Baseball’s No. 1 sweeps Rice

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Baseball’s No. 1 cruised to a 14-2 win over Rice to complete the Owls’ three-game sweep Sunday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The Longhorns, who outscored the Owls 36-3 in the series, had another big crowd for the series finale with an attendance of 7,039.

With a total attendance of 21,580 for the three-game series, this is the largest total attendance for the opening weekend in program history. Total weekend attendance ranks 10and in total for a three-game series in Texas. The Longhorns also had their biggest ever opening day crowd, with a reported turnout of 7,355 on Friday night.

Ivan Melendez erupted at home plate in the series finale, throwing a pair of towering homers. He finished the game 2 for 4 with six RBIs and four runs scored. He finished the weekend with five walks, seven RBIs and six runs scored.

Tanner Witt, making his first career start on the mound, pitched five innings and allowed just one run on five hits. He struck out five and recorded his first win of the season.

Early in the first inning, Rice was able to take her first lead of the series with a solo home run. It was the only race allowed by Witt.

The Longhorns came right back to take a 2-1 lead late in the first. Eric Kennedy knocked out an infield single before Melendez and Mitchell Daly both walked to load the bases. Silas Ardoin hit a sacrificial fly to right field and the Longhorns stole a second run on the play after a missed try allowed Melendez through the plate.

Texas extended the lead to 6-1 in the fourth inning with a pair of home runs, starting with a header from Trey Faltin. After Douglas Hodo III single and Kennedy walked, Melendez threw his first homer of the season over the batter’s eye in center field. Melendez’s “Monster Shot” marked the third time in his career to breach the center field wall, the most by any Texas player.

The Longhorns scored four more runs in the fifth on four hits and four walks to go up 10-1. Murphy Stehly doubled before three consecutive marches by Kennedy, Melendez and Daly. Ardoin then cut an RBI field single and Faltine worked another RBI walk.

Melendez hit his second homer of the game in the sixth inning, a three-run outburst to make it 13-1. Kennedy added the final inning in the seventh with an RBI single to drive Dylan Campbell.

Luke Harrison, Daniel Blair and Lebarron Johnson Jr. all made their Texas debut outside the bullpen. Both Harrison and Blair pitched scoreless innings for the Longhorns. Aaron Nixon finished the game with a scoreless ninth inning.

Texas will now hit the road for the first time, traveling to Corpus Christi to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday and Wednesday at Whataburger Field.

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