A Few Degrees of Difficulty

UTRGV
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Junior Pitcher Max Balderama Jr.’s 90 MPH fastball is only exceeded by his grades in the classroom. 

“He’s definitely one of the top five percent of academic baseball players that we’ve coached,” UTRGV Head Baseball Coach Derek Matlock said. “You don’t see a lot like him.” 

In just his third year at UTRGV, Balderama has an associates degree in business and a bachelors in business management. Come December, Balderama will add a masters in business administration with a focus on international trade to the list. 

Oh… and he is only 20 years old. 

In high school, Balderama participated in a dual-credit program, allowing him to attend college courses in the morning and high school courses in the afternoon. 

“They told me I wouldn’t be able to do it because I played baseball,” Balderama said. “I never really had off time.” 

He completed the course, earned his associates degree and went on to college–A first for his family. 

“I’m a first-gen college student,” Balderama said. “Seeing how proud it really made my parents… It really meant a lot to me.” 

Balderama continues to make his family proud on the mound as well. 

In his first career start, Balderama pitched seven shutout innings and 10 strikeouts en route to a 19-0 win over the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His performance as both a reliever and starter has garnered the attention of Major League Baseball scouts. 

 Should that opportunity come his way, Balderama will jump at the opportunity to play in the pros, but, if another year in school comes to fruition, he plans to keep learning. 

“I haven’t really thought that far,” Balderama said. “A doctorate is two years, so I’d probably just start that and see what happens.” 

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