Baseball

Texas 5 Texas State 1: Hansen’s 8.1 inning effort guides Texas to 14th straight win

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Texas lefty Pete Hansen’s 92nd pitch of the game was skied to right field by Texas State pinch hitter Cameron Gibbons, and Douglas Hodo had plenty of time to settle under it for the first out of the top of the ninth inning. It was the 17th-straight Bobcat retired by Hansen, and he prepared to face the top of the Texas State order for the fourth time needing two more outs to finish a complete game three-hitter.

Before he could pitch to Chase Evans, who recorded one of the three singles surrendered by Hansen on Tuesday night, Texas head coach David Pierce was on his way to the mound. As he stepped onto the dirt in the middle of the Bobcat Ballpark diamond, he and Hansen conversed and exchanged grins. Whatever was said between the two did not alter Pierce’s decision, and Pierce called Aaron Nixon in from the bullpen.

Hansen walked to the first-base dugout after a career-high 8.1 innings. He allowed three hits, struck out four, and issued zero walks. The only Texas State run of the game was scored in the top of the first. No other Bobcat reached second base in the remaining eight innings of Texas’ 5-1 win.

Nixon recorded the final two outs via two grounders to the right side, with Zach Zubia running to the bag following a diving stop to cement Texas’ 14th consecutive victory.

Hansen’s fourth win of the season continued a trend of the redshirt freshman working deeper and deeper into ballgames. His 5.1 inning March 30 start in defeat at Texas A&M surpassed his 2020 season-long outing by one-third of an inning. He topped it one week later with a 6.0 inning performance in Texas’ blowout of Stephen F. Austin.

On April 14, Hansen completed the seventh inning for the first time in his collegiate career and even faced two batters in the eighth versus Nevada in a no decision. Those were all topped by his performance in San Marcos.

Bobcat hitters managed three 3-ball counts the entire game on Tuesday and were 0-for-3 in those at bats. The only TXST run was a result of a first-inning sacrifice fly by Justin Thompson following two one-out singles.

Texas tied the game 1-1 in the third with an RBI single by Mitchell Daly, then took the lead when Zach Zubia’s scored Daly from first. Zubia added his second RBI of the night in the seventh when his single drove in Trey Faltine.

Silas Ardoin brought home the fourth and fifth Texas runs. Two batters after Zubia’s single, Ardoin’s sacrifice fly scored Daly to make it 4-1, and his ninth-inning single scored Daly once again for an insurance run.

Ivan Melendez extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Mike Antico stole a base in the third inning, his 20th stolen base of the season.

The Longhorn defense was a valuable part of Texas’ winning effort. Murphy Stehly, starting in place of Cam Williams at third, recorded three assists in the second inning. He made a bare-handed play for out No. 1 to squash a bunt single attempt, retired Williams on a routine play, and knocked down a hard-hit ball from Tucker Redden with time to throw out the TXST catcher.

Faltine made several difficult plays throughout the course of the game, including a sliding stop and throw to first to end the bottom of the eighth. The Texas outfield collected fly balls on the warning track on several occasions.

Texas took its fifth consecutive midweek contest and won away from UFCU Disch-Falk Field for the first time since a sweep-clinching 11-2 blowout at Kansas on April 3.

The Longhorns’ return to Big 12 play Friday against No. 24 Oklahoma State in Stillwater.