Texas baseball downs Lumberjacks 9-1 for fifth-straight victory

Vicente Montalvo

The No. 4-ranked Texas baseball team extended its win streak to five games on Wednesday night as it downed Stephen F. Austin 9-1 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Dominant pitching, combined with patience and big swings at the plate, paved the way for an effortless Texas victory. Redshirt freshman pitcher Pete Hansen overcame the adversity of moving from his usual Tuesday night starting slot to throw one of his best games this season. Hansen allowed merely two hits on the night in six innings of work.

The Longhorns are playing with confidence on the field as a result of their recent hot streak, redshirt sophomore infielder Ivan Melendez said.

“I would say the Horns are hot right now,” Melendez said. “We’re walking around pretty confident around the locker room. We’re just rolling right now.”

With the pitching lineup solidified as the Longhorns head deeper into Big 12 Conference play, it is critical that Hansen continues to develop in his midweek starts, head coach David Pierce said.

“I thought Pete (Hansen) did a nice job of going six innings,” Pierce said. “Overall, he was good, and he is going to get better. The next step is him finishing at bats.”

Hansen wasn’t the only Longhorn pitcher to enjoy a good night on the mound however, as three Texas pitchers threw in relief. The Longhorn pitchers combined to give up only seven hits on the night as they struck out nine Lumberjack batters.

Texas didn’t have the same offensive firepower as displayed on Tuesday night, but the Longhorns got clutch hits when it mattered most. Home runs by redshirt junior infielder Zach Zubia, redshirt senior catcher DJ Petrinsky and Melendez were enough for Texas to overcome only getting six hits on the night.

In addition to showing their power hitting abilities, the Texas batters stayed patient at the plate and managed to draw 12 walks throughout the contest.

“Offensively we were efficient,” Pierce said. “Our players backed each other, grinding out at-bats and never giving up the inning.”

At the plate, no one is as hot as Melendez, who built upon his momentum from the weekend series against Kansas. Melendez recorded a home run for the third-consecutive game with a three-run shot, finishing with two hits and a walk.

Melendez said he is finally feeling like himself again in the batter’s box after working on his approach at the plate.

“There’s just minor tweaks that I had to change,” Melendez said. “Baseball is just a game of adjustments.”

The Texas offense only put up runs in four of the nine innings they played Wednesday, but they scored in bulk when they did. The Longhorns scored four runs in the first two frames to jump out to a quick 4-0 lead.

The Longhorns doubled their run total in the fourth inning behind Melendez’s home run bomb and Zubia’s solo shot to extend the lead to 8-0.

After taking care of the two-game midweek series, the Longhorns will turn their attention to Kansas State. The Wildcats have won four games in a row, including two against then-No. 3 Texas Tech. Melendez said the entire team will stay true to themselves and not overthink their opponent.

“Now that we see what we can do against big-time competition, also in conference play, we’re just trying to slow the game down,” Melendez said. “See ball, hit ball. Just make it as simple as possible.”