Swept by Oklahoma State in the regular season, Texas shuts out Cowboys in Big 12 opener
ARLINGTON — Lassoed by the Cowboys during the regular season, the Longhorns fought back in their postseason opener.
Texas starter Pete Hansen pitched like an ace and Austin Todd and Silas Ardoin both homered in Wednesday's 4-0 win over Oklahoma State in the opening game of the Big 12 Tournament at Globe Life Field. It came nearly four weeks after the Cowboys swept Texas in Austin at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
"They're a great ball club, but today was our day," Hansen said. "They kind of had our number when they came to the Disch, but we got another chance again to face them and it was fun to get it back."
In that series in Austin, No. 9 Oklahoma State (36-19) and No. 19 Texas (40-17) combined for 55 hits and 49 runs. In each of the three games, at least one run was scored by the end of the second inning.
But with Wednesday's first pitch being thrown at 9:03 a.m., the bats took a little longer to wake up.
Over the first five innings, Texas failed to advance a runner past second base. And Hansen held Oklahoma State hitless until there were two outs in the fifth.
Texas finally put a run on the scoreboard in the sixth when Oklahoma State pitcher Victor Mederos' error while fielding a bunt single by Douglas Hodo III allowed Trey Faltine to score from first base. Todd then put Texas up 2-0 when he led off the seventh inning.
Todd and Mederos engaged in a lengthy battle that featured four fouled-off, two-strike offerings. Todd hammered the ninth pitch from Mederos over the wall in left field.
That home run was Todd's sixth in his last 15 games. Before this recent power surge, the sixth-year senior had played in 181 career games and had hit six homers.
"I just try to see the ball, get a good pitch and put a good swing on it," Todd said. "I'm not trying to do too much with it. I think honestly, that's probably why my power has showed up a little bit."
Interjected Hansen: "Showed up a little bit? It was a bomb."
Texas added an RBI single from Faltine in the seventh. Ardoin, who homered twice at Globe Life Field during a 4-2 loss to Oklahoma on April 2, went deep again at the Texas Rangers' ballpark in the ninth.
That was more than enough run support for Hansen. Over 7⅔ innings, the third-year left-hander limited Oklahoma State to three hits and two walks. He had 12 strikeouts, which tied a season high, as did his 122 pitches.
"There's a pitch count and then there's stress pitches," Texas coach David Pierce pointed out. "He pitched with nobody on base all day."
Hansen wasn't worried about his workload, either.
"I felt like I was warming up, honestly," he said. "I was pretty bummed when I saw him coming out (to pull me)."
Back on April 29, Hansen wasn't as efficient during a seven-inning start against the Cowboys. In that 8-6 loss, he was credited with a no-decision while allowing nine hits and six runs.
"We got him last time pretty good and this time, he was putting pitches in spots that were just tough to put the (bat) on," Oklahoma State outfielder Jake Thompson said.
Tristan Stevens picked up his second save of the season after he worked the final 1⅓ innings. The only baserunner to reach against him did so on an error.
Key play: Hansen was lifted after Oklahoma State singled with two outs in the eighth. Stevens, though, quickly squelched any thoughts of a rally against the UT bullpen.
Stevens needed just one pitch to get Texas out of the inning. That pitch was grounded by Roc Riggio to Faltine, the UT shortstop who stepped on second base for the third out.
Notable number: 4. In the sixth inning, Ivan Melendez was issued an intentional walk as Texas had a runner aboard but first base was open. The strategy paid off for Oklahoma State as the next batter grounded into an inning-ending double play.
That intentional walk was the fourth drawn this season by Melendez, the Big 12's player of the year and national leader in home runs. Each of those intentional walks have been issued in UT's last 10 games.
Up next: Texas advances to face No. 18 TCU, which opened its tournament run with a 4-2 win over Baylor, at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Earlier this season, the Longhorns beat TCU (36-18) twice during a three-game series. TCU won the Big 12's regular-season title.