EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The best player in college baseball is from the Sun City.

Ivan Melendez, a 2018 graduate of Coronado High School and a superstar first baseman the last two seasons for the Texas Longhorns, won the 2022 Golden Spikes Award on Friday night in a ceremony broadcasted by ESPN from the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Given annually to the best player in college baseball, the Golden Spikes Award is effectively the Heisman Trophy of college baseball. Melendez is the first player in the illustrious history of the Texas Longhorns baseball program to win the prestigious award and just the second from a school in Texas to win it, joining Baylor’s Jason Jennings (1999).

Melendez watched the ceremony and took part in a celebration with his mother, father, siblings, teammates and coaches in Austin at the Longhorns’ facility.

“It means everything. We play Oklahoma State, I got to talk to (1988 Golden Spikes winner) Robin Ventura. (2013 winner) Kris Bryant texted me after I broke his home run record,” Melendez said. “Realizing that real recognizes real, it just means everything knowing the history of baseball. Just being among the prestigious guys and having your name on that trophy, I can’t put into words this feeling.”

From early in the season, it was hard to argue that Melendez was anything but the best player in the country. He put up astronomical numbers, not seen in college baseball in nearly two decades.

He led the nation in home runs (32), RBI (94) and slugging percentage (.863); his 32 home runs are the most in college baseball since 2003 and the most by a player from a Power-5 conference since 2000.

A consensus First Team All-American, Melendez absolutely cleaned up in the post-season awards run. Not only did he win the Golden Spikes Award; he also won the Dick Howser Trophy; the D1Baseball Player of the Year Award; the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award; the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Player of the Year; and the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year.

He was also named the Big 12 Player of the Week a record five times during the season. Most importantly to Melendez, he played a huge role in leading the Longhorns back to the College World Series for the second season in a row.

Up next for Melendez after his Golden Spikes Award will be the MLB Draft in mid-July. Rated as a top-115 prospect by MLB.com, Melendez will likely hear his name called in the first 3-5 rounds of the draft and sign a lucrative signing bonus.

Time will tell what his professional baseball career holds, but three things are certain: Melendez will go down in history as the first Golden Spikes Award winner in Longhorn history, one of the best players to ever play for Texas and a legend out of El Paso.

“I have a strong support system in Austin and El Paso with all the kids and family friends rooting for me. I’m just blessed to have them in my corner,” Melendez said.