No. 25 Texas winds down last Big 12 regular season with home series vs. Kansas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas head baseball coach David Pierce said while he’s comfortable with the resumé his ballclub has put together for the NCAA tournament, there’s still work to be done.

The No. 25 Longhorns will play their final Big 12 Conference series against the Kansas Jayhawks beginning Thursday and are currently tied for third with West Virginia at 17-10. The Jayhawks are two games behind the Longhorns, but with at least a series win, Texas could improve their standing to second and not have to play in the first round of the Big 12 tournament Tuesday in Arlington.

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“We just have to go out and play and not worry about it,” Pierce said. “We’ve gotta play our best baseball.”

Oklahoma State has a bit of an advantage from a winning percentage standpoint over the field for the No. 2 spot. The Cowboys’ final game against Texas Tech was scrubbed due to inclement weather and won’t be made up, so they are 17-9 with Texas and West Virginia technically a half-game behind. Oklahoma State ends the season with a 3-game series at Houston who is 7-19 in conference play.

With five consecutive series wins, Texas has improved its spot in the RPI significantly. Once considered a potential low 3-seed for a regional by most outlets, the Longhorns have rallied to move their rating from the mid-50s to No. 44 with the bulk of the projections now having them as a No. 2 seed in a regional. It’s still lower than it probably should be thanks to bad losses against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (RPI 221) and UT-Rio Grande Valley (RPI 206), but those were midweek single games and aren’t necessarily indicative of what the Longhorns can do throughout an entire series. They’ve proven they can play with the best the Big 12 has to offer.

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Longhorns sophomore Jared Thomas, who leads the Big 12 with 78 hits, said the team pays attention to the rankings and numbers as the regular season comes to a close and they use it as motivation.

“We do a good job at looking at the big picture,” he said. “We’re trying out best to do what we can to put ourselves in the best position possible.”

Thomas said the team had five championship goals at the beginning of the year, and with one already in the rearview mirror with Oklahoma winning the Big 12 regular season title, there’s still four in front of them — the Big 12 tournament, regional tournament, super regional series and the Men’s College World Series.

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Pierce said as long as the Longhorns do what they need to do, the big picture will take care of itself. He’s confident the team has done enough to get a decent draw in the postseason, but it’s best to win and make decisions by other people easier to make.

“We don’t take anybody for granted because we’re not good enough to do that,” Pierce said. “We have to go play Game 1 the best we can and move on from there.”

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