EDINBURG – Senior Alex Howe drove-in a career-high five runs while coming up a single short of the cycle to help the UTPA baseball team complete the sweep of North Dakota with a 13-4 victory on Sunday at Edinburg Baseball Stadium.
The Broncs’ (22-27, 12-9 WAC) magic number for clinch a spot in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament now stands at four. Any combination of Broncs wins and North Dakota (9-23, 8-10 WAC) losses that adds up to four over the course of the regular season will result in the Broncs clinching one of the six available spots in the tournament. Each team has six games remaining.
Howe got the Broncs on the board before an out was recorded, hitting a two-run triple in the first and then scoring on an RBI-single by senior Alberto Morales off of Alex Twenge (0-3) to make it 3-0.
With the game tied at 3-3 in the third, Howe and Morales drew one-out walks to set-up a three-run home run by sophomore PSJA alum Bryan Ramirez, his second of the season, to put the Broncs up 6-3.
With the lead cut to 6-4 in the sixth, the Broncs put runners at first and second with two outs. After RBI-singles by juniors Jesus Garcia and Evan Mason, Howe capped the inning by hitting a line drive to left that got past the diving Dalton Parrott and rolled all the way wall, resulting in an inside the park home run to make it 11-4.
It was Howe’s first-career inside the park home run and second by a Bronc this season. Howe now has five home runs, tied for the third most in the WAC. He also added a double in the fifth while finishing 3-for-4.
The Broncs plated two more runs in the seventh on a two-run single by senior Shane Ammon.
That made a winner of Alex Henson (2-2), who pitched a career-high eight and two-third innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks while striking out seven.