No. 2 Longhorns breeze through Austin Regional, advance to NCAA Super Regional

Amsal Madhani, Sports Reporter

The Texas baseball team was awarded the No. 2 overall seed and regional host status after a dominant season where they won the Big 12 Championship, and they played up to their billing over the weekend.

Hosting the Austin Regional for the second time in the last four seasons, the Longhorns won all three of their games with a combined score of 33-5. While teams such as Arizona State and Fairfield used five and seven pitchers, respectively, to try and find an answer, Texas enjoyed three outstanding performances from their starting pitchers. The trio of Tristan Stevens, Ty Madden and Pete Hansen combined for 19.2 innings of work with 26 strikeouts and only 13 hits.

Stevens, who had a rocky start to the season with a suspect 4.96 ERA through three starts, earned the ever-important Friday night start against Southern. The redshirt junior continued upon a hot streak that earned him an All-Big 12 first team selection by dominating the Jaguars. He forced a 1-2-3 inning at the start of the night and threw an efficient 82 pitches.

Despite the packed crowd at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, Texas head coach David Pierce felt that Stevens did a great job of blocking out the noise and being himself.

“I think he did a nice job of just being Tristan Stevens, attacking the strike zone,” Pierce said after the game. “I think he trusts himself when it comes to preparation and his routines.”

Texas turned to their Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Ty Madden, for their second game against Arizona State on Saturday. While Madden has been the undisputed ace for the Longhorns this year, Texas had lost three of the previous four games he had started in. Needing a win to get into the Austin Regional final, the redshirt sophomore stepped up in the biggest moment of the season.

Madden started the game off firing on all cylinders, forcing a 1-2-3 inning in the first much as Stevens had done the night before. After getting himself in trouble in the fifth inning by allowing the Sun Devils to load the bases, Madden showed tremendous poise by limiting the damage to one run.

While he admittedly struggled a bit with his control, giving up four walks, he did enough to help the Longhorns get past the Sun Devils. Madden ended the night with seven strikeouts and one run allowed on three hits.

“Everything felt good,” Madden said after the Saturday night win. “More walks than I like, but I wasn’t missing by much, just some small changes. I thought my slider had really good depth tonight and my fastball too.”

Hansen was the star of the weekend, however, after his performance in the Regional Final against Fairfield on Sunday night. In the biggest game of his young career, the redshirt freshman didn’t allow a single hit until the bottom of the third inning. He ended the night with a career high 13 strikeouts and led the Longhorns to a 12-2 victory over Fairfield to clinch a regional tournament victory.

Texas now has its eyes set on the NCAA Super Regional and will host the winner of the Gainesville Regional next weekend.

“At the end of the year, we’re going to show the nation who we really are and that’s the number one team in the nation,” Hansen said.