Baseball

Texas 14, A&M-CC 4: Melendez, Williams knock homers to lead offensive onslaught

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Nine different Texas A&M-Corpus Christi pitchers made their way to the mound at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday night. Four of them gave up multiple runs and two more surrendered a run apiece. Mutli-RBI nights from Mitchell Daly (4), Cam Williams (2), Ivan Melendez (3), and Trey Faltine (3) helped Texas cruise to a 14-4 victory.

No matter who the Islanders sent to the mound, they enjoyed little success in their appearance against Longhorn hitters up and down the order. Daly was 2-for-5 with four RBI near the top of the lineup. Williams and Melendez represented the middle of the order, each hitting towering home runs. The two accounted for five RBI and combined to go 5-for-7. Not wanting to leave out the bottom third of the lineup from the run-scoring festivities, Faltine was 2-for-4 with three RBI.

Melendez’s Tuesday continues a strong stretch of games for the junior college transfer. His second inning two-run home run was launched over 470 feet nearly to the Texas Tennis Center in deep left field. It extended his current hitting streak to four games after safely recording a hit in all three games at Kansas.

Texas head coach David Pierce elected to put Melendez in the lineup the entire series against Jayhawks and noticed it helped instill calm and confidence in the sophomore from El Paso. That confidence remained in Texas’ travels back to Austin and re-appeared early versus A&M-Corpus Christi.

“The confidence is taking over,” Pierce said. “The power is there. The eye-hand coordination is there. If you mix a really good mind with that then you’ve got a great hitter, and I think he’s a great hitter.”

Melendez’s home run gave Texas a 2-1 lead in the second, and Faltine drove in another to make it 3-1. The Islanders would get a run back in the top of the third, but an RBI single from Eric Kennedy in the bottom of the fourth made the game a two-run affair once again.

That would be as close as the now 6-21 Islanders would get. Williams knocked a mammoth two-run bomb in the fifth, Melendez brought in one with a double in the seventh, and Daly plated two with his single off the pitcher to complete a three-run inning after the stretch to make it 9-4.

Not content with a single-digit scoring total, Texas scored five in the ninth with RBIs from Daly, Faltine, and Douglas Hodo III.

“We just continued to play and separated ourselves late,” Pierce said. “Just a good Tuesday night win, for sure.”

On the mound, Texas starter Justin Eckhardt struggled in the first but recovered well over his final 1.2 innings of work. He was relieved by Palmer Wenzel, who earned the victory with 2.1 innings of shutout ball. Lucas Gordan, Cole Quintanilla, and Drew Shifflet combined to allow two runs over the final four innings.

Those final innings were monotonous and indicative of mid-week baseball games between power programs and mid-to-low major teams. That is, until a possum appeared in left field ahead of the top of the ninth inning.

A few Islanders attempted to corral the marsupial with no luck. The possum continued to work his way around the warning track to the Longhorn bullpen in right. Gordon, coming off his relief appearance, was joined by reliever Sam Walbridge and Saturday starter Tristan Stevens in an attempt to trap the animal.

The trio chose a bucket as their weapon of choice. They luckily did not need it and were able to escort the possum off the playing field. Pierce could only chuckle about his players’ attempt at removing the possum from play.

“Somebody had to get it, right?” Pierce said laughing.

Texas will need to turn around for its second midweek game versus Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night. Pest control would guarantee Pete Hansen will be able to take the hill without issue at 6:30 p.m.