Pete Hansen’s shutout lifts Longhorns to 4-0 victory over Oklahoma State in first round of Big 12 Tournament

Hunter Dworaczyk, Sports Reporter

With a 9 a.m. first pitch, it looked like the Texas bats were still asleep early in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday in Arlington.

Stuck in a scoreless affair, No. 5-seeded Texas was struggling at the plate early against No. 4-seeded Oklahoma State. Cowboys pitcher Victor Mederos was dealing through five, allowing just three hits with no runs and striking out four Longhorns. During the inning, Texas head coach David Pierce was asked by the ESPNU broadcast team what the Longhorns would need to do to wake up their bats.

“We just have to create some action and then be ready for a pitch when (Mederos) makes a mistake,” Pierce said.

The Longhorns did just that in the following innings. A throwing error from Mederos allowed redshirt sophomore shortstop Trey Faltine to score from first in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Then in the seventh, redshirt senior outfielder Austin Todd made the most of a hanging slider from Mederos, launching a solo home run into the left-field bleachers at Globe Life Field.

“I got a good pitch to hit,” Todd said afterward on the postgame radio show. “I luckily didn’t miss it.”

Backed on the mound by a near flawless performance from redshirt sophomore pitcher Pete Hansen, Texas picked up a 4-0 victory over Oklahoma State to advance into the winner’s bracket of the Big 12 Tournament. 

Hansen put together 7.2 shutout innings on the day, only allowing three hits, two walks and no earned runs, a far cry from the six earned he gave up in his regular season outing against the Cowboys. 

“Pete was outstanding,” Pierce said. “He really established the ball away and then was able to utilize the inside corner when he wanted to. I thought that was a perfect formula.”

Hansen had consistent success in finding the strike zone against the prolific Oklahoma State offense, throwing 76 strikes in his 122 total pitches. Hansen struck out 12 Oklahoma State batters, tying his season high.

“When we have a guy like that dominating on the mound, it’s fun to watch on offense,” Todd said. “You can sit back and just keep grinding at the plate, hoping to get some runs.”

Wednesday’s victory was much needed for Texas’ resume as it enters the postseason. The contest featured the conference’s top two teams in the Rating Percentage Index, a rating system that the NCAA relies on heavily to rank college baseball teams based on their strength of schedule. Entering today, Texas sat at No. 21 in the NCAA’s RPI rankings and could move higher up with the win. 

The Longhorns, who are currently viewed as being on the bubble to host a regional, will likely need to pick up a couple more victories in the tournament to ensure that they get one of the 16 NCAA Regional hosting spots. Their next resume-boosting opportunity will come tomorrow at 4 p.m. against the winner of TCU and Baylor.

“We came to the tournament to really compete and do our best,” Pierce said. “I like the way we started, and we get a little rest now.”