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Texas 1B Gavin Kash among latest players to enter the NCAA transfer portal

Kash was a favorite to take over for Ivan Melendez at first base.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Texas vs Texas A&M Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Turnover continues for the Texas Longhorns with rising sophomore first baseman Gavin Kash among the latest players to enter the NCAA transfer portal during the 2022 season, according to multiple reports.

A 6’3, 198-pounder from Sour Lake Monsignor Kelly Catholic, Kash was ranked as the top first baseman in Texas in the 2021 recruiting class and the No. 20 player overall, as well as a top-250 national prospect, according to Perfect Game.

Kash started four games and received 23 total at bats as a freshman, hitting .174 with four hits, including one double, while struggling with nine strikeouts. Despite the contact issues, Kash was expected to compete to start at first base in 2023 following the departure of Ivan Melendez, a role that is now likely to fall to Waxahachie’s Jared Thomas.

One former Texas player to enter the transfer portal to find a new home is rising sophomore right-handed pitcher Joshua Stewart, one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2021 class who is now headed to Texas A&M, where his cousin Kohl Stewart signed before leaving for professional baseball.

A 6’2, 185-pounder with a fastball capable of reaching the mid-90s, Stewart was a top-150 prospect nationally, but struggled with his command and wasn’t able to secure a consistent role as a midweek starter or out of the bullpen. Stewart posted a 4.63 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 11.2 innings across 10 appearances, but also walked eight batters and allowed 13 hits.

With Stewart still possessing significant upside, his departure is a loss for the Longhorns pitching staff as head coach David Pierce searches for a replacement for Sean Allen, as well as volunteer assistant Troy Tulowitzki.

Rising redshirt junior right-hander Justin Eckhardt also entered the portal on Monday as a graduate transfer. Eckhardt started nine games over the last two seasons as a result of his appealing sinker/slider combination, but was never able to secure a regular role as a midweek starter, posting a 6.75 ERA last season and an 8.17 ERA this season as his batting average against ballooned from .208 to .297, including five home runs allowed in 2022.

Another portal entrant is rising redshirt junior right-hander Jace Hutchins, a College Station product who signed with Texas out of Blinn College with a mid-90s fastball and a changeup that Allen called elite when Hutchins signed. But despite those promising tools, Hutchins did not make an appearance for the Longhorns in 2021.

Rising junior right-hander Aaron Nixon previously entered the portal.