UTRGV salvages a split in doubleheader with Maine

The Vaqueros won game two of their afternoon-evening doubleheader. 

EDINBURG — Game one of Saturday’s afternoon-evening doubleheader looked a lot like UTRGV’s close win the previous night.

On Friday, UTRGV built a three-run lead through seven innings before Maine charged back to tie the game with three runs in the top half of the eighth inning. The opportunity later opened up for UTRGV to win another tight Friday night home game at UTRGV Baseball Stadium. The Vaqueros did just that after a base hit and subsequent throwing error allowed the winning run to score.

UTRGV roughed up Maine starter Eddie Emerson early and often on Saturday afternoon. Third baseman Tyler Torres picked up an RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the first, and shortstop Ivan Estrella cranked a three-run home run to give the Vaqueros a four-run lead after two innings.

Vaqueros starter and PSJA High alum Jorge Flores was virtually unhittable, shutting out the Black Bears through the first five innings. Maine clawed its way back again by putting up five runs in the sixth inning, chasing Flores from the game.

“At Lamar last week, he (Flores) went to 79 pitches, and he’s behind everybody, because he’s a Tommy John guy,” UTRGV coach Derek Matlock said. “When he got to 70 to start that next inning, you always go 15 above that, so he was ready for 95 on a scale going up each week. I don’t think it was about him being tired. I think he made some bad pitches. The error that he made really hurt him, but he really threw the ball well. He’s going to be a horse for us. The more starts he gets, the better he’s going to get.”

UTRGV scratched together a run on an RBI single by Austin Siener that forced the game into extra innings. The Black Bears scored two in the 10th and won game one 7-5.

“They (Maine) have got an older team,” Matlock said. “They’re tough and physical kids. Those kids from that part of the country don’t get to play outside as much baseball as our guys, but they have a real hunger to fight. They beat Miami last week, and they were the 24th-ranked team in the country. It’s hard to get them out in tough situations.”

On Saturday night, UTRGV let some of its offensive frustrations out on Maine starter Trevor DeLaite. DeLaite allowed 11 runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings in the Vaqueros’ 12-1 victory.

“It kind of goes like that when we go up against those kinds of arms (like DeLaite),” Matlock said. “We have to do better against those better arms when we get conference play going Friday night. To win a WAC championship, you’re going to have to go up against and beat those bigger arms.”

UTRGV (9-7) pitcher Trevelle Hill dazzled in the nightcap, throwing six innings of one-run baseball, allowing three hits, two walks and striking out four.

The only run Hill allowed came in the first inning.

“My first inning was a rough one. I couldn’t find my pitches,” Hill said. “That’s why they were able to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. As the game went on, I got stronger. The pitches were working with me better, and I settled in.”