While some of us were getting ready to go to bed, the Texas Longhorns were busy wrapping up their ninth win of the season on Tuesday evening at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Still undefeated, this time the Longhorns came from behind after a four-run fifth inning vaulted Texas ahead of Sam Houston State for good to win the game 4-1.
The game featured an impressive starting performance from freshman left-hander Pete Hansen, who went five innings and surrendered one unearned run and allowed just three base runners — all in the first inning — while striking out six.
Sam Houston State jumped out ahead of Texas in the first inning. After a Duke Ellis error in center field allowed a runner on second base, Hansen allowed a weak single and a walk to quickly load the bases with just one out. Hansen escaped the log jam of an inning by inducing a shallow pop up to center field, and allowed a single through the left to score one Bearkats runner, but a second Sam Houston State player was thrown out at home for the third out of the inning.
From there on out, it was smooth sailing for Hansen in the first start of his career — he retired the next 12 batters he faced, striking out six of them.
His start kept the Longhorns in this game until the hitters finally made a dent in the scoreboard in the fifth inning. After back-to-back singles from Eric Kennedy and Silas Ardoin put runners on the corners, Douglas Hodo III walked to load bases. Murphy Stehly then grounded into a fielders’ choice, scoring Kennedy from third and tying up the game at one a piece and putting runners once again at the corners for Texas. The next batter up, Austin Todd, kept the bats rolling with an RBI single to put the Longhorns ahead 2-1.
Texas got its final two runs of the game a few batters later. With two outs, Zach Zubia continued his early season habit of driving runners in. With the crowd chanting his name, Zubia laced a two-RBI single to right that added to his team-leading RBI count, giving him 13 on the season. It also gave the Longhorns the 4-1 lead, which would ultimately be the final score.
Coach David Pierce called on Kolby Kubichek to come on in relief of Hansen. Kubichek looked shaky at times, but kept runs off the board in 2.1 innings of work, allowing two hits and two walks, but striking out two. Pierce opted for another true freshman, Andre Duplantier, to come in for Kubichek in the eight inning and finish the game — and that he did.
Duplantier, in his 1.2 innings, allowed two hits, but walked none and struck out three. He ran into a sticky situation in the bottom of the ninth, allowing two runners into scoring position and the game-tying run to reach the batter’s box. But Pierce trusted the freshman with the moment, and Duplantier rewarded that decision by escaping the ninth unscathed, earning the save and netting the Longhorns win by a final score of 4-1.
Hansen earned his first career victory in the win, and Duplantier his first career save. After sweeping Rice and the six-game homestand, the Longhorns will head back to Houston to face their first true tough test of the season at the Shriners’ Hospital College Classic at Minute Maid Field. In this three game tournament, the Longhorns will face three SEC teams — No. 11 LSU, Missouri, and No. 6 Arkansas.
We’ll learn a lot more about this team in Houston this weekend once they play premier opponents. But one thing’s for sure — it sure is fun being 9-0.
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