UTRGV baseball falls vs. UTA in front of sellout crowd

Graphic via UTRGV Athletics.

EDINBURG — The UTRGV baseball team fell to the UT Arlington Mavericks 9-5 on Saturday at UTRGV Baseball Stadium in front of a sellout crowd of 6,044, the second largest in program history, on 956 Night.

The City of Edinburg drew the most fans, winning the inaugural Battle of the Cities.

The 6,044 fans drawn by UTRGV are the most in the Western Athletic Conference this season, passing Grand Canyon’s opening night draw of 5,281 for a game against Georgetown on Feb. 16. The last time a WAC institution drew a crowd this large was April 26, 2022, when UTRGV welcomed a program record 6,418 fans for a game against No. 6 Texas.

The Vaqueros (15-13, 5-6 WAC) trailed 3-2 entering the seventh. With one out, junior Hank Warren singled and senior Jalen Freeman reached on an error. Then, with two outs, senior Adrian Torres sent an 0-2 pitch to the right-center field wall for a go-ahead 2-run triple. Torres then scored on a wild pitch to give the Vaqueros a 5-3 lead.

The Mavericks (14-17, 9-5 WAC) got one back with two outs in the eighth on a wild pitch by junior Anthony Tejada, who pitched a career-high 2.0 innings of relief, striking out a career-high four.

The Mavericks opened the ninth with 5-straight hits against junior Francisco Hernandez (2-3), tying the game on a Ryan Black single and taking the lead on a Ryan Ellis single. Then, with one out, Parker Airhart hit a 3-run home run to complete the scoring.

That made a winner of Jacob Hasty (1-1), who pitched 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and one walk.

Warren, graduate student CJ Valdez, and freshman Armani Raygoza all finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. Warren added an RBI.

Raygoza’s first hit was the first for the Vaqueros and the first of three in a row with one out in the second to load the bases. Warren followed by hitting a groundball to short that was bobbled and drove-in Raygoza. Freeman followed with a hot shot to third that was fielded for a fielder’s choice but brought home Valdez, giving the Vaqueros a 2-1 lead.

That’s where the score stayed until the fourth, when Airhart snapped an 0-for-9 streak by the Mavericks with a solo home run against senior Zach Tjelmeland.

The Mavericks took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on an Ellis RBI-single.

Tjelmeland went 6.0 innings, striking out six while allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk.

The Mavericks scored their first run in the second on an RBI-fielder’s choice by Garrison Berkley.

UTRGV and UT Arlington complete the series at 12 p.m. Sunday at UTRGV Baseball Stadium. Fans can take advantage of the Family Fun Day: 4 for $44 promotion includes four general admission tickets, four drinks, and four hot dogs for $44.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at GoUTRGV.com/Tickets. Current UTRGV students receive free general admission with their student ID. All fans need to follow the clear bag policy, details of which can be found at GoUTRGV.com/ClearBag. Gates open at 11 a.m.

Fans can watch domestically on ESPN+.