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COLLEGE STATION — Texas traveled to College Station to renew the rivalry between the No. 5 Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies. UT brought its bats to Olsen Field, but the combined pitching effort of A&M freshman Nathan Dettmer and senior Chandler Jozwiak made it seem like they were not packed on the trip to Aggieland.
The A&M duo combined to strike out nine and allowed four hits and two walks. UT’s pitching staff almost matched their effort, save for two mistake pitches to Aggie right fielder Logan Britt and catcher Mikey Hoehner. Their solo shots were all the Aggie hurlers needed to take the mid-week matchup, 2-0. With the loss, Texas has not won a game in College Station since 2011.
“I thought we were a little passive early to be honest with you offensively, but both teams pitched and played great defense,” Texas head coach David Pierce said following the game. “They got two hits that they drove out of the ballpark, and that was the difference.”
Though Texas’ pitching was impressive for most of Tuesday night, they were outclassed by Dettmer. A San Antonio native, Dettmer delivered the best and longest performance of his young career. He struck out six in 7.0 innings, allowing three hits and walking two on 104 pitches.
Pirece said he thought his team’s approach at the plate was “fine,” but something seemed off about his group before the game even started.
“I just felt like maybe we were a little tense,” Pierce said. “It seemed like that in batting practice. It just seemed like we weren’t letting the barrel fly. Maybe we were tired, I’m not sure, but we’ve got to have a little more aggressive at bats in my opinion.”
Fatigue, apprehension, whatever it was, it was no excuse in the mind of the Texas skipper for the performance at the plate.
“We got beat,” Pierce said. “We’re not happy, and there’s no moral victory here.”
Texas had runners 90 feet from home plate in each of the first two innings. Eric Kennedy advanced to third base in the first after reaching via a base on balls. He was stranded when Mike Antico grounded out to end the opening half-inning threat. Zach Zubia met a similar fate in the top of the second, as Trey Faltine could not bring him home and flew to center for the third out of the inning.
From that point on, the Longhorns managed two more singles. They did not have another runner reach third base after the second inning. No Longhorn reached scoring position after the fifth. When a UT player was even in scoring position, Texas hitters were 0-for-5 at the plate.
A&M put the first run of the game on the board in the bottom of the fifth. With a 1-0 count, Britt crushed a ball off Hansen deep down the left field line. The only question was whether it would stay inside the foul pole, and third base umpire Ronnie Teague emphatically ruled it a fair ball giving the Aggies a 1-0 lead.
The Olson Field crowd came to life after Britt’s solo shot, especially after the next two Aggies reached base. Hansen then settled in for a strikeout against the Aggies’ nine-hole hitter to quiet the rambunctious 3087 in attendance.
Hansen returned to the mound in the bottom of the fifth with his pitch count at 53. He only needed nine pitches to end the Aggie half-inning and returned for the sixth for another crack at the heart of the A&M order.
In the sixth, Hansen recorded one out before being replaced by Tanner Witt. The 5.1 innings from Hansen stands as his longest career outing. He allowed four hits and one earned run plus two walks with three strikeouts.
“I don’t know if he touched 90, but I know he hit a lot of 89s and the slider was really good,” Pierce said. “He’s got to still get better work in the arm side, but I thought it gave us a chance to win. He went out and pitched well.”
During his outing, Hansen’s teammates were not able to pick him up at the plate. The top three hitters in the Texas lineup combined to go 0-for-11 with six strikeouts. Silas Ardoin was the only Longhorn with multiple hits, with his second arriving with two outs in the top of the ninth.
Witt ended the sixth but allowed the second solo home run of the game to Hoehner to lead off the seventh. His blast traveled just left of the video board in left to make it 2-0. Aside from the home run, Witt turned in a good outing and struck out five in his 2.0 innings. Cole Quintanilla struck out the final two batters of the A&M eighth inning in relief.
“Tanner pitched well and Cole picked him up,” Pierce said. “It’s just unfortunate we didn’t create a little bit more offense and really just put a little pressure on them. We just never had the opportunity.”
Texas run of games with rivals ends with Tuesday’s loss, but Big 12 play continues this weekend in Lawrence. The last time Texas visited KU in 2019, the Jayhawks swept the series.
The series will be aired on ESPN+, with first pitch Friday night at 6 p.m.