MESA (KVEO) – Senior Jacob Hirsh belted a walk-off three-run home run to send the third-seeded the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros baseball team to a 5-4 victory over the sixth-seeded Utah Valley University Wolverines in the opening round of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament on Wednesday at Hohokam Stadium.
After earning its first-ever WAC Tournament victory, UTRGV (30-24) advances to the quarterfinals to face second-seeded Sacramento State (34-20) on Thursday at 5 p.m. Fans in the United States can watch online via ESPN+. Fans outside the United States can watch online at WACDigitalNetwork.com.
The Vaqueros trailed 4-2 entering the ninth. Graduate student Joseph Impeduglia and sophomore Angel De La Cruz led off with a single. One batter later, Hirsh sent the first pitch he saw from Dylan Cook (0-2) over the right-field wall to end the game. It was Hirsh’s fourth home run of the season, all of which have come over the last month.
Impeduglia finished a career-best 3 for 4 with a double. He is now 9 for his last 15 (.600) with five doubles. De La Cruz went 2-for-4 with a double.
The Vaqueros scored their other runs with two outs in the third against Mason Gray on an RBI triple by graduate student Andy Atwood and an RBI single by sophomore Diego Ramirez.
Gray pitched 7.1 innings, allowing seven hits and two walks while striking out four.
The Wolverines (10-46) scored single runs in each of the first three innings against senior Kevin Stevens. Brandon Luna came up with an RBI single with two outs in the first. Mick Madsen used a groundout to score a run in the second. Alexander Marco lifted a sacrifice fly in the third to put the Wolverines up 3-0.
Stevens settled down from there and didn’t allow a run over his next four innings. He pitched 8.1 innings, striking out five while allowing 12 hits and no walks.
This was Stevens’ fourth-straight start with allowing a walk, extending his streak to 31.1 innings, during which time he has struck out 30.
The Wolverines added another run in the ninth on a wild pitch that scored Connor Hall