MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns baseball team couldn’t get the sweep Sunday against West Virginia, losing 8-6, but won the series behind two wins Saturday in a doubleheader.
It was the first time in school history the Horns have won a Big 12 Conference series in Morgantown, but a sweep would have been better in terms of making a case to host an NCAA regional tournament. With the two wins, Texas moves to 11-10 in the Big 12 Conference and 34-17 overall, but is projected by D1Baseball.com to be a No. 2 seed in a regional. Currently, the website has the squad headed to Baton Rouge for a regional hosted by Louisiana State.
With five games remaining in the regular season, all at home, plus the Big 12 Conference tournament, the Longhorns still have time to convince the selection committee to put games at UFCU Disch-Falk Field — but it’s running thin.
It’s more than likely going to take a strong showing at the Big 12 Conference tournament to move the needle with the committee. Texas has a season-ending series with last-place Kansas, and two other midweek nonconference games against Texas Southern and Sam Houston State. The trio of opponents is way down the RPI list the selection committee uses to help pick the field — the highest being Sam Houston State at No. 121 as of Sunday evening.
The selection committee will announce the NCAA tournament field May 30.
Here’s a series recap of Texas’ 2-1 win over the Mountaineers:
Saturday: W 5-2, W 11-0 (7 innings)
After Friday’s game was scrubbed due to weather, the Horns blasted off with 16 runs on Saturday, buoyed by three home runs by first baseman Ivan Melendez. He crushed two homers in the second game that ended in run-rule fashion and drove in six runs across the double-dip.
Melendez now has 25 home runs this season, the second-most in program history for a single season.
Pete Hansen nearly went the distance in Game 1 with 8 2/3 innings pitched before Tristan Stevens came in to get his first career save. Hansen allowed two runs on six hits with eight strikeouts. He’s now 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 12 starts this year.
Douglas Hodo III and Austin Todd both reached base three times in the first game.
In Game 2, Lucas Gordon hurled a gem and pitched all seven innings behind a tremendous offensive showing. Gordon faced 22 batters, just one batter over the minimum, allowing just two hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
Melendez hit a pair of homers in the rout. Austin Todd, Trey Faltine and Hodo also went deep for the Horns in Game 2.
Sunday: L 8-6
The previous good fortune on the mound didn’t materialize in Game 3 for Texas. Zane Morehouse started and made it through two innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits. Stevens made another bullpen appearance, and allowed three runs on three hits in 52 pitches over three innings.
West Virginia scored three runs in both the second and sixth innings to respond to whatever the Texas offense provided. A three-run double in the sixth gave the Mountaineers a 7-5 lead.
Dylan Campbell had three hits for Texas with two RBIs. Hodo has a pair of hits with two RBIs.
What’s next for the Longhorns
Texas hosts Texas Southern at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and has the weekend off of Big 12 Conference play. The Longhorns welcome Sam Houston State in another nonconference midweek game May 17, and then wrap up Big 12 regular season play May 19-21 against the Jayhawks.