Pitching lifts Texas to 14th consecutive victory

Vicente Montalvo

In the ninth inning with one out, head coach David Pierce had a difficult decision to make — let his starting pitcher complete a full game, or turn to the bullpen? Pierce ultimately chose the latter, calling upon freshman pitcher Aaron Nixon to relieve starting redshirt freshman pitcher Pete Hansen to put the game away for the Longhorns.

The No. 3 Longhorns defeated Texas State for the second time this season, 5-1 in San Marcos at Bobcat Ballpark to extend their win streak to 14 straight games.

Texas’ recent winning performances have mostly relied on big offensive production, but instead of continuing to win with hits, the Longhorns turned to dominant pitching and solid defense.

“Tonight was a little different,” Pierce said in a postgame interview on 104.9 The Horn. “We just continued to pitch and play defense. (We) continued to put pressure and smother them with strikes.”

After not having an appearance during the weekend series, Hansen found himself starting on the mound and trying to forget about his last start against the Bobcats in early March, where his appearance was cut short due to an injury concern.

“I pitched here a couple months ago, and I got hurt in the fourth inning,” Hansen said in a postgame interview on 104.9 The Horn. “It was definitely really good to be back and take that mound again. I’m really happy with the result.”

Although Hansen enjoyed a great outing, he had a bit of trouble in the first inning after allowing a run to score. With a runner on first with two outs, Hansen stayed focused and contained the damage, managing to get the batter to fly out to left field.

But instead of allowing the one run to bother him, Hansen stayed confident and ended the ballgame retiring 17 Bobcat batters in a row, thanks in large part to a determined Longhorn defense.

“(I) was just trying to get into the flow,” Hansen said. “Getting ahead in counts and letting my defense work. That’s what I was trying to do.”

At one point during the contest, redshirt freshman infielder Trey Faltine made an incredible defensive play, sliding to save a ball bound for the outfield. He quickly got on his feet and threw out the runner to end the inning and keep Hansen’s streak alive.

Although Pierce ultimately made the decision to turn to the bullpen in the ninth inning, Hansen wants people to know that he was ready and was just happy to get the opportunity.

“I really wanted the ball at the end right there, and coach made a decision,” Hansen said. “It was my first time in the ninth, and it was a fun feeling.”