The renovation project forced the Longhorns to play their first eight games, plus their postseason games, at Dell Diamond in Round Rock last year. Texas coach Augie Garrido loves the new look.
“I for one was in favor of tearing it down and starting over, but I would have been wrong. The way it’s turned out, it’s a brand-new stadium with sight lines that are really terrific for all of the fans. Everything is updated. It’s not a remodel, it’s a complete redo.
“The fact that they saved the bowl and the roof and the outfield fences, it really blends the new with the old.”
One of the big stories this season is the amount of new Longhorns. There are 20 players new to the Texas roster.
“I know the team by name, but I don’t know the team by Division I competition, and that will take through February and March to learn because of all the new guys,” Garrido said.
Many of the new players are expected to contribute right away, especially in the infield. Brandon Belt, who transferred from San Jacinto College, will start at first base. Michael Torres and David Hernandez will play second base and shortstop, respectively.
While the Longhorns have been hard on themselves after losing in the NCAA regionals the past two years, they’re also hearing a lot about it from former Longhorns.
“Curtis Thigpen, Huston Street, Taylor Teagarden and Seth Johnston are out here every day working out, and they’re giving the players all kind of heck,” Garrido said. “They keep asking, ‘What are you doing here?’ So, I think (the current players) are tired of hearing about how they dropped the ball.”
Does the criticism bother the current UT players?
“I mean, it’s all in good fun,” third baseman Travis Tucker said. “They give it to us pretty good. We hear it from them every day.”
So what’s the worst thing they say?
“I don’t think that it’s acceptable to say for print,” Tucker said.
Hard work for hurlers
With the new condensed NCAA schedule, the Longhorns will play the same amount of games in a shorter time period. That means more work for the pitchers.
The Longhorns got through most of last season using six pitchers. That won’t fly this year.
“I think we’re going to have to use around 13 pitchers a week,” said pitching coach Skip Jo
Photo Provided by Donald J Boyles