Pete Hansen delivered 5.2 innings of work as the clock struck past midnight at TD Ameritrade Park. The redshirt freshman was asked to deliver for Texas in a must-win game against Virginia.
Consider mission accomplished with the help from the bullpen and Zach Zubia. A late nailbiter now keeps the Longhorns (49-16) alive in the College World Series for another day with a 6-2 victory over the Cavaliers (36-27).
Hansen was able to fight back the nerves with a relief appearance Sunday in a 2-1 loss against No. 7 Mississippi State. He took over for Ty Madden and pitched two innings, allowing one hit while striking out a pair of Bulldogs.
Once on the mound, he picked up where he left off four nights prior. Hansen allowed five hits and two walks while striking out six. He'd throw a total of 89 pitches.
"We know we have a chance to win when Pete's on the mound," Texas designated hitter Ivan Melendez said. "He throws the ball really well, throws strikes. Commands the zone really well. He spins it for a strike which is huge for a guy that's upper 80s. So, we trust Pete. He's one of our guys."
On Sunday, the Longhorns struck out a season-high 21 times against Mississippi State. Hits were few are far between for both teams, but one extra swing from Texas put them ahead.
And it took nearly seven hours to arrive following a three-hour and 46-minute rain delay.
A double from Melendez allowed Douglas Hodo III to pick up an RBI single and give Texas a 1-0 lead in the second. The next run wouldn't come until the fifth inning when a wild pitch from Mike Visal let left fielder Eric Kennedy to score from third.
Kennedy, whose three-run home run Tuesday sparked the 8-4 win over No. 3 Tennessee, turned on the jets to reach second base on an error from Cavaliers' right fielder Kyle Teel.
UVA center fielder Chris Newell responded in the bottom half with a two-run home run on a 1-0 count to make it 2-all.
Visal found a surge following Newell's home run to allow Virginia's bullpen to breathe. He'd throw another two innings, going perfect through the frames. He finished the night with seven total innings off 105 total pitches, allowing one earned run while striking out eight.
Cole Quintanilla (W 5-0) would enter the game for relief with two outs in the sixth for Texas. He'd go 1 2/3 innings, allowing two hits while striking out one.
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"They've been outstanding for three-quarters of the year," Texas coach David Pierce said of the relief pitching. "Once we settled roles, just outstanding. "
Melendez would rocket an RBI single up the middle with two outs in the eighth inning, scoring Mike Antico from second. Matt Wyatt (L 4-2) would work his way out of a bases-loaded jam with force out at third off a ground ball from Trey Faltine.
Aaron Nixon entered the game with a runner on second. Three pitches later, the Longhorns would get an inning-ending double play after Nixon hit Teel.
Teel led Virginia in hits, going 3 of 3 on the night, including a double in the sixth. For his time at the plate, he went 7 of 12 in the past three games.
Texas added insurance in the ninth with a three-run double from Zubia for his first hit in Omaha. Prior to a 3-2 count, he was 0 of 10 with a walk in the past week.
"He's an emotional kid. And a great leader for us but at the same time he's just got to trust himself over and over, just kind of a given theme from us," Peirce said of Zubia. "But see the baseball, get a good pitch, be ready to hit."
Nixon needed 11 pitches to close things out, picking up his ninth save of the year and sending the Woos' packing into the early hours of Friday morning.
"I'd say we have the momentum right now," Melendez said. "Mississippi State beat us twice. Now we have to go beat them twice. We're hungry for more."
Texas now will play at 7:00 p.m. ET later Friday evening a rematch against the growing SEC rival. The Longhorns must win two games to move to the College World Series final, beginning Monday, June 28.
The Longhorns are expected to start Madden (7-5, 2.42 ERA) while the Bulldogs will likely start ace Will Bednar (8-1, 3.26 ERA).
CONTINUE READING: Texas Falls Out Of Top 10 In Sporting News' Preseason Top 25
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