No. 1 Texas baseball registers its second straight shutout of Alabama behind Stevens, Todd
Top-ranked Texas slugged its way to a second straight win over Alabama on Saturday, a 2-0 victory in temperatures hovering at 40 degrees sparked by center fielder Douglas Hodo III's defense and Tristan Stevens' quick pitching.
After an hour-long delay at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, the Longhorns and Crimson Tide both got off to a slow start; Alabama put one runner on base in the first inning, but then hit a drought that lasted until the fifth.
Texas shortstop Trey Faltine got things started for the Longhorns (7-0) in the third, smacking a hit down the baseline to left field for a double. He later scored on Hodo's double for the 1-0 lead.
"It feels like you go in the outfield for two minutes, and then you're back in the dugout ready to hit," Hodo said. "I think all of our pitchers work at a great pace, but Tristan is at the top."
Alabama (5-2) continued to struggle advancing baserunners, but No. 1 Texas found its stride in the fourth inning, putting three runners on base. The Longhorns secured their second run on Austin Todd's RBI single.
Stevens, meanwhile, shut down the Crimson Tide. He had four strikeouts in his six innings. Stevens, who hails from Springfield, Mo., said he relied on his roots to pitch in Saturday's weather.
“I grew up in the Midwest, so ... the cold really wasn't new to me,” Stevens said. “I know the hitters don't like it. And I honestly don't mind the cold, so if they don't like it and I like it, I feel like it's an advantage for me.”
Freshman pitcher Luke Harrison replaced Stevens in the seventh inning. Alabama also switched pitchers in the sixth, trading out Antoine Jean for Hunter Furtado. The Longhorns had no runs against Furtado, but Harrison also kept the Tide at bay, leading to a scoreless final three innings.
Texas has outscored Alabama just 3-0 so far through two games.
“Last week there were a lot of runs, this week it's been one-nothing, two-nothing games,” Stevens said. “Who knows how it's gonna be tomorrow, but whether it's a tie ball game or our offense is just going bananas, I promise you this team can win in multiple ways.”
Key play: Texas went up 2-0 in the fourth when Ivan Melendez — who had advanced to second on Mitchell Daly's groundout after getting on base with a single to center field — streaked home off Todd's single to right.
Notable number: 53. Freshman Luke Harrison threw 53 pitches in three innings, coming in from the bullpen to finish with one hit, one walk and four strikeouts. It was the left-hander's third appearance.
“The kid, up to this point, has been outstanding,” UT coach David Pierce said. “He seems to have ice in his veins and wants the baseball.”
More: Former Texas star Calvin Murray took the field on Saturday as Texas baseball's second "TraDISCHions" honoree. He was an All-American in college, starring from 1990-92 before an MLB career with the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs.
Up next: Texas and Alabama will close their weekend series at 1 p.m. Sunday. Temperatures in Austin are expected to take a nearly 20-degree jump. Texas right-hander Tanner Witt (1-0, 1.80) will start opposite Alabama left-hander Grayson Hitt (1-0, 0.00).