Pete Hansen might not have come to the Forty Acres if not for Twitter.
“Texas has always been my dream school ever since I was a little kid,” freshman pitcher Hansen said. “I was getting recruited by a lot of other big schools, and I knew they didn’t recruit out of state.”
But a friend’s dad took to Twitter and managed to make contact with Carli Todd, Texas’ director of player development.
“So I was trying to get the word out,” Hansen said. “But he did it for me, (direct messaged) our Twitter, and Carli noticed and told coaches about it. Now, here we are.”
Texas head coach David Pierce is quick to point out that he saw Hansen pitch before any tips from Twitter but that the direct messages paid off for the 9–0 Longhorns in their 4-1 win Tuesday over 5–2 Sam Houston State when Hansen picked up his first win of the season after allowing only one unearned run and two hits in five innings.
In the left-hander’s first start in burnt orange, he quickly ran into trouble just four batters in after a dropped fly ball from senior center fielder Duke Ellis.
But with the bases loaded and two outs, the defense flipped the script and got a crucial out at the plate when sophomore left fielder Eric Kennedy threw out a runner at home who was trying to score from second on a single.
“It really wasn’t a great throw,” Kennedy said. “It was kind of a weak arm. Luckily, the runner was pretty slow, so I got him.”
After that, Hansen settled in and pitched four consecutive seamless innings. But his first career win was still in doubt until a big, four-run rally by the Longhorn lineup in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“I just stuck to my routine,” Hansen said. “I definitely felt like I controlled my slider. It’s been my go-to pitch all year. I just knew I had to keep trusting my pitches and hitters would get themselves out.”
The Longhorns didn’t hit a single extra-base hit but walked seven times and hit seven singles. It took five of those singles and one walk in the fifth inning to score all four runs. But those were the only four runs the bullpen needed to close the game.
Freshman pitcher Andre Duplantier II also had a first of his own, earning his first career save in his longest outing of the season. He also allowed his first hit of his collegiate career in the ninth inning, but worked around runners at second and third to close the game.
Texas improved to 9–0 and stayed undefeated against arguably the best opponent the Longhorns have faced all year.
“It was a great game to have because they’re a very solid team,” Pierce said. “So it was a quality win, and I do think they are the best team we’ve played up to this point.”