UTRGV baseball blanks Grand Canyon to win Game 2

Graphic via UTRGV Athletics.

The UTRGV baseball team defeated the Grand Canyon (GCU) Lopes, 5-0, in the second game of a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) series Saturday in front of 4,313 fans at UTRGV Baseball Stadium in Edinburg.

The crowd is the second-largest for UTRGV since moving to the stadium in 2002.

Junior pitcher Jacob Limas set the tone with his solid start, pitching six scoreless innings with four hits, six strikeouts and two walks. He picked up the win for the Vaqueros (12-9, 2-3 WAC).

Graduate student CJ Valdez drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the first. GCU (12-10, 6-2 WAC) starter Connor Mattison loaded the bases after a walk, and Valdez notched the RBI with a groundout to shortstop. A flyout to right kept any other runs from coming across.

The defenses controlled the next few innings, until the Vaqueros broke through again in the fifth. Senior shortstop Kade York made it 2-0 with a solo homerun to left field, getting the crowd riled up with his bat after doing so with his defense several times in the innings prior. York turned two double plays in the game, showing his range to the middle of the field and quick footwork.

Senior Isiah Campa came out of the bullpen for the seventh and worked an efficient three up, three down inning. In the bottom half of the frame, junior Martin Vazquez blew the game open with one mighty swing.

GCU’s senior reliever Shawn Triplett walked junior Hank Warren to start the inning, and he later advanced to third after a fielder’s choice by senior Adrian Torres forced an error to put two runners on. Torres stole second soon after, putting two in scoring position. Then, Vazquez sent a 2-2 pitch deep over the left field wall to increase the lead to 5-0.

Campa and Co. worked quickly in the final two innings. The right-handed pitcher trusted the defense behind him to make plays, and the Vaqueros came through, ending the game by sitting down six of seven batters faced. Campa earned the save after tossing three scoreless innings and allowing just one hit with one strikeout.

York and junior Isaac Lopez notched two hits each against the Lopes’ staff. Mattison took the loss after pitching six innings and allowing two runs on four hits while striking out nine and walking one

The Vaqueros and Lopes will play for the series win at noon Sunday back at UTRGV Baseball Stadium.