Home runs and stellar pitching help Texas sweep Kansas State 9-2

Vicente Montalvo

The No. 4-ranked Texas baseball team completed their second Big 12 series sweep with a 9-2 win over Kansas State on Sunday afternoon, tying their season-high win streak of eight games.

After winning the previous games with an eagle eye at the plate, the Longhorns decided to take a different approach on Sunday built around home runs and power hitting. Redshirt senior outfielder Mike Antico and redshirt sophomore infielder Ivan Melendez finished the contest with a combined three home runs. Melendez’s two home runs are a continuation of the dominant form he’s shown at the plate, as he is currently on a six-game home run streak.

“It’s not like (Melendez’s) just getting them over the wall,” head coach David Pierce said. “I mean, he’s showing his true power.”

Despite the three home runs, the Longhorns’ offense was far from electric. Texas failed to have a singular high-run inning, but it did manage 10 hits and five walks. What the Longhorns lacked in consistency, they made up for in making opportunities count, leaving only three runners stranded on base.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Kolby Kubichek got the start for the Longhorns and did an exceptional job at keeping the Wildcats’ offense quiet. Kubichek emptied the tank, giving the Longhorns everything he had on 102 pitches in seven full innings of work. Kubichek improved his overall record to 4–2 on the season.

“Kolby (Kubichek) came out and attacked, and I think that’s the one thing that we’ve been trying to get him to be much more comfortable,” Pierce said.

Antico and Melendez gave Kubichek all the run support he needed. In the third inning, Antico launched a two-run homer to give the Longhorns a 2-0 advantage. When Kansas State responded with a home run of their own, Melendez skied another two-run bomb to bring the Texas advantage to 4-1.

The fielders for Texas, however, didn’t back up Kubichek as well as they normally do. The Longhorns tallied two errors on the day, one of which was an ill-advised throw that allowed a Kansas State runner to score and cut the Longhorns’ lead to 4-2 in the sixth.

Melendez’s second two-run homer and a three-run eighth inning, however, was enough to tame the Wildcats one last time and secure the series sweep with a final score of 9-2.

Texas (25–8 overall, 10–2 in conference play) finished the three-game conference series in dominant fashion, outscoring Kansas State by a total of 37-9. Pierce credits the entire team for buying into the program’s culture and putting in the work the coaches have asked of them.

“I really just like the way that we have been pretty consistent in our mindset,” Pierce said. “Our guys get here early and spend a lot of time together. They talk about the game, and it’s a great thing to see.”

Now, the Longhorns are shifting their focus to a midweek, two-game series that will kick off on Tuesday against Nevada. Texas will look to continue their win streak, and Melendez will continue to swing for the fences.

“I think we’re in a great spot,” Pierce said. “There’s a lot of baseball to be played, (and) we’re a long way away from being where we want to be. But I like where we are right now.”