After LSU sweep, Texas coach calls his scheduling ‘insanity’
David Pierce is always up for a challenge. That said, even he admits he might have overdone it lining up Texas’ early baseball schedule.
The Longhorns (10-3) made the biggest move up in the major polls Monday, climbing as high as No. 7 after an attention-grabbing three-game sweep of then-No. 2 LSU in Austin.
Now look what’s coming, with the opponent’s highest ranking: four games at No. 4 Stanford; three at home against No. 10 Texas Tech; and two midweek home games against No. 15 Arkansas ahead of three on the road against No. 23 TCU.
Pierce, laughing, called his ambitious scheduling “insanity.”
“Definitely my fault that it’s a little bit heavy and too many at one time,” Pierce said, “but I just hate to turn down good competition and having the ability to test your kids.”
The schedule was made before Pierce knew he would be without shortstop David Hamilton, who is out for the season because of an Achilles’ tendon tear, and that DJ Petrinsky wouldn’t be available to catch because of an arm ailment. Freshman Bryce Reagan has replaced Hamilton at shortstop and is a work in progress, Pierce said, and fifth-year senior Michael McCann has taken over for Petrinsky behind the plate and excelled.
Pierce is most excited about his freshman pitchers. Coy Cobb (0-1, 3.60 ERA) has locked down the No. 3 starter’s job. Mason Bryant has struck out 11 in five innings. Ty Madden has allowed one earned run in 8 2-3 innings, and he pitched two shutout innings Sunday to earn the win and finish the sweep of LSU. Redshirt freshman Cole Quintanilla, with one earned run against him in 11 2-3 innings, worked three innings for the save Friday.
The Longhorns came into the season as defending Big 12 champions and off their first College World Series appearance since 2014. They were picked fourth in the Big 12 and sat on the lower end of the ratings.
Pierce said he doesn’t think his team was overlooked.
“We have a lot of unknowns still and then we had two major injuries,” he said. “I think we’re earning what the public opinion is, and I don’t get too caught up in actual rankings right now because they don’t matter yet. I do like playing good teams and trying to create an RPI schedule and building our resume. I think that’s important.”
IN THE POLLS
Vanderbilt (9-2), UCLA (9-2) and North Carolina (11-1) are the top three teams in the rankings by D1Baseball.com and Baseball America. Florida State (10-0) received a six-rung promotion to No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll and is followed by Vanderbilt and Oregon State (10-1).
THAT’S ONE WAY TO DO IT
West Virginia starter Kade Strowd was a bit unconventional in his team’s 2-0 road win over Oregon State on Sunday. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but he walked nine and came away unscathed because of five double plays.
DEVILS ON A ROLL
Arizona State swept three games from Michigan State and has won 11 straight for its best start since going 24-0 in 2010. The Sun Devils, Florida State, Tennessee (12-0) and North Carolina State (11-0) are the only remaining unbeatens.
Duke ace Graeme Stinson and two relievers combined for the program’s first no-hitter since 1955 in a 14-0 win over Penn State on Friday. Stinson worked the first five innings, Matt Dockman pitched the sixth and Jack Carey finished. The three combined for 11 strikeouts and two walks.
A GRAND OL’ TIME
Florida became the ninth Division I team and first from the Southeastern Conference to hit three grand slams in a game. The Gators did it Sunday in 28-5 win over Winthrop. The slams were by freshmen Kendrick Calilao and Jacob Young and junior Santino Miozzi. Southeast Missouri State was the most recent team to hit three slams in a game, doing it against NAIA Freed-Hardeman in 2007. Florida finished the week with four slams. Kirby McMullen hit one in a loss to Central Florida on Wednesday.