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.
"I will know when travel becomes too difficult, and I think I'll know when I'm impatient and not responding properly to the players," Garrido said. "When that happens, or if it happens, I don't think I'll have to be reminded that I'm not behaving or teaching as well as someone else could if they were put into this place."
A look around the country:
HAMMERING HORNETS: Delaware State (18-11) totaled 44 hits in a sweep of Coppin State, raising its nation-leading batting average to .342. The Hornets have three players over .400 — DJ Miller (.438), Mike Alexander (.435) and David Kimbrough (.411).
TECH ALMOST WRECKS FSU: Georgia Tech (23-14, 10-8 ACC) earned its first series win against Florida State since 2009. The Seminoles won Sunday to end Tech's eight-game win streak and hand the Yellow Jackets their first home loss since March 25. The Seminoles (27-8, 14-4) still lead the Atlantic Division by 2 1/2 games.
SEC LEADERS: Alabama (24-11, 10-5) leads the SEC West by a game after winning two of three against Auburn. Florida (23-13, 9-6) is a game ahead of South Carolina in the SEC East after rallying for four runs in the eighth inning for a 6-5 win over the Gamecocks Sunday.
STRUGGLING K-STATE: Big 12 favorite Kansas State (20-16, 2-7) is in last place after getting swept by Texas Tech for the first time since 2004. The Wildcats, who won the conference last year, have lost five straight. Their pitching staff has a league-worst 5.45 ERA in conference games.
CAMEL CLOSER: Campbell closer Ryan Thompson continues to lead the nation in ERA at 0.17. The 2013 Big South pitcher of the year has gone 29 straight innings without allowing an earned run. The only one he's given up in 51 2-3 innings came March 15.
ATTENDANCE RECORD: Mississippi State set a three-game NCAA attendance record for an on-campus stadium when 39,181 turned out for the series against Mississippi. Ole Miss won two of three.