Nine-run fifth leads UTRGV past Tarleton

The UTRGV baseball team erupted for nine runs during the fifth to earn a series victory over the Tarleton State Texans by winning 11-1 in seven innings Sunday at UTRGV Baseball Stadium to take three out of four games in the series.

Junior Edinburg Vela alum RJ Ochoa led the Vaqueros (25-21, 16-12 WAC) by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Graduate student Joseph Impeduglia went 1-for-2 with two walks, two RBIs and one run scored. Junior Freddy Rojas Jr. also drove in two runs. Graduate student Andy Atwood reached a team-best four times with a hit and three walks, scoring once and driving in a run.

Sophomore Diego Ramirez singled, walked and scored twice. Sophomore Angel De La Cruz also scored twice.

The Vaqueros led 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Jacobs (0-2) got ahead of De La Cruz 0-2 before plunking him. One out later, graduate student Coleman Grubbs doubled and then Jacobs intentionally walked Atwood to load the bases. Rojas followed with a two-run single, on which a throwing error allowed Atwood to move to third. Another error allowed Atwood to score.

Then, after a single by Christian Sepulveda, Ochoa hit an RBI single. Ramirez followed with a walk to load the bases and then Impeduglia walked to force-in a run. De La Cruz and senior Jacob Hirsh hit back-to-back RBI singles before Grubbs was plunked to force-in a run. Atwood then drew another walk to drive in the final run of the inning. In total, the Vaqueros scored nine runs on six hits, four walks and two hit batsmen, while sending 15 batters to the plate.

That made a winner of junior Ricky Gerik Jr. (3-2), who pitched a perfect inning of relief.

The Vaqueros initially got on the board during the second. Ochoa led off with a double and then Ramirez hit a fly ball to deep center field. Wade Raburn got there but closed his glove too soon, dropping the ball and allowing Ochoa to score while Ramirez went to third. Impeduglia followed with an RBI single to make the score 2-0.

Sophomore Colten Davis started for the Vaqueros and pitched 4.0 scoreless innings, striking out three while allowing two hits and two walks.

The Texans (20-31, 13-19 WAC) scored their run in the fifth, putting two on with no one out, before Dean Frew scored when Spencer Bloom grounded into a double play.

UTRGV opens its final home series, a four-game set against Northern Colorado, at 6 p.m. Friday at UTRGV Baseball Stadium.