Texas baseball continues hot batting streak, completes sweep of Abilene Christian

Amsal Madhani

Ivan Melendez walked to the plate for his first at-bat of the Sunday game in the bottom of the first with runners on first and third base. Arguably the hottest hitter on the Texas roster, Melendez made Abilene Christian’s senior pitcher, Spencer Chirpich, regret his decision to throw a fastball.

The redshirt sophomore infielder swung at the ball with vicious intent and doubled to left-center field, sending redshirt senior outfielder Mike Antico home for the first run of the game. Melendez, often referred to as the “Hispanic Titanic,” had opened the floodgates, and the Texas offense never looked back.

The Longhorns lit up Abilene Christian’s pitching and fielding team from the first inning on Sunday afternoon, scoring four runs to take a quick 4-0 lead early in the game. Texas continued their dominance at the plate throughout the rest of the game, scoring a run in all but one inning to blow past the Wildcats 11-1 and complete the series sweep.

“I just thought we played a complete game,” Texas head coach David Pierce said. “We were making routine plays, making occasional great plays and having a sound offensive day.”

It was another masterful performance at the plate from Mendelez, who made some huge plays to help Texas pull away from Abilene Christian early on in the game. He followed up his RBI double in the first inning with a triple that brought in another run in the second inning.

The Wildcats’ pitching group had a hard time figuring out Mendelez, as he ended the day with two hits along with one run.

But Melendez wasn’t the only Longhorn with a productive day at the plate. Antico also juiced the Texas offense with a home run in the fifth inning to put the Longhorns up 10-1. Redshirt junior infielder Zach Zubia also got into the action as he recorded his fifth homer of the season in the bottom of the fourth inning, leaving the Wildcat’s pitching group in shambles.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Kolby Kubichek got the start on Sunday and was locked in from the get-go. With his back against the wall and runners on first and third base in the third inning, Kubichek made the right play to minimize the damage. He sacrificed a run and instead chose to go for the double play, which got him out of trouble and diminished Abilene Christian’s momentum.

While Pierce said he wants Kubichek to work on his control, he noted the redshirt sophomore continues to find ways to win.

“I think Kolby (Kubichek) has to get sharper for sure,” Pierce said. “But if he finds a way to win, he finds a way to continue to make pitches when he needs to.”

His play at the mound allowed the Longhorns to extend their lead to blowout proportions as the Wildcats wilted against the Texas batters.

The Longhorns have now won their last 13 games, many of them in dominant fashion. With a stretch of tough games coming up on the schedule against multiple ranked teams, the Longhorns hope to stay locked in and extend their win streak further.

“I wouldn’t say we overlooked anybody,” Antico said. ”It’s probably going to be our toughest few weekends. The team is confident, but I wouldn’t say we’re cocky. We know we’ve got to show up and play.”