AUSTIN, Texas — No. 1 Texas Baseball cruised to a 14-2 win over Rice to complete the three-game sweep of the Owls on Sunday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field. The Longhorns, who outscored the Owls 36-3 in the series, had another great 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 Opening Weekend in program history. The total weekend attendance ranks 10th overall for a three-game series at Texas. The Longhorns also had their largest Opening Day crowd ever, with an announced attendance of 7,355 on Friday night.
Ivan Melendez broke out at the plate in the series finale, launching a pair of towering home runs. He finished the game 2-for-4 with six RBI and four runs scored. He finished the weekend with five walks, seven RBI 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 batters and recorded his first win of the season.
In the top of the first inning Rice managed to take its first lead of the series with a solo home run. That was the only run Witt would allow.
The Longhorns came right back though to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first. Eric Kennedy legged out an infield single before Melendez and Mitchell Daly both walked to load the bases. Silas Ardoin hit a sacrifice fly to right field and the Longhorns stole a second run on the play after a failed run-down allowed Melendez to cross the plate.
Texas extended the lead to 6-1 in the fourth inning with a pair of home runs, starting with a leadoff blast by Trey Faltine. After Douglas Hodo III singled and Kennedy walked, Melendez launched 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 clear the centerfield 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 ahead of three-straight walks by Kennedy, Melendez and Daly. Ardoin then chopped an RBI infield single and Faltine worked another RBI walk.
Melendez launched his second homer of the game in the sixth inning, a three-run blast to make the score 13-1. Kennedy added the final run in the seventh with an RBI single to drive in Dylan Campbell.
Luke Harrison, Daniel Blair and Lebarron Johnson Jr. all made their Texas debuts out of the bullpen. Harrison and Blair both pitched scoreless innings for the Longhorns. Aaron Nixon finished off the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Texas will now head on the road for the first time, traveling to Corpus Christi to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday and Wednesday at Whataburger Field.