Tristan Stevens entered Friday like a man with a plan. He looked like he was on a deadline to beat the clock to 4 p.m., delivering heaters in record-setting time.
At least that's how it felt for the Texas pitcher as the Longhorns began the Austin Regional. Stevens wasted little time getting to know Southern's lineup, recording seven scoreless innings on the way to a 11-0 victory for the Longhorns.
"I thought he did a nice job of being Tristan Stevens and just attacking the strike zone," Texas coach David Pierce said. "I think he trusts himself when it comes to preparation and his routine, and he knows he's put the work in."
To put into context how fast Stevens worked past the Jaguars lineup, Texas finished with five innings of facing the standard three batters — four of which behind Stevens' arm. Of the the four hits earned, only one went for extra bases.
Stevens stuck out six Jaguars on the way to a victory that will have Texas now playing the winner of Fairfield-Arizona State Saturday evening. His pitches were precise, but also blended a combination of speed and finesse. Instead of relying on the fastball, the junior mixed in some off-speed to slow down Southern when runners were on base.
"I really don't even notice that I work fast," Stevens said. "When you're in that environment and when I'm in that mode, I just kind of want to get the ball and I want to go and I want to be the aggressor."
Stevens retired the first three batters faced Friday before giving up a single to start the second inning. After an error from Trey Faltine led to a runner in scoring position. That forced Stevens to pick up the pace.
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Striking out a pair of Jaguars to end the inning, Stevens would send six straight Southern bats packing before allowing his next hit. That would turn into a inning-ending double play in the fourth, keeping the scoreless game in-tact.
On the afternoon, Stevens faced 24 batters, 19 of which never reached base. He finished his time on the mound with a mere 82 pitches thrown, making him available to play in another regional game this weekend.
Stevens' seven scoreless innings now has his ERA at 2.77 in 97.1 innings pitched. The victory gives Texas its first double-digit winner (10-3) on the season as the Longhorns moves on to the next round.
The journey has been a long one for Stevens, who is four years removed from Tommy John Surgery as a JuCo commit out of MCC-Maple Woods in 2017. The road to recovery now has reached its end with Texas as the No. 2 national seed.
Speed sends batters back to the dugout. It also has Texas two games away from advancing to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2018.
"I think (the win) kind of helps sets the tone for the weekend and gets the ball rolling again," Stevens said. "I think this game gets the momentum going for this team."
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