NORMAN — Augie Garrido is back to his winning ways after a 2013 season that had lots of Texas baseball fans wishing he would call it a career.
The Big 12-leading Longhorns (29-8, 9-3 Big 12) have won 14 of 16 after sweeping Oklahoma on the road, already have two more wins than all of last season and are a consensus top-10 team.
The 75-year-old Garrido, whose 1,901 wins are an all-division record, said Monday he has no plans to leave coaching any time soon. He said he understands why the heat was on him last year — the Longhorns were last in their conference for the first time since 1956 — and that Texas must win, and maybe win big, this season.
“That’s where the bar has been set for a long time here,” Garrido said Monday. “I didn’t put that here. The watermark was put here by the three coaches before me. You just have to keep filling it up. You have to keep pouring in the water.”
Garrido said the key to the turnaround has been a recruiting class ranked No. 2 by Baseball America that had 10 of 11 members show up in Austin instead of go pro. Catcher Tres Barrera (.294), third baseman Zane Gurwitz (.290) and first baseman Kacy Clemens (.252) are freshmen in the everyday lineup.
Senior center fielder Mark Payton, batting a team-leading .350, is having another big year, and weekend starters Parker French (4-2), Dillon Peters (5-2) and Nathan Thornhill (6-0) lead a pitching staff that has a 2.12 ERA.
The Longhorns have key back-to-back series at home against third-place TCU this weekend and second-place Oklahoma State the next. After missing the NCAA tournament the past two years, Texas appears well-positioned to make a deep postseason run.
Garrido, who’s under contract through 2015, said he has no health problems and believes he still relates well with players. Most of all, he said, he enjoys his job.