball, needs work on other pitches

    Austin Dicharr y LHP Sr. 64 195 Good enough to start on weekends if healthy

    other returing pitchers

    freshman pitchers to watch: Position Class Height Weight NotesJohn Curtiss RHP Fr. 64 200 Taylor Jungmann-type frame, teammates excited about his potential

    Ricky Jacquez RHP Fr, 59 160 Very live arm, looked good in limited action in fall

    hoby milnerelisabeth dillon| Daily Texan Staff

    - compiled by Trey Scott

  • 66 Friday, February 17, 2012

    At the University of Texas, in any sport, its usually hard for freshmen to see the field.

    But in the Longhorns run to Omaha last season, the team carried 11 freshmen on the roster and five of those players saw significant playing time, including 2012 preseason All-American closer Corey Knebel and third baseman Erich Weiss.

    As sophomores, they will be expected to play an even bigger role this season. There are only two pro-jected upperclassmen in the lineup after losing starting center fielder Cohl Walla and pitcher Sam Stafford to season-ending injuries.

    All of the second-year players need to step up and fill the holes in the lineup made by injuries, gradu-ation and the MLB draft. Contribu-tions from Knebel and Weiss are expected, but the thing that will truly determine how successful the season will become is the performance of the other members of the 2010 class.

    Starting catcher Jacob Felts, a Big 12 All-Freshman team performer last year, is a player who is expected to make great strides. Last season he was a steady presence behind the plate and handled one of the best pitching staffs in the country like a veteran.

    Felts is a great leader, hes the catcher and kind of the quarterback of the team. He is always going to get on somebody if he needs to, said sophomore starting pitcher Nathan Thornhill.

    However, he struggled to catch up to the college game from the other side of the box. Felts hit only .215 last season and often served as the last hitter listed on the lineup card. In order for Felts game to continue to grow, he needs to make great strides at the plate. If he can manage to up his production there, it would be a huge step in improving what was one of the Big 12s worst offenses last season.

    Fellow Big 12 All-Freshman team member Mark Payton will also play a big part in determining the teams

    potential this year. He had an excel-lent freshman year in right field and hit a steady .263 from the plate.

    Like Felts, though, that number will need to improve if the lineup is to succeed, especially because the starting nine will be without three of its top four hitters from last year.

    While contributions from these players are important, it will be the performances of some sophomores who are new to the lineup that will determine just how successful it can be.

    Brandon Loy has been a staple at shortstop on the 40 Acres the last three years but he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers this past season. So it will be up to Christian Summers to take his place.

    Summers played sparingly his freshman season, pinch-hitting and running on occasion. In 2012, he will be playing one of the key defensive positions on the field and certainly has big shoes to fill after the departure of Loy.

    Alex Silver is another sophomore that needs to step up. He played in

    only 12 games last year, splitting between designated hitter and first base. Now, he will be expected to be a starter on a day-to-day basis at first.

    These sophomores need to take on bigger roles not only on the field but off of it as well. They will be forced to take on leadership roles early in their collegiate careers. The juniors and seniors paved the way for this class to be successful in 2011 and now its time for them to do the

    same for this years freshmen.We need to all step up as sopho-

    mores and get the freshmen ready, Weiss said. We played a lot last year and I think getting the freshmen ready will help them when their time comes.

    Aiding the freshmen in matur-ing quickly will benefit the team, but if the class of 2011 wants to get back to Omaha once again, it will be up to their class to propel them there.

    Sophomores forced into leadership rolesby chris hummerDaily Texan Staff

    Longhorns best hitter in 2011 poised for another solid season

    Texas leading hitter last season cant recall what his batting average was in 2011.

    I dont really remember. Im not sure, but I think it ended up some-where in the .340s, said Longhorns third baseman Erich Weiss, a .348 hitter a year ago. I hope it turns out to be better this year than last year. But Im just going to do whatever I can to help the team win. Im not going to try to be selfish.

    Weiss vividly remembers how his freshman year ended. It ended in Omaha at the College World Series last June. Two days after falling to Florida, the Longhorns lost to North Carolina, going 0-2 in their NCAA-record 34th College World Series appearance. Weiss was 0-for-3 at the plate in the season finale.

    It stung a little bit at the end, Weiss said. I think we could have played a little bit better. It was a hard game. They were a very good team. Hats off to them.

    Now, Weiss and his teammates are aiming for a better showing in Omaha this year. With the sopho-more from Brenham being the only of Texas top four hitters from last season coming back, Weiss will likely play a big role in getting the Longhorns back to the College World Series. Weiss also led the team with 45 RBIs in 2011 and will attempt to avoid a sophomore slump in 2012.

    What can happen and we dont know whether it will or not is that he can decide that he has to do too much, said Texas head coach Augie Garrido. If he does that, then hell have a down year. If he comes out and just keeps baseball simple and continues to have fun with it, which is kind of his personality, hell be fine. Hell make important contributions again to the team, of-fensively and defensively.

    Last year, Weiss was part of a lineup that included three fresh-men. Now those sophomores dont have as many upperclassmen to lean on, especially with senior starting

    pitcher Sam Stafford and junior center fielder Cohl Walla lost for the season due to injuries. Only two upperclassmen position players will likely be in the opening day lineup with junior Hoby Milner the only upperclassman in this weekends rotation. This leaves guys like Weiss to step up into leadership roles.

    Sometimes I can be vocal. I like to lead by example, Weiss said. [Sophomore catcher Jacob] Felts and [sophomore right fielder] Mark [Payton] are huge leaders on this team. [Junior outfielder] Jonathan Walsh is another one of those and I know [senior second baseman] Jor-dan Etier is an unbelievable leader on this team.

    The Longhorns arent returning any of the their three starting pitch-ers from 2011 with the departures of Taylor Jungmann, who received a $2.5 million signing bonus from the Milwaukee Brewers, Cole Green, who got drafted in the ninth round by the Cincinnati Reds and Stafford, who is having shoulder surgery soon. Those three players helped

    Texas compile a 2.45 ERA, the second best in the country while it checked in at No. 224 in the nation with a .269 team batting average. This season, it might be up to Weiss and the offense to shoulder more of the load.

    I think this offense is headed for a great year, Weiss said. Weve been hitting the ball so well right now. Supporting this pitching staff, which

    is a great pitching staff, will only lead to good things.

    If Weiss has his way, one of those good things will be getting back to Omaha.

    Theres always the expectation to go to Omaha for the Texas Long-horns, Weiss said. We want to go to Omaha again this year and were all going to give it our best effort to get back there.

    corey leamon | Daily Texan File Photo

    Sophomore catcher Jacob Felts, a .215 hitter last season, was described by fellow sophomore Nathan Thornhill as the quarterback of the team.

    Sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss, flinging the ball across the diamond, did plenty of damage at the plate last season, too. Weiss, the only of three Texas hitters that batted better than .300 in 2011, led the Longhorns with a .348 batting average and 45 RBI.

    corey leamon Daily Texan file photo

    by christian coronaDaily Texan Staff

  • 77Friday, February 17, 2012

    Sophomore third baseman Erich Weiss, flinging the ball across the diamond, did plenty of damage at the plate last season, too. Weiss, the only of three Texas hitters that batted better than .300 in 2011, led the Longhorns with a .348 batting average and 45 RBI.

    corey leamon Daily Texan file photo

    Editors note: The Daily Texan sat down with Texas head baseball coach Augie Garrido to discuss the upcoming 2012 season.

    The Daily Texan: How will your team adjust to losing Sam Stafford and Cohl Walla for the year?

    Augie Garrido: We have two of our star players from last year that will be out for the season. This is always a big blow for any team, but less of a blow for college play-ers than for professional players because professional players are so experienced at what theyre doing you can predict pretty well their performances for the year. Its not like that with the college player. The college player will have a very poor year and a great year, or a great year and a very poor year. The lack of experience with either being highly successful or failing miserably affects the next opportunity they have. With that said, we are ex-tremely disappointed in the fact that weve lost a high number of quality innings from Sam Stafford and weve lost a leadoff hitter and center fielder that is one of the best in the conference. So one year a long time ago at Fullerton, we had seven outfielders and I told the seventh outfielder after the first semester that he should transfer because he was a good ballplayer but we had six guys ahead of him and he wasnt going to play. Injuries, as always, came into the picture and he ended being the starting right fielder as conference started. At the end of the conference, he was the MVP of the conference not of the team of the conference. So Ive given up on being able to predict the perfor-mances of college baseball players.

    DT: Nathan Thornhill mostly came out of the bull pen last season. What did you see from him that made you decide to make him the Friday starter?

    Garrido: How he came out of the bull pen last year. He has a leader-ship personality. He has the courage and confidence to take the risk to throw a fastball over the plate on the first pitch after the opposing teams hit a home run. And hes done all of that over and over again. So thats what were looking for from

    all of our pitchers. They really cant strike everybody out. They really cant control the hitter. But they can make quality pitches no matter what happens to them on the pitch before the next one. And he does that.

    DT: What do you expect from Hoby Milner this year?

    Garrido: [Thornhill and Milner] very much alike. Ones right-handed and ones left-handed. They pretty much have the same velocity on their fastball, the same style of pitching using the fastball on both sides of the plate, a bit of a breaking ball and use of a changeup.

    DT: Are Hoby and Thornhill going to be 1A and 1B this year?

    Garrido: You dont know for the whole year. We play the whole season week by week. We take one week at a time for every player. For the position players, its usually four games. For the pitchers its usually one game. In this game, its a game

    of falls and recoveries. So were not concerned with one fall unless its connected to attitude where they quit. Then were putting them back on the mound. With the lineup were not going to have somebody have a bad game and then jerk them out of the lineup. We take the season week by week, evaluate the performances at the end of the week and start over a brand new season. Thats the way we keep our stats, too. We start over every week. Its too long of a season to try to predict or set numerical goals like winning 20 games or whatever it is. Go play. Have fun with it.

    DT: After losing upperclassmen like Sam Stafford and Cohl Walla, do you see some of the sophomores that had big seasons as freshmen stepping up into leadership roles this season?

    Garrido: We had five freshmen players that were key players on last years team. All of them have very fine leadership qualities. So they are stepping into that role and doing a

    good job with that.

    DT: Whats it like having Jordan Etier back on the team after he was kicked off the team for his arrest for marijuana possession and evading arrest?

    Garrido: Baseball-wise, hes always been fine. On the field, hes always hustled. Hes always tried his hardest. Hes always done his best. Hes always been an inspiration to his teammates. Its been some of his choices off the field that led that. I think that he has been given an op-portunity and he recognizes that its a life-changing opportunity. He was facing not being able to graduate from the University of Texas and not being able to play on the base-ball team both very important things. Now, hes been given that opportunity back. Now he has a different view and not taking very many things for granted. Hes mak-ing better choices off the field. Hes in a structured environment in his home life now. Hes more detailed

    and is making better choices in what he does and how he does it and when he does it. I think hes very excited about the opportunity to control his own life.

    DT: What do you think your chances are to get back to Omaha and play in the College World Series again this season?

    Garrido: Its way too early to tell. The opportunity to go there is reasonable and realistic for us to know that we can. Its just how consistently we can play a game of baseball. How consistently can we play an inning of baseball? How well can we play catch? How often?

    DT: Does Duke have half as good of a baseball team as it does a basketball team?

    Garrido: No, they have more guys. If they come out here and play basketball, were going to beat them. Theyll only have five guys on the field.

    Texas skipper talks injuries, expectations for 2012

    by christian coronaand chris hummerDaily Texan Staff

    elisabeth dillon | Daily Texan Staff

    Texas head baseball coach Augie Garrido looks on during a practice as the Longhorns prepare for their season opener today against Duke. Garrido, the NCAA Division I all-time leader in wins, has led Texas to the College Worlds seven times in his 15 seasons.

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