Stevens, Harrison pitch No. 1 Texas to 2-0 series-clinching victory against Alabama

Hunter Dworaczyk, Sports Reporter

Rainfall forced No. 1 Texas baseball to wait an hour to start its game Saturday afternoon, but quick defensive work pulled the Longhorns to a fast victory. 

On a cold day at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, the Longhorns improved to 7-0 with a 2-0 series-clinching victory against Alabama. 

The delayed start and unfavorable weather did not seem to affect redshirt senior Tristan Stevens. The starting pitcher shut down the Crimson Tide, allowing zero runs, four hits and no walks in six solid innings.

“I try to do what I normally do and let my defense work,” Stevens said. “These conditions made it even easier for me. I grew up in the Midwest so pitching in the cold wasn’t new to me.”

While Stevens typically finds his success quickly working through batters, the right-hander used resilience to get out of the most pressure from Alabama that he would face. 

In the top of the sixth, a two-out single gave Alabama runners on first and second. Then, Stevens engaged in a battle with Alabama redshirt freshman Will Portera. Portera grounded out on Stevens’ tenth pitch of the at-bat, ending the inning.

“It was a great at-bat by (Portera),” head coach David Pierce said. “When you look at pitcher-hitter confrontations, both kids were getting after it. We were fortunate it went to (Faltine).”

The sixth inning would be the only time that Texas allowed Alabama into scoring position. 

Stevens’ day would end with 92 pitches thrown in six innings of work. The pitcher has yet to allow a run in his 12 innings pitched this season.

Stevens said that his stuff on Saturday felt better than last week’s start against Rice.

“I found out early on that I had my sinker, cutter and slider working for me,” Stevens said. “So knowing that gave me the confidence to really go out there and attack them.”

Freshman left-handed pitcher Luke Harrison took the mound after Stevens. Harrison performed well, throwing four strikeouts in three innings for the save.

Stevens said the performance from Harrison showed the depth of the Texas pitching staff.

“It’s so cool seeing a freshman step up in this moment,” Stevens said. “Just seeing (Harrison) go out there and compete at 18 years old on a big stage only up two runs and close the door. If you can pitch, you are going to get your opportunity.”

Offensively, Texas did just enough to win the game. In the bottom of the third, a double from redshirt sophomore Trey Faltine and a two-out double from redshirt sophomore Douglas Hodo III allowed Texas to score its first run. 

In the fourth inning, redshirt senior Austin Todd singled and brought in redshirt junior Ivan Melendez to make the score 2-0. Neither team would score for the rest of the game.

“Whether it is a tight ballgame or the offense is going bananas, I promise you this team can win in multiple ways,” Stevens said.

Texas baseball looks to remain undefeated and sweep the Crimson Tide when it returns to the Disch for the series finale.