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No. 5 Texas sweeps Kansas

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The Longhorns took care of business in Lawrence with comfortable wins on Friday and Saturday.

Cam Williams
Texas baseball

The No. 5 Texas Longhorns head into Easter with a three-game winning streak after sweeping the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence with a 7-0 win on Friday and an 11-2 win on Saturday.

Now at 20-8 overall and 7-2 in conference play, the Longhorns sit in second place in the Big 12 standings with a home series against the 1-4 Wildcats looming next weekend following two midweek games.

Right-hander Tristan Stevens led the way on the mound for Texas on Friday, allowing seven hits over 7.0 innings with four strikeouts and no walks, although he did hit a Kansas batter. As usual, Stevens was able to induce groundouts with his sinking fastball and his slider, relying on his infield defense for 12 putouts.

In relief, right-hander Cole Quintanilla continued his stellar season and increasingly looks like a reliable option at the back end of the bullpen with one hit allowed and two strikeouts over 2.0 innings of work to close the game.

At the plate, Texas scored its seven runs on 11 hits, led by four hits from designated hitter Ivan Melendez, who had one of the two doubles for the Longhorns on the day and scored two runs. Facing a No. 1-quality starter in Cole Larsen for Kansas, Texas broke the game open late after getting to Larsen early, scoring runs in each of the first two innings before scoring four runs against three Jayhawks relievers. Both extra-base hits came in the ninth inning as the Longhorns were relentless in putting the game away.

The No. 3 starter, diminutive left-hander Eli Davis, had been solid for Kansas this season with a 2.90 ERA and a complete game to his credit. On Saturday, however, Texas jumped all over Davis in the third and fourth inning, knocking him from the game after allowing six earned runs on 10 hits with solid execution, scoring runs on two singles, two groundouts, and a two-run home run by third baseman Cam Williams, his team-leading seventh of the season.

Texas added two more home runs in the game — a solo shot from designed hitter Ivan Melendez in the eighth inning, his third hit of the game, and a three-run blast from center fielder Mike Antico in the ninth inning.

Right-hander Kolby Kubichek turned in another solid performance, working 6.0 innings and allowing only a single run, although he did have to work out of some trouble thanks to two hit batters, four walks, and six hits allowed — he did not have his best control on Saturday, but he competed on the mound. Like Stevens, Kubichek allowed his infield to get outs with his sinker, forcing 13 groundouts. In the fourth inning, a double play got Kubichek out of a bases-loaded jam.

Right-hander Tanner Witt gave up a run in the eighth inning and allowed two walks, but right-hander Palmer Wenzel and left-hander Lucas Gordon were able to get the final five outs without drama.

Texas returns to UFCU Disch-Falk Field for midweek games against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Stephen F. Austin. In early March, the Longhorns beat the Islanders 12-1 in Austin.