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NCAA BASEBALL

Texas Longhorns beat the Tennessee Volunteers 7-2

The number one ranked Texas Longhorns faced their first serious threat of the season in the Tennessee Volunteers and found all the right answers

Update:
HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 04: Trey Faltine #0 of the Texas Longhorns hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Tennessee Volunteers during the Shriners Children's College Classic at Minute Maid Park on March 04, 2022 in Houston, Texas.   Bob Levey
Bob LeveyAFP

The nation’s top-ranked team had to wait nearly an hour before they could take the field against the number 17 Tennessee Volunteers in the opening day of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Classic. When you play all of a tournament’s games on one field, sometimes that is just the way it goes. The delay didn’t put the Longhorns off their stride, though as they battled to a 7-2 victory, their tenth of the season.

Tennessee are the first nationally-ranked team that Texas have faced this season and have had explosive bats over the first three weeks, outscoring their opponents 125-13 over the first nine games. Their only blemish has been the game against Tennessee Tech being suspended in the fifth inning due to heavy rain. That game will be finished at a later date and the Vols were up 5-4 at the time of stoppage.

But those mighty Tennessee bats were silenced in Houston. The game started as a defensive battle as Pete Hansen took the mound for Texas, pitching six innings and allowing just one run on five hits. The Volunteers fielded true freshman Chase Burns, who was stellar in five innings worked, striking out ten and allowing just one run on two hits.

Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello admitted that he should have stayed with Burns longer. "I think the root of what went on tonight is that Chase Burns was outstanding and I chose not to ride him," Vitello said. "We chose to ride Camden Sewell cause he did a lot for us in the middle of the week."

"Chase Burns was outstanding and I chose not to ride him"

Tony Vitello

Going scoreless through four, both teams traded home runs in the fifth to take the game 1-1 into the sixth inning. That Tennessee change to Camden Sewell opened up the Texas bats as they scored back to back threes in the sixth and seventh. Tennessee was able to claw one back but the difference was just too great and the Longhorns got the win.

For Texas, Ivan Melendez went 2 for 4, hitting a double and a triple, for two RBIs. Trey Faltine went 2 for 3 including that solo shot in the fifth.

This Longhorn side has so many weapons, but one to keep your eye on is redshirt sophomore catcher Silas Ardoin. Throwing out 20 of 48 attempted stolen bases while committing an error, he is a defensive gem. The first-ever Gold Glove winner from the state of Louisiana, he came out of high school much touted and was drafted by the Colorado Rockies, an offer that he turned down to attend the University of Texas. He is a solid anchor behind the plate and with a .303 batting average, he is a potent offensive weapon as well.

Texas will now have to face LSU, hot on the heels of the Tigers’ thrilling 5-4 victory over Oklahoma. LSU twice came from behind to tie the game up before Jordan Thompson hit a walk-off blast in the eleventh inning.

Ranked seventh in the nation on last week’s polls, this performance as well as a mid-week emphatic victory over the University of New Orleans should see the Tigers jump to the top five and they will be looking to secure that spot with a win tonight. The Longhorns have shown that their pitching is up to the challenge of a sustained offensive assault, but LSU is a notch above Tennessee.

As for the Volunteers, they will now go on to face a Baylor Bears team that stunned 23rd ranked UCLA 2-1 earlier in the day. The Shriners Classic is shaping up to be just that.

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