Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena (3) throws to first base to complete a double play over Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout on a ground ball from Anthony Rendon during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. Credit: Ashley Landis / AP

It didn’t take long for former University of Maine All-America East shortstop Jeremy Pena to handle his first defensive opportunity in the Major Leagues.

Pena, making his Major League debut with the Houston Astros, faced the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night in Los Angeles on Opening Day.

The Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani led off the bottom of the first inning with a high-bounding ball over the mound that Pena charged, caught and threw in one motion to first to nip the fleet-footed Ohtani by a step.

The Astros emerged with a 3-1 win.

The defensive play was a highlight for the 24-year-old Pena, who went 0-for-4 at the plate, striking out twice against Ohtani, last season’s unanimous American League Most Valuable Player.

Pena swung and missed three sliders in the second inning and, in the fourth inning, took a fastball for a strike before swinging and missing two more Ohtani sliders.

Pena also made a throwing error later in the game on Mike Trout’s leadoff grounder in the seventh but he later helped turn two double plays to end the seventh inning and another to end the game in the ninth.

He also initiated a double play in the first and was involved in a total of nine chances in the game.

The son of former Major Leaguer Geronimo Pena grounded back to reliever Austin Warren in the sixth and lined out deep to center in the eighth off Ryan Tepera.

Astros manager Dusty Baker told the Houston Chronicle after the game that Pena will be fine.

“He made some good plays, and he almost hit it out, almost got his first hit,” Baker said. “I don’t care who you are … your first game in the big leagues … you’re doing what you’ve been trying to get to your whole life. … There’s got to be a certain amount of anxiety and nerves.”

Baker said he has liked Pena from day one.

“I liked him the day I saw him a couple years ago,” Baker said. “When a ballplayer walks in a room, you can kind of tell right away. He doesn’t even have to play, really.”

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve said Pena is “very talented.”

“He can play defense. He can hit. He has everything we need from him,” Altuve told the Houston Chronicle. “He’s very smart, very focused, very humble. He wants to learn.”

Pena is replacing All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa, who became a free agent and signed with the Minnesota Twins.

Pena hit .350 this spring for the Astros with two homers and nine runs batted in.

The Providence, Rhode Island, native missed most of last season after having wrist surgery but finished the season with AAA Sugar Land where he hit 10 homers in just 30 games with 19 RBIs. He hit .287.

Houston’s third round draft pick (102nd overall) hit .290 in two minor league seasons at the Class A and Rookie League levels with eight homers and 64 RBIs in 145 games. He also had seven triples, 26 doubles and 23 stolen bases in 33 attempts.

During his three-year, 163-game UMaine career, Pena hit .305 with 12 homers, 32 doubles, 10 triples and 75 RBIs. He also stole 30 bases in 35 attempts.