The schedule this year was put together with the thought of getting these younger pitchers some good quality innings in before the conference starts. The first series of importance will be opening day. Texas starts the year with a home date with the VCU Rams, then they go to Houston for the Houston College Classic for games against Tennessee, Rice and Houston, followed up with a home series against a struggling Stanford team. The BIG 12 conference season starts with a home series with an improving Kansas Jayhawk team on March 14. Then mark your calendar for April 11; this will be a HUGE series with the Missouri Tigers in Columbia for the BIG 12 lead. Texas finishes the season with two of the better teams in the league with Baylor and A&M.
Virginia Commonwealth comes in on opening day February 22 after having a very good season. VCU finished in a 4-way tie for the regular season then went on to win the Colonial Athletics Conference tournament. This earned the fourth seed for the Myrtle Beach regional in which they lost to Coastal Carolina and to St John to end their season. VCU returns two of their front line pitchers that helped them to 2007 CAA tournament championship. Philip Deane is 6’6” and was 3-5 in 16 appearances with an era 4.02 in 65 innings pitched. The other pitcher is Cody Eppley, he started in 16 games with an era of 4.66 and was 7-5 in those contest. Cody is also a big kid at 6’5” and has very good command of his pitches. He had 68 strikeouts and only 13 walks. This will be a great series for introducing the Newly refurbish Disch and to get to know this year team.
When you have a Stanford baseball team coached by Mark Marquess, you will have a very well discipline team. With Stanford coming in for the weekend series March 7-9 look for this Stanford team try to get back on track. This could be a key early season match up for the younger pitching members for this Horns team.
Texas plays Rice again this year in three separate single games that will go along way in determine the success of each school. The first one will be in the Houston College Classic; the next one will be on March 11 at Reckling Park in an evening contest; the last one will be back at the Disch on April 1st. Rice just keeps reloading on offense and on the mound and this team will be back in OMAHA.
The opening conference series with Kansas will be a key series in that we will know if Riley Boening and Kenn Kasparek are ready to go for the pitching staff. In addition, this Ritch Price led team will be looking to continue the road of success that he has started. Kansas missed the regionals last year after having a very successful ’06 campaign in which they had 43 wins that year.
The big series of the year will be the one that the Horns will travel to Columbia to take on vastly improve Missouri team. Last year Missouri finish second to Texas in the regular season and they ended up drawing a Louisville team in the regional that was on a mission. With Rick Zagone and preseason All-American Aaron Crow returning to lead your pitching staff this will be a successful year for the Tigers. This series between two very talented team will go a along way in determine seeding come June time.
By the time Texas get to the Baylor series on May 2nd, Augie will know whom he can count on in the batters box and on the pitchers mound. Baylor; last year was a very young team but this year Coach Smith will not accept that from anybody. Look for Baylor to make a serious run at hosting a regional this year.
Texas closes out the regular series with Texas A&M on May 16-18. Rob Childress and The Aggies return 17 letter winners, six position starters and two starting pitchers from a 2007 squad that went 48-19 and claimed the Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City and the NCAA College Station Regional crown. This team will be led by preseason All-American 2nd baseman Blake Stouffer. Texas will be looking at closing out the regular season out on top of the Big 12 with a series win versus the Aggies.
Article written and photos provided by Donald J Boyles.