HOUSTON – For the first time since the 2009 season, Texas is 10-0.

Texas waited on Tennessee’s pitching staff in a 7-2 win at Minute Maid Park on Friday night. In their opening game at the Shriners College Classic, Texas went undefeated in front of a reported crowd of 16,515.

The win gave the top-ranked Longhorns their first signing win of the year. Texas had edged Rice, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Alabama and Sam Houston State by a score of 72-10 in its first nine games, but that quartet of unranked opponents went 110-109-1 last season .

Tennessee, meanwhile, was a College World Series qualifier in 2021. The Volunteers (8-1) were ranked 17th in this week’s D1Baseball poll.

“I knew it would be a tough environment for them just because we have kids who have never played in (that environment),” Texas coach David Pierce said. “It was like Omaha in March and it was a great place to do it.”

After four scoreless innings, Tennessee and Texas showed power in a big league ballpark. Evan Russell lined up a home run on the left field wall to put Tennessee on the scoreboard in the fifth inning. In the bottom half of that inning, Texas shortstop Trey Faltine countered Russell with his own solo shot.

The home run was a memorable moment for Faltine, who hails from nearby Richmond. Faltine estimated that he attended at least 300 games at Minute Maid Park. He grew up with Astros like Craig Biggio and Jose Altuve.

Faltine said hitting the home run in front of family and friends was “pretty special”. But he added that “I’m happier with the W. I could have done 0 for 4 tonight and it wouldn’t have mattered if we had a W.”

Continued:Home may be sweet for Texas baseball, but the Longhorns will be traveling for most of March

Faltine was one of the few Longhorns to get the better of Tennessee starter Chase Burns. A freshman, Burns retired 10 Longhorns. He allowed two hits, walked one and hit a batter.

Burns, however, only worked a five-inning shift. Texas fared much better against the Tennessee bullpen.

With Camden Sewell on the mound in the sixth inning, Eric Kennedy started with a double. It would be one of three UT hits in the inning. One of the extra hits was a brace from Ivan Melendez that drove in a run. Skyler Messinger also had an RBI single as Texas took a 4-1 lead.

Tennessee had a chance to get out of the inning with just Melendez’s brace to recover, but second baseman Jorel Ortega missed what should have been a late-inning double play. Texas scored a run on that error and Messinger moved on to the next bat.

“That’s our goal every game, we want to hit that bullpen,” said Melendez, who added an RBI triple on UT’s seventh inning three-run. “We want to work the count, grind ABs and try to get a lot of pitches below the starter’s belt in order to get into that bullpen much faster.”

Continued:Texas pitcher Pete Hansen discusses preseason hype, personal growth and 1983 comparisons

Texas’ sixth-inning offensive effort made a winner for Pete Hansen, who pitched six five-hitter innings. Relievers Luke Harrison and Aaron Nixon both got the Longhorns out of late jams.

In his postgame interview, Pierce felt wide receiver Silas Ardoin deserved credit for how Texas handled the Tennessee offense. Ardoin caught a volunteer trying to steal in the fourth inning and he scored a runner to end the first period.

“The guy who always gets overlooked is Silas,” Pierce said. “I think he played a great game today, made good choices, took blocks, tough blocks.”

Best game: Harrison threw just three pitches Friday night. Those pitches kept Texas up 4-2.

With two out in the seventh inning, Tennessee had runners on second and third base. So Pierce called Harrison out of the bullpen. This set up a matchup between a left-handed pitcher and a left-handed hitter in Luc Lipcius.

Lipcius entered the game with a .444 batting average. After a foul pitch made it 0-2, Lipcius was caught watching a late-inning third strike.

Notable number: 20. Hansen has allowed just 20 earned runs in his college career. Left-handed, Hansen joined the Longhorns ahead of the 2020 season.

Hansen had an impeccable ERA in the 17 innings he pitched as a freshman. Last season, Hansen pitched 91 innings and scored for 19 earned runs. The Russell homer is the only run Hansen has allowed over 17 innings in 2022.

For those doing the math at home, Hansen has a career ERA of 1.44. As it stands, this is the third best ERA in UT history. (Pitchers must pitch at least 100 innings to qualify.) Burt Hooton’s 1.14 ERA is the school standard. Huston Street had an ERA of 1.31 from 2002 to 2004.

Following: Texas will return to the prime time slot of the Shriners College Classic on Saturday night. The Longhorns’ opponent will be No. 7 LSU.

LSU (9-1) defeated Oklahoma 5-4 in its opener at the Shriners College Classic. LSU needed 11 innings on Friday, but Jordan Thompson’s home run lifted the Tigers triumphant.

Under Pierce, Texas is 4-3 against LSU. But when the two schools last met, LSU was the winner. This 4-3 Tigers victory was recorded at the Shriners College Classic in 2020.