ALL ABOARD! Ivan Melendez, the Hispanic Titanic, returning for junior season

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Texas’ Ivan Melendez (17) singled up the middle to bring in a run by Mike Antico (5) in the eighth against Virginia during a baseball game in the College World Series Thursday, June 24, 2021, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Another key piece of the Longhorns’ run to the College World Series will be back next year.

On Wednesday, Ivan Melendez announced on Twitter that he’ll return for his junior season.

In the tweet, Melendez thanked the Miami Marlins, who drafted him 479th overall in the 16th round, before announcing his return and congratulating his teammates who were also drafted.

Melendez burst onto the scene in the middle of 2021 season when he hit seven home runs in a six-game stretch in early April earning him the nickname, “The Hispanic Titanic.” He led the team with 13 homers and he had a team-best .319 batting average.

In the CWS, he had four hits, including a three-run home run in the ninth inning of an elimination game against Mississippi State to keep UT’s season alive for one more game.

He’s the second big piece to announce his return for next season, joining pitcher Tristan Stevens, who didn’t get drafted and is taking advantage of the NCAA freezing eligibility this past season due to the pandemic.

In all, seven Longhorns were taken in the MLB Draft. Pitcher Ty Madden, who was taken 32nd overall in the competitive balance round, signed with the Tigers on Monday. Outfielder Mike Antico, pitchers Cole Quintanilla, a Cedar Park High School grad and Kolby Kubichek and third baseman Cam Williams have all signed with their respective teams. Zach Zubia is the only draftee who hasn’t made a decision yet.

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