Late-game offense lifts Texas to 6-5 victory over Nevada in series finale

Vicente Montalvo

With the game tied in the bottom of the eighth inning, head coach David Pierce needed the Texas bats, which had been relatively spotty all night, to create some magic.

Redshirt freshman outfielder Douglas Hodo III provided it by starting the inning with a double. He then tagged up on a fly ball, advancing to third. With one out and the game winning run on third base, freshman infielder Mitchell Daly connected with a pitch for a double, bringing Hodo in to score the go-ahead run that proved to be enough in the 6-5 victory.

The No. 3 Longhorns took down Nevada, winning the series and their final Wednesday night ballgame of the regular season. Texas got the job done at UFCU Disch-Falk field with situational hitting and seven extra base knocks.

“You have to go out there and drive the baseball,” Pierce said. “I thought we did a great job of that.”

The Longhorns led the game from the second inning on, but watched their lead slip away in the top of the eighth inning. The Wolf Pack batters fought their way back into a contest that looked to be all but over, managing to get multiple bases loaded opportunities and ultimately tying the contest at 5-5.

Although Texas gave up its lead on a four-run inning, the dugout kept its composure. The Longhorns knew they still had another chance to take back the lead, and that’s exactly what happened, redshirt freshman pitcher Pete Hansen said.

“This is a situation we have been in before,” Hansen said. “I have trust in my guys. I knew they were going to pull it off.”

Hansen was in the zone tonight as the starter, retiring the first nine Nevada batters he faced. In his career-high seven innings on the mound, Hansen efficiently threw 65 strikes on 81 pitches. His accuracy late in the count was even more impressive, Pierce said.

“I thought he was much better in two strike counts late in the at-bats,” Pierce said. “I thought Pete (Hansen) was pretty solid with it (throwing strikes).”

However, Hansen’s night was not without adversity. He showed his composure multiple times by maneuvering his way out of several tricky situations.

Hansen looked like he was going to breeze through the sixth inning after successfully getting the leadoff batter out, but then a Nevada hitter connected with a pitch to put runners on first and second with two outs. Focusing on his control, Hansen hunkered down and attacked the strike zone, inducing a ground out to keep the Longhorns in front.

“They hit some balls hard, but he continued to attack the strike zone,” Pierce said.

With the weekend pitching rotation already solidified, Hansen is starting to fit right into the mid-week games at the perfect time for the Longhorns. Although he is becoming a regular weekday starter, he is still ready to come on in relief when Pierce asks him.

“I just want to pitch,” Hansen said. “If that’s coming out of the (bull)pen on the weekend or if that’s starting the weekdays.”