In 16 innings of baseball on Saturday, West Virginia had only eight combined hits. After Jacob Watters’ 15 strikeout performance was spoiled by a lack of run support in game one, the Mountaineers had no answer for the longball in game two, as Texas swept the doubleheader.
Ivan Melendez hit three home runs on the afternoon, while Texas’ Pete Hansen and Gordon Lucas gave up two runs over 15.2 innings pitched, as Texas won game one 5-2 and game two 11-0 (7 innings).
“Anybody that asked me why Texas was struggling bad coming in here before this series started; got any more questions,” West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey said.
In game one, West Virginia’s Jacob Watters struck out a career-high 15 Longhorn hitters, including striking out five of the first seven hitters he faced.
“If he would do that every time out then we’d still have a chance to do some things,” Mazey said. “If he would come out and pitch like that the next two outing, give us a chance to win two more games in the league that sure would help.
Unfortunately for Watters (2-5) and the Mountaineers though, Texas starter Pete Hansen was able to match Watters the whole afternoon.
Hansen (8-1), was on from the beginning, allowing one hit the first time through the batting order. That hit came from Braden Barry, who was one of West Virginia’s bright spots in game one. Barry went 3-for-3 at the plate in game one, but on the bases, he did not have as much luck.
In the second inning, Dayne Leonard hit a deep fly ball to left field, but Barry had rounded second. After Texas’ Dylan Campbell made a running catch, Barry was unable to get back to first, as Texas turned a double play. Then in the fifth inning, Barry led off the inning with a single to center field, but would then be cut down on the bases trying to steal second.
Hansen would keep Mountaineer hitters off balance for the rest of the night. Hansen allowed one baserunner or fewer in each of the first four innings, and did not allow a runner to reach past first base until the ninth inning.
Texas’s offense was stifled by Watters early on, but the middle of the Texas lineup produced via the longball.
Murphy Stehly got the Longhorns on the board in the fourth inning, homering just past the reach of a leaping Victor Scott in center field. Ivan Melendez, known as the ‘Hispanic Titanic’ homered on a ball that hit University Town Centre Drive in left field, giving Texas a 2-0 lead.
Leading 2-0, the Longhorn offense was not done. As Watters’ pitch count went over 100, his command went with it. Watters gave up a single and a walk, before he was pulled for Chris Sleeper. Sleeper too would struggle with command, walking the first two batters he faced, before Melendez hit a sacrifice-fly, putting Texas ahead 4-0 in the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Barry would again single and his third time on base was the charm, scoring on an opposite field homerun from Dayne Leonard. Leonard, hit his third home run of the season, as it just carried over the right field fence, putting the Mountaineers down 4-2.
In the eighth, Texas would get one run back, with Sleeper allowing a leadoff walk to Silas Ardoin, who would later score on a double from Campbell.
The Mountaineers would send the tying run to the plate in the form of Kevin Dowdell, who would fly out, ending the threat and giving Texas a game one win.
In game two, Melendez flexed his muscle early, homering off of West Virginia’s Ben Hampton off the batter’s eye in center field, putting Texas ahead 2-0. The rest of the Longhorn offense would follow Melendez’s lead, as the Longhorns hit five home runs in game two, scoring 11 runs on 14 hits.
Leading 3-0 in the fourth, Texas’ Douglas Hodo homered to center field, ending Hampton’s day.
Hampton (6-4) made it through just 3.1 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, while striking out six.
The home run party would not stop with Hodo though, as in the fifth, Trey Faltine hit a two-run home run to right field, and Austin Todd followed that up with a two-run home run to left field, putting the Longhorns in front 8-0 through five innings.
Melendez would continue his tear, hurting the Mountaineer pitching staff one last time on the afternoon. In the seventh inning, Melendez unleashed his third home run of the day to center field, putting Texas in front 11-0.
“I knew exactly how good they were,” Mazey said of Texas’ lineup.
The Mountaineer offense would not have an answer in game two for Lucas Gordon. The sophomore, did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, with Austin Davis singling to center field. That is all Gordon would surrender until the seventh inning, when Alek Khan reached on an infield single.
Gordon (5-1) would throw all seven innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five.
Melendez would finish the afternoon, going a combined 4-for-8, with three home runs, and six RBI. In total, Texas scored 16 runs, on 22 hits on the afternoon, while mashing seven home runs. On the other hand, the Mountaineers scored only two runs on eight hits, and struck out a combined 13 times on the day.
Top photo by Wesley Shoemaker