AUSTIN, TEXAS (KTSM) – Ivan Melendez led the state of Texas in home runs as a senior at Coronado High School, so what he’s doing right now shouldn’t be that surprising.
The former T-Bird, turned Texas Longhorn hit a pair of mammoth home runs in fourth-ranked Texas’ 9-2 win over Kansas State on Sunday. Melendez has now homered in six consecutive games; he needs to do it in two more to tie the NCAA Division I record.
“Hitting is one of the hardest things you can do in sports, but my preparation leading up to the game like setting the machine on high velocity, going into the game it translates,” Melendez said.
On the season, Melendez is tied for the team lead with eight home runs, seven of them coming in the last half-dozen ballgames. He’s also hitting .375 with 30 RBI, both of which are the best on the Longhorns roster.
Lightly recruited with only one Division I scholarship offer (New Mexico State) out of high school, Melendez went the junior college route, playing for two seasons at Odessa College. In his only full season in 2019 (2020 was shortened due to the pandemic), Melendez hit .411 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI, and was named an NJCAA All-American.
“He’s pretty humble and appreciative of the opportunities he gets,” said Melendez’s high school baseball coach at Coronado, Choppy Orozco. “He has something special as a hitter, he always has. He’s a good hitter, he’s not just a home run hitter.”
Melendez is arguably the best hitter on the Longhorns’ roster, and the numbers are backing it up right now. He’s hoping to lead Texas back to the College World Series later this year, and the Longhorns appear to have a great chance of doing so. His MLB Draft stock is also likely skyrocketing with the season he’s currently having, so don’t be surprised if he hears his name called.
Through it all, he’s proud to represent El Paso and knows the Sun City is behind him.
“It means everything to me, back home I have a strong support system, everyone in El Paso has love for each other,” Melendez said. “It’s a great community and I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Melendez and the ‘Horns host Nevada for a pair of games on Tuesday and Wednesday, in which he’ll try to homer twice and tie the NCAA record. If he gets it done those days, he could break it Friday against Abilene Christian.