Stevens’ strong outing not enough as Texas drops opening game of College World Series


Jonathan Sherchand/The Daily Texan

Redshirt senior Tristian Stevens throws a pitch during the Alumni game on February 5.

Hunter Dworaczyk, Sports Reporter

Friday night’s matchup between Texas and Notre Dame pitted the best remaining statistical offense against the pitching staff with the best earned run average in the College World Series.

Notre Dame’s pitching won out on Friday, leading to a 7-3 victory for the Fighting Irish in the opening round of the College World Series.

“(Notre Dame) deserved to win,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “I thought they were better than us tonight. We’ll regroup, practice tomorrow and bounce back for Sunday’s game.”

The Longhorns’ typically high-powered offense stagnated against Notre Dame’s pitching, mustering six hits on the game for a .188 batting average. Texas only had two innings in which more than four batters came to the plate.

Graduate senior John Michael Bertrand led the pitching effort for Notre Dame, going 5.1 innings and beating Longhorn batters with the precise location of his pitches.

“(Bertrand) was more of a pitchability guy, not really having (velocity) to beat us,” sophomore right fielder Dylan Campbell said. “He was landing his slider and kind of gave us some trouble with that. Just overall missing our barrels all day.”

While a stellar start from redshirt sophomore Pete Hansen would have given Texas a good shot to stay in the game, the left-handed ace did not have his best outing. Despite not walking a single batter, Hansen gave up nine hits, hit two batters and allowed the Fighting Irish to score six runs.

“(Pete Hansen) competed, but he just had too much traffic and too many things happening that we just couldn’t overcome,” Pierce said. 

After issuing a balk to the first batter he faced, redshirt senior Tristan Stevens gave the Longhorns’ offense a chance to recover from the three-run deficit from the fifth inning on. Stevens pitched the remaining 4.2 innings and allowed just two hits.

“I just throw until they get the ball out of my hands,” Stevens said. 

After losing its opening game of the College World Series, Texas now faces elimination. In order to advance to the championship series, the Longhorns must win four games in a row. 

Coming out of the loser’s bracket is nothing new for Texas in Omaha, though. The Longhorns dropped their opening game last year and finished one game away from advancing to the national championship series.

“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Stevens said. “We’ve been in this situation in the past, so we just move on and get back to work.”

Standing between the Longhorns and a potential trip back to Austin are the rival Texas A&M Aggies, who defeated the Longhorns 12-9 in their lone matchup earlier this season. The Aggies and Longhorns have never faced each other in Omaha, and while the matchup is sure to feature intensity, Stevens said it isn’t anything new.

“It’s just another game at the end of the day,” Stevens said. “Not a lot of teams like us anyways, so there’s nothing new with that.”