ARLINGTON, Texas (KXAN) — Texas Longhorns ace pitcher Pete Hansen twirled a gem for 7 2/3 innings to help secure a 4-0 shutout over Oklahoma State in the opening round of the Big 12 Conference tournament Wednesday at Globe Life Field.
The crafty left-handed Hansen carved up Cowboy hitters for most of the game, allowing just three hits while striking out 12 with two walks. He recorded two outs in the eighth inning before coming out having thrown 122 pitches, 76 for strikes. Tristan Stevens needed just one pitch in to induce a fielder’s choice ground ball to get out of the inning, and then shut the game down in the ninth.
“I felt like I was just warming up honestly,” said Hansen about pitching that late into the game. “I was pretty bummed when I saw [Head Coach David Pierce] coming out there. It’s not something I really tried to focus on or think about is pitch count, just kind of how my body feels.”
The Longhorns got a small bit of redemption with the victory against a Cowboys team that swept them in Austin during the regular season.
“It was just an outstanding ballgame for our team,” said Texas Head Coach David Pierce. “We did a great job of attacking the strike zone. Pete was outstanding today.”
Having a historic season at the plate, the Longhorns had to employ small ball to get on the board initially. After Trey Faltine singled to start the sixth inning, Douglas Hodo III laid down a bunt that Oklahoma State pitcher Victor Mederos threw down the right-field line. Faltine came all the way around from first to score on the error for the opening marker of the game.
The Texas bats came to life somewhat after that with a pair of solo home runs from Austin Todd and Silas Ardoin. Todd deposited a hanging breaking ball from Mederos deep over the left-field wall in the seventh for his sixth homer of the year to make it 2-0 Longhorns.
“I just tried to see ball, get a good pitch and put a good swing on it,” said former Round Rock star Austin Todd. “Not trying to do too much with it. And I think honestly, that’s probably why my power has showed up a little bit. Just trying to make contact and hit it hard.”
Faltine drove in a run on a single later in the frame to extend the lead to 3-0, and then catcher Silas Ardoin continued his tremendous offensive year with his 11th home run of the season, a solo shot that snuck over the left-field fence in the ninth.
The homers were Todd’s and Ardoin’s only hits of the game, but Faltine came through big with three hits on the day for Texas. Big 12 player of the year Ivan Melendez was kept quiet, reaching base one time on an intentional walk in the sixth inning. Melendez, the country’s home run leader with 28, was recently named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s best amateur baseball player, and the Dick Howser Trophy, the award for the national college baseball player of the year.
Texas collected nine hits, seven off Mederos in six innings. Outside of Mederos’s throwing error that allowed the first run to score, the Cowboys played excellent defense with a pair of nicely-turned double plays started by third baseman Nolan McLean to get out of jams.
Hansen is now 10-1 on the season and Stevens, who started the year in the starting rotation, picked up his second save of the year. It’s the sixth consecutive win for Texas.
“No doubt they kind of had my number last game and obviously, for me it was ‘I get another crack at these guys,'” said Hansen about facing Oklahoma State again. “I don’t think there was any fear going into it. It was more just like, this is another opportunity to attack them.”
With the win, the Longhorns advance in the winner’s bracket and will face TCU at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Horned Frogs are the tournament’s No. 1 seed and beat the Bears 4-2 in the first round.