EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Ivan Melendez made history on Friday night in Austin, drilling his 28th home run of the season in an 8-1 Texas win over Kansas.
The big fly tied the Longhorns’ single-season record for home runs, equaling the 28 home runs Kyle Russell hit for Texas in 2007. Melendez’s tying bomb came on the third pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning and extended his hitting streak to 20 games, five off of the Texas record of 25 games.
He hit the home run in front of his parents and two younger brothers, who were all able to make the trip to Austin to see him play for the first time this season. Moreover, his cousin is the one who got the history-making baseball.
“It’s definitely an honor. There have been so many prestigious players that have come to this university, I’m definitely honored,” said Melendez after the game.
Melendez and the 22nd-ranked ‘Horns are trying to close the regular season strong and sweep the Jayhawks heading into the Big 12 Tournament next week in Arlington. A sweep this week and a strong showing next week could secure Texas the right to host an NCAA Regional.
‘The Hispanic Titanic’ is arguably the best player in college baseball this season and will have a major claim to winning the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s best player. After Friday’s win, Melendez is hitting .424 with 28 home runs and a .955 slugging percentage, all of which lead the nation. His 84 RBI are second behind Carlos Contreras of Sam Houston, who is also from El Paso.
Melendez will have one more chance in the regular season to break the Texas single-season home run record when the Longhorns play Kansas at 1:30 p.m. MT on Saturday in Austin. If he doesn’t break it Friday, he’ll have the chance to do it in the postseason, too.