LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Texas baseball team secured its first Big 12 series sweep of the season Saturday afternoon, as the No. 9 Longhorns exploded offensively to defeat Kansas 11-2.
The Longhorns carried over momentum from their previous two victories over the Jayhawks, and moved to 7-2 in Big 12 play, and 20-8 overall. Kansas (15-11) dropped to 1-5 in conference action.
Texas won the first game, 5-2, Thursday victory behind eight innings from starter Ty Madden. Madden challenged the Jayhawks throughout his outing, and allowed just seven hits, one earned run and struck out five, and improved his season record to 4-1.
Second baseman Mitchell Daly continued to stand out at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two runs and one run batted in. Daly and first baseman Zach Zubia highlighted the first inning with back-to-back singles as Texas pushed a run across and in the fifth, it was Daly again, driving in left fielder Eric Kennedy from second to give Texas a 2-1 lead. That sealed the victory for the Horns, who extended the advantage to 5-1 before Kansas tallied one in a minor ninth-inning rally.
Friday's game followed a similar pattern as starter Tristan Stevens (4-1) and reliever Cole Quintanilla combined for nine scoreless innings as the Horns earned a 7-0 win Friday. Stevens tossed seven innings, striking out four, allowing seven hits and walking none in the longest outing of his collegiate career.
Zubia gave Texas an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single through the middle that scored Daly, who had walked and was standing on second. That was the only run the Longhorns needed, though they added insurance runs in the second, sixth, eighth and ninth innings.
Designated hitter Ivan Melendez scored UT's only run in the sixth, He began the inning with a hard-hit double down the left field line. Right fielder Douglas Hodo III executed a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt, and center fielder Mike Antico drove Melendez home from third on a long sacrifice fly to right field.
Melendez finished the day with the exact stat line Daly had Thursday: 4-for-5 with two runs and one RBI. Zubia's two hits made him the only other Longhorn who had a multi-hit game.
The offensive firepower continued in the third game of the series Saturday, as KU's pitching staff could not find a way to silence the Texas bats.
The Longhorns swatted three home runs in the contest, the only homers by either team in the series. Third baseman Cam Williams launched his team-leading seventh of the season in the third inning, and also scored Daly, who had singled in the second at-bat of the frame.
The Horns pushed a total of four runs across in the inning, taking a 3-0 lead on Williams' home run before adding another on a RBI base hit off the bat of Hodo. The scoring continued in the fourth with two runs, and the Horns pushed five across over the final two innings.
Melendez hit his second homer of the year to lead off the eighth, and gave Texas a 7-0 advantage. Antico capped Texas' scoring with a three-run long ball that barely stayed fair as it traveled along the right field line. Hodo was on first and Williams at second when the center fielder took Kansas reliever Gabriel Sotomayer's pitch over the wall, and gave the Longhorns a 11-2 lead.
Kansas scored a single run in the fourth and eighth innings, but hardly cut into the Longhorn lead.
Four pitchers combined for the victory, and starter Kolby Kubichek earned the win to move to 3-2 on the season.
Freshman Lucas Gordon tossed a three-up, three-down ninth inning, and struck out KU's final two batters to conclude the game.
Up next for Texas is a 10-game homestand that includes a Big 12 series against Kansas State. Abilene Christian comes to Austin for a three-game non-conference set the following weekend, and duels against Nevada, Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M Corpus-Christi are also on tap.
The Horns host the (TAMU-CC) Islanders at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in a game that can be seen on Longhorn Network.