UTRGV first baseman/outfielder Brandon Pimentel has signed a free agent contract with the Washington Nationals organization, he announced Friday.
The El Paso native Pimentel played two seasons at UTRGV in 2022 and 2023 and finished as the Vaqueros’ all-time leader in home runs (31) and batting average (.389). He was also part of Mississippi State’s national championship winning team in 2021 prior to transferring to UTRGV.
“It’s exciting. It’s always one of the dreams I’ve always had and just getting the opportunity to fulfill that dream and get to work is exciting,” Pimentel said. “It was kind of just a waiting game after the draft. Eventually they called and we were able to work something out at the end of the day and I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
Pimentel wrapped up his career as the Jody Ramsey Memorial Award winner, an All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) First Team and WAC All-Defensive Team selection and a two-time national player of the week.
He became the first player in UTRGV history to hit 10-plus home runs in multiple seasons. Pimentel tied for the fifth most RBIs (120) and recorded ninth-most hits (175) in program history. He also went 70 games without an error in left field or at first base, the third-longest streak in program history.
Pimentel said going undrafted motivated him to hit the ground running with the Washington Nationals organization. He said his goal is to be playing Double-A ball in the next couple years and climb the ladder through the minor leagues as quickly as possible.
“It definitely lit a fire under me, but it happens. It didn’t go as planned, but I still got the opportunity and I’m just ready to get to work,” he said.
Pimentel will look to become the sixth UTRGV alumnus to ever reach the major leagues as a player. Five have done it previously, including Dusten Knight, who made his debut with the Baltimore Orioles in 2021 and saw time with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2022, third baseman George Williams, who played for the Oakland A’s from 1995-97 and the San Diego Padres in 2000, catcher Dan Firova, who played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1981-82 and the Cleveland Indians in 1988, infielder Wayne Tyrone, who played for the Chicago Cubs in 1978, and outfielder Jim Tyrone, who played for the Cubs in 1972, 1974 and 1975 as well as the A’s in 1977.
There are currently four UTRGV alumni playing professional baseball, including Kevin Stevens (2020-22), who is with the Tampa Tarpons, the Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, Christian Sepulveda (2019-21), who is playing with the Inland Empire 66ers, the Single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, Conrado Diaz (2019-21), who is playing for the Algodoneros de Unión Laguna of the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, and Andy Atwood (2019-21), who is part of the Winston-Salem Dash, the High-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.