RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros baseball team opened the season with a 12-7 loss to the Baylor Bears, a team receiving votes in the preseason Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA polls, in game one of a doubleheader on Sunday at UTRGV Baseball Stadium.
Graduate student Christian Sepulveda led the Vaqueros (0-1) offensively by going 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, a career-high tying four RBI and two runs scored.
Sepulveda hit his home run, a three-run shot, in the sixth to bring the Vaqueros to within 12-7. He doubled leading off the third before scoring and added a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Junior Brett Cain gave the Vaqueros the lead in the second inning by muscling an opposite field home run over the left-center field wall.
The Bears (1-0) responded against senior Kevin Stevens (0-1) immediately, as Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo hit a two-run home run and Andy Thomas followed with a three-run shot to make the score 5-1.
The Vaqueros got one back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI-single by junior DeAndre’ Shelton.
In the top of the fourth, though, Jared McKenzie hit a home run and then the Bears added three more unearned runs on a two-run double by Thomas and an RBI-single by Davion Downey to go up 9-2.
The Vaqueros loaded the bases twice in the bottom of the inning, scoring on the Sepulveda sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk by Spencer Serven.
Hambleton Oliver (1-0) issued the walk to Serven before settling down to pitch 1.1 hitless innings of relief for the win.
The Bears added three more runs in the fifth on a McKenzie home run.
Jacob Ashkinos pitched three scoreless innings for the save.
RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros baseball team rallied back from an 8-0 deficit to beat the Baylor Bears, a team receiving votes in the preseason Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA polls, 9-8 on Sunday at UTRGV Baseball Stadium.
This is the third-straight year in which the Vaqueros (1-1) have defeated a Big 12 team during their opening series, beating Kansas State twice and No. 16 Oklahoma State once at home each of the last two years.
The Vaqueros trailed 8-0 after four and a half innings, but broke through against Tyler Thomas in the fifth when freshman Spencer Serven golfed a two-run home run into the Baylor bullpen to make the score 8-2.
That was it against Thomas, who pitched 6.0 innings, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out four.
The Vaqueros rallied in the seventh against Travis Hester, as Serven drove-in a run with a single, graduate student Coleman Grubbs hit a two-run single and then, one batter later, graduate student Andy Atwood smashed a three-run home run down the left field line to tie the game.
Then, with a runner at third and two outs in the eighth, Serven hit a grounder to the left side against Logan Freeman (0-1) and beat the throw by a half step to drive-in the winning run.
That made a winner of junior Deryk Serbantez (1-0), who struck out four across two scoreless innings to end the game.
The Bears (1-1) sent eight batters to the plate in the first, platting runs on a fielder’s choices by Andy Thomas and Trey Richardson and a double by Davion Downey.
Chase Wehsener, the only Bear that didn’t bat in the first, led off the second with a home run to make the score 4-0.
An Antonio Valdez RBI-single give the Bears a 5-0 lead in the third.
The Bears added three runs in the fifth on singles by Valdez, Wehsener and Jared McKenzie.
UTRGV and Baylor complete this three-game series on Monday at 1 p.m. at UTRGV Baseball Stadium. The game will be played with attendance limited only to families of the student-athletes and coaches on the team pass lists. Concession stands will not be open as UTRGV Athletics does not want to try resupplying the concessions stands during a time at which members of the community are trying to fill their own pantries.