UTRGV baseball drops second round WAC tourney game

Graphic via UTRGV Athletics.

The No. 7-seeded UTRGV baseball team fell to the No. 3 Utah Valley Wolverines 12-6 in the second round of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Wednesday at Hohokam Stadium, the spring training home of the Oakland A’s.

UTRGV plays in an elimination game on Thursday at 9 p.m. against the loser of Thursday’s 2 p.m. game between No. 1 Grand Canyon and the winner of Wednesday’s 6 p.m. game between No. 4 California Baptist and No. 5 Tarleton State. Fans can watch domestically on ESPN+ or internationally via WAC International.

The Vaqueros (28-24) knocked out Chase Hennessey after four batters, as senior Kade York started the game with a 6-pitch walk and freshman Easton Moomau reached on a fielder’s choice with an error that put runners at second and third. Junior Sharyland alum Martin Vazquez followed with a liner off Hennessey, who recovered and threw wildly toward the plate, allowing both runners to score. Graduate student CJ Valdez then drew a 4-pitch walk to end Hennessey’s outing.

York reached base three times, finishing 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. Moomau went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Valdez drew a career-high tying three walks.

Mitch Mueller (6-1) came in and retired the first 10 batters he faced. In the fourth, however, with the Vaqueros down 6-2, junior Steven Lancia hit a 1-out triple and junior Hank Warren grounded out to bring him home, making the score 6-3.

The Vaqueros pulled within 6-4 in the fifth on a Valdez sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the fifth, though, Nate Bach launched a 2-run home run to put the Wolverines (29-27) up 8-4.

The Vaqueros loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, leading to a run-scoring walk by graduate student Adrian Torres and an RBI-fielder’s choice by Lancia to bring the Vaqueros to within 8-6.

The Wolverines added four runs in the eighth when Matthew Schwarz scored on a passed ball, Calyn Halvorson hit a 2-run triple, and Bach lifted a sacrifice fly to make the score 12-6.

In his first-career start, junior Jack Lopez (0-1) racked up a career-high five strikeouts over 2.1 innings of 1-hit ball.

In the third, the Wolverines loaded the bases with one out. Cole Jordan walked to force-in a run and then Bach cleared the bases with a triple. Jayden Smith followed with an RBI-single. One batter later, with runners on the corners, Smith stole home as part of a double-steal to put the Wolverines up 6-2.