After the bullpen blew a 5-1 lead thanks to a four-run eighth inning by the Nevada Wolfpack to steal a win from left-hander Pete Hansen, the No. 3 Texas Longhorns came through in the bottom of the inning with a double from right fielder Douglas Hodo III and a double from second baseman Mitchell Daly to score the winning run at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Wednesday.
The victory was the 10th in a row for the Longhorns, the program’s longest streak since winning 21 consecutive games in 2010.
Hansen pitched to two batters in the eighth during the longest outing of his career, pounding the strike zone early in counts and facing only two two-ball counts over his first seven innings on the mound. After falling behind both hitters in the eighth inning and allowing a double and a walk, Hansen left the game having allowed six hits and three earned runs on two strikeouts and the single walk.
The bullpen couldn’t come through for him, however, as right-hander Palmer Wenzel had another rough outing, allowing a run to score on two singles before leaving the game without recording an out. Right-hander Aaron Nixon, normally the closer for the Longhorns, didn’t fare much better against the first two hitters that he faced, giving up a two-run double and a full-count walk before getting a big double play that nonetheless scored a run. Another groundout to finally ended the inning after Texas had allowed four runs to tie the game.
Fortunately for Wenzel and Nixon, Hodo and Daly came through with the game-winning run and left-hander Lucas Gordon was able to close the door on the Wolfpack with a perfect ninth inning to earn the first save of his career. Nixon notched the win, his third of the season.
The hit for Daly was particularly important — it was only his second in the last five games during a month that has seen his batting average drop 74 points to .352 as the Alabama native wasn’t able to maintain his remarkable play at the plate during March.
Texas looked like it was in command for much of the game thanks to Hansen’s work on the hill and steady approaches at the plate that eventually produced seven extra-base hits among the 12 knocks for the Horns on the day.
Hodo led off the scoring in the third inning with his second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field that drove in catcher DJ Petrinsky, who had singled to lead off the inning.
The Longhorns didn’t score again until the sixth inning, when third baseman Cam Williams drove home first baseman Zach Zubia with a two-out double. In the seventh, a walk by shortstop Trey Faltine, a single by centerfielder Mike Antico, and a bunt single by left fielder Eric Kennedy loaded the bases. Zubia drove home one run on a double play, then designated hitter Ivan Melendez doubled down the left-field line to score Antico.
The long homestand for Texas continues this weekend with a three-game series against Abilene Christian. First pitch on Friday is at 6:30 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.