‘Chicks dig the long ball, right?’: Longhorns face No. 14 Cowboys while on homer hot streak

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With all the ups and downs Texas has faced this season, they’re still in prime position to make a run at the Big 12 baseball regular season championship, and the home stretch begins Friday.

Texas hosts No. 14 Oklahoma State for a pivotal 3-game series with the Longhorns a game behind the Cowboys and West Virginia for second place in the conference. A series win would certainly give Texas a much-needed boost to their spot in the RPI and NCAA tournament resume, and head coach David Pierce said his club has to approach it with some urgency.

MORE THAN THE SCORE: Stay up to date on sports stories like these, and sign up for our More than the Score sports newsletter at

“Our biggest message is that our backs have been against the wall for a while,” he said. “We’ve dealt with a lot of adversity and I feel like we’re playing really good baseball right now. We have to play it like that, every pitch and have that kind of focus.”

Something Texas has had trouble with all season has been the opening game of a series. They’ve won a Big 12 series opener just once all season — a 22-8 romp over Texas Tech in Lubbock — and have still lost just one conference series. The lone series loss came to last-place BYU at home April 4-6. It’s certainly a head-scratcher to Pierce, but moving forward, he said the Longhorns have to be locked in from the jump.

“All our goals are still in front of us,” he said. “We have three series to go with three RPI teams that can help. We’ve gotta play one game at a time, and today, we have to get better. Every day, we’re going to get a little bit better.”

Rangers’ Max Scherzer scratched from 2nd scheduled rehab start because of sore thumb

Hitting the ball out of the park doesn’t hurt, either. The Longhorns are one of the most prolific home run hitting teams in Division I, smacking 95 homers to rank No. 7 in the country. During the past week, Texas has belted 20 home runs including two games in which they’ve tied the program record with six homers in a game. The Longhorns hit six home runs April 23 against UT Arlington and did it again four days later against Oklahoma. In Tuesday’s 16-9 win over Sam Houston State, the Longhorns belted five longballs including two grand slams.

Needless to say, that’s something Pierce could get used to.

“Chicks dig the long ball, right?” he joked with reporters, quoting the famous Nike commercial in which pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine transform into sluggers to impress Heather Locklear. “You can score multiple ways, but the 3-run homer is exciting. For me, it’s watching the extension of the lineup. Guys are passing the bat and having good at-bats, and then we’re in a good spot for one swing that can change the game.”

Lake Travis claims boys golf state championship

A couple of guys capable of delivering those types of swings are shortstop Jalin Flores and outfielder Max Belyeu. Both have 16 homers so far, but there’s a little internal competition going on to see who can put more over the fence.

“Of course we’re smack-talking each other. We’re co-kings right now,” Flores said. “It’s just a fun environment being with him. Once a guy gets rolling, we’re all going to get it rolling.”

Belyeu said there aren’t any stakes to who becomes the Texas home run king for now, but there could be.

“I’m sure we’ll find some as it continues,” he said with a smile.

The series begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday and will be broadcast on Longhorn Network.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KXAN Austin.