MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After taking a well-played and pitched first game of a Saturday doubleheader against West Virginia by the score of 5-2, Texas turned to the long ball to make the second game a blowout.
Led by the nation’s leading home run hitter, Ivan Melendez, who launched two bombs into the teeth of a strong wind, the Horns (34-16, 11-9) smashed a total of five big flies against three different WVU pitchers to take an 11-0 seven-inning mercy rule decision on Saturday evening and a win in the three-game series.
While head coach Randy Mazey often notes that 80% of doubleheaders are split because the losing team in game one gets an automatic boost into a tie to start game two, and thus has some momentum, that wasn’t the case in this one. Texas started its assault early with Melendez’ two-run blast in the first (his second of the afternoon), and proceeded to score another one in the second on a dropped third strike that allowed Dylan Campbell to cross the plate. Five more runs came in on a solo homer by Doug Fodo in the fourth and a two-run shot by Trey Faltine, capped by another two-run smacker from Austin Todd, both in the fifth to give the visitors command at 8-0.
To that point, West Virginia had but one hit — a single by Austin Davis — and he was erased on a double play that kept WVU’s attack even more anemic than what it had been in the opener. When Texas added three more over the next two innings, including a two-run laser shot from Melendez, the Mountaineers needed two runs to avoid the mercy rule ending in the bottom of the seventh, and a lone single from Alex Kahn was woefully short of what was necessary to keep the game going.
WVU starter Ben Hampton was battered early, giving up four runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings to take the loss. UT starter Lucas Gordon was magnificent, facing just one batter over the minimum and striking out five against no walks.
West Virginia will try to salvage one game of the set in Sunday’s 1 p.m. finale. Starting pitchers have not yet been announced, but WVU has had Zach Bravo in the Sunday slot throughout the conference season.
SEAMS AND BARRELS
WVU produced eight hits in its 16 innings at the plate, and six of them were singles. The Mountaineers managed to put one runner in scoring position over the same span.
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WVU again chose not to make any players available for interviews following the doubleheader. Mazey, after warning about asking questions concerning Texas’ 0-3 record last weekend against Kansas State, took queries for fewer than two minutes.
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Unable to get runners aboard, WVU could not get its running game going. Braden Barry was caught trying to steal in the Mountaineers’ only attempt, and two tries for bunt hits were both unsuccessful.
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Texas ripped 14 hits and scored in six of its seven at-bats.