Tanner Witt shines in Sunday start as No. 1 Texas baseball sweeps Alabama in 6-1 win

Jordan Mitchell, Sports Reporter

For the first time this season, sophomore pitcher Tanner Witt faced a pressure cooker situation on the mound. 

Despite pitching four straight 1-2-3 innings and allowing one homer in the fifth, Witt ran into some trouble when he walked a batter in the sixth innings to load the bases.

However, the 7,160 roaring Longhorn fans appeared to soothe the sophomore. 

In his next three pitches, Witt struck out Owen Diodati, killing any momentum the Crimson Tide generated off their home run and paving the way towards No. 1 Texas’ 6-1 win.

“I thrive (in) these situations,” Witt said. “(It) wasn’t anything that I haven’t done before. I was ready for it.”

Last season, Witt primarily served as a relief pitcher for Texas, coming out of the bullpen 28 times for a perfect 5-0 record. Most notably, Witt sealed the win against Tennessee in the College World Series when he pitched five shutout innings.

Head coach David Pierce called Witt a competitor, and said he wants the ball in his hands when it means the most.

“He’s not going to let one pitch affect him (or) one at-bat affect him, no matter what,” Pierce said. 

The Texas offense got the ball rolling immediately after Witt stepped off the mound in the top of the sixth. After fouling out three times, sophomore second baseman Mitchell Daly launched a ball back to the centerfield wall for the Longhorn’s second double of the game. 

Although Daly was put out at second base during a fielder’s choice, his hit was followed by a walk and a pair of singles for Texas to load the bases. 

With redshirt sophomore Silas Ardoin in scoring position, redshirt sophomore Trey Faltine slugged a single down left field, bringing two runners home and giving Texas a 3-1 lead over Alabama.

Sophomore Dylan Campbell brought another runner home before redshirt sophomore Douglas Hodo III flied out to right field, bringing the score to 4-1 going into the seventh inning. 

Texas’ five hits in the sixth inning outnumbered the game total from Saturday, where the wind made it difficult for sluggers. 

“Our guys have been grinding through it,” Witt said. “(The weather was) a test to them.”

The No. 1 Longhorns’ sweep of Alabama brings their record to a perfect 8-0 for the season, where the team has allowed a mere four scores and shutout opponents in half of its matchups. 

Despite the team’s dominance, Witt said he’s avoiding getting caught up in the statistics. 

“You’re not trying to look too far ahead,” Witt said. “I’m not trying to live in the past, (I’m) trying to live in the moment.”

Texas baseball looks to maintain their undefeated record on the road against Sam Houston, where Pierce coached for three years.

“It’s a little sentimental,” Pierce said. “It’s special to go back to where you have coached or played, but it’s still about our team going into a tough environment.”