The UTRGV baseball team earned its first series victory over a Big 12 opponent since 2000 by defeating the Baylor Bears 7-4 on Monday at UTRGV Baseball Stadium.
The Vaqueros (2-1) took two out of three from the Bears (1-2), marking the second year in a row that the Vaqueros have opened the season with two wins in the opening series against Big 12 competition after splitting a four-game series against Kansas State last year.
This is the first time the Vaqueros have won a series against a Big 12 team since sweeping Texas Tech in a three-game series at home March 13-14, 2000.
“We beat Tech, we beat Oklahoma State, we beat Kansas State 2 out of 4, but we haven’t ever won the actual weekend. That shows me a lot that we won the series against (Baylor) instead of just catching one game here and there,” UTRGV head coach Derek Matlock said. “I was very excited about our offense, the pitching and the defense — the whole freaking will to want to win a series. You could tell they wanted it. There was energy in the dugout. I couldn’t be more proud of those guys. We have a lot to work on. We’re doing some things wrong, but we just need to keep playing and keep coaching and getting them better.”
The Vaqueros jumped on the board against Jimmy Winston (0-1) right away, scoring on a fielder’s choice by graduate student Coleman Grubbs in the first.
After an Antonio Valdez single tied the game in the second, the Vaqueros immediately responded with a run on a ground-rule double by freshman Spencer Serven and a two-run single by graduate student Conrado Diaz to take a 4-1 lead.
A Kyle Nevin single in the third brought the Bears to within 4-2 before junior Brett Cain hit an RBI-double in the fourth to push the Vaqueros’ lead to 5-2.
The two teams continued to trade runs, as a Chase Wehsener groundout made the score 5-3 in the sixth, but graduate student Christian Sepulveda answered with an RBI-single in the seventh to extend the Vaqueros’ lead to 6-3.
The Bears threatened again in the eighth, scoring on a Jack Pineda single and the loading the bases with two outs before junior Ricky Gerik Jr. got Andy Thomas to foul out.
Graduate student Andy Atwood gave the Vaqueros an insurance with a single in the eighth.
Senior Chase Bridges followed with a scoreless ninth for the save.
Sophomore Colten Davis (1-0) earned the win in relief, pitching 3.2 innings, striking out three while allowing two runs on four hits.
Sophomore Diego Ramirez had a big day offensively, going 3-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. Atwood finished 2-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored.
UTRGV visits Washington for a four-game series starting at 8 p.m. Friday on Pac-12 Plus.