Baseball

After 3-1 week, Texas moves into D1Baseball.com’s top four

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The Longhorns were ranked No. 5 last week entering a midweek matchup with the Texas A&M Aggies that David Pierce’s team lost 2-0. After regrouping and sweeping Big 12 opponent Kansas in Lawrence, and with Texas Tech dropping a series to Kansas State, the Longhorns moved up to No. 4 in the most recent D1Baseball.com poll.

The Longhorns are the top rated team outside of the SEC, with Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and Ole Miss sitting ahead of them. Texas was also selected as one of Baseball America’s “Eight for Omaha” on Monday morning, the only Big 12 school to receive the distinction.

UT’s shutout loss in College Station to unranked A&M did serve as its first midweek loss of the season, but the three wins at Hoglund Ballpark acted as the first sweep of a Big 12 opponent for the Longhorns in 2021.

Mitchell Daly’s 4-for-5 night in game one led the Longhorns to a 5-2 victory. The first five in the batting order of Eric Kennedy, Daly, Zach Zubia, Silas Ardoin, and Cam Williams all drove in a run. Ty Madden earned the win without his finest stuff, still going 8.0 innings allowing seven hits and one unearned run, walking one and striking out five. Aaron Nixon allowed one earned run on three hits in the ninth but was able to finish Thursday’s contest.

Friday was Ivan Melendez’ turn to have a big day at the plate. He matched Daly’s 4-for-5 effort, driving in one and scoring twice in a 7-0 contest. Tristan Stevens earned the victory after the longest outing of his career, 7.0 shutout innings with four strikeouts and one hit batsman. Texas broke the game open with four runs in the last two innings, setting the table for Cole Quintanilla to throw 2.0 strong innings.

All but one Texas starter recorded a base hit on Saturday in an 11-2 rout. Williams hit his seventh home run of the season, Melendez hit his second, and Mike Antico showed signs of breaking out of his slump with a ninth-inning, three-run exclamation point to cap off a 2-for-4 day. He slugged a ball over the right field fence, and immediately knew it was gone based off his celebratory bat flip. Kolby Kubichek took the win after 6.0 innings, with Tanner Witt, Palmer Wenzel, and Lucas Gordon taking care of the final 3.0 innings.

Texas sits at 20-8 and 7-2 in Big 12 play, good for standalone second place behind TCU’s 6-0 conference record. The Red Raiders dropped from No. 4 to No. 8 in the most recent poll after a 1-2 week. Other Big 12 schools in D1Baseball’s top 25 include No. 10 TCU, and No. 14 Oklahoma State.