Barrera shining bright for Texas State; Valencia wins conference title

TJ GARCIA | SPECIAL TO THE MONITOR

McALLEN — Dalilah Barrera signed to play softball for Texas State last year.

The Mercedes junior drew lots of attention at Temple Junior College where she earned First Team All-America status and helped the Leopards win the NCAAJC National Championship in 2018.

Now in San Marcos suiting up for the Bobcats, she is Texas State softball.

Barrera has pitched in 10 of Bobcats’ 14 games, and so far this season she owns five of Texas State’s seven wins. To call her the team’s workhorse is like saying Cat Osterman was a decent pitcher. Barrera is bringing it, and the Bobcats are counting on her as their No. 1 hurler.

The 5-foot-7-inch right-hander is officially 5-1 and Texas State is 7-7. Through Sunday, Barrera sports a 3.68 ERA while having struck out 48 batters in 45.2 innings pitched. She has walked just 18 and her opponents have a .251 average.

Perhaps her best performance to date was a 12-3 victory over San Jose State in which she fanned nine batters while walking two, surrendering just two hits and two runs over six innings.

Keep in mind that Barrera, a former All-Area, All-State pick for the Tigers who is an exceptional talent, is just months away from playing JUCO ball. She’s in full-on NCAA DI now, and there’s an adjustment period for most players. She seems to be adjusting just fine.

PALMVIEW’S VALENCIA CONFERENCE CHAMP AT UH

Felipe Valencia

Call it a double-double for Felipe Valencia at the University of Houston. The senior shot-putter extraordinaire from La Joya Palmview was named Athlete of The Week by the American conference for his performance at a Texas A&M University meet recently. Valencia’s winning throw of 59-4.75 (18.10m) gave him his third shot put win of the season.

Fast forward to last weekend and the American’s No. 1 athlete in the shot put won the American Indoor Track and Field Championships with a throw of 60-4 (18.39 meters). The Houston Cougars went on win the men’s and women’s indoor titles. The red-shirt senior, and former high school state champion, first won the American conference indoor title back in 2016.

RGC’S NUNEZ HITTING NEW HEIGHTS AT CENTRAL

Rodrigo Nunez

Rodrigo Nuñez is used to standing out. Or up. The 6-foot-8 former Rio Grande City All-District selection is now playing college basketball with the  Central Christian College Saints in Missouri. But now the freshman is gaining notice for play on the court.

Nunez is nearly averaging a double-double for the Saints. In 18 games played for the 13-15 Saints, the freshman post has averaged 13.4 points per game (third best on team) and a team-best 8.2 rebounds per contest. He has posted several double doubles and is team’s leader in blocked shots going away with 38 (or two per game). CCC is a small Christian college that plays in a national Christian league.

PSJA MEMORIAL’S GONZALEZ HITS NEW BESTS FOR UTRGV

Michael Gonzalez

UTRGV thrower Michael Gonzalez was at his best at the WAC Indoor Track & Field Championships last weekend. Gonzales posted personal records in the shot put and the weight throw for the Vaqueros — finishing second in the weight and third in the shot — to help UTRGV earn second place at the conference meet that took place in Idaho.

Gonzalez marked a 54-4 throw in the weight competition, improving his best mark by at least five feet. In the shot put, the former high school regional champ at PSJA Memorial, posted a 54-2½ toss that was good enough for the bronze medal and about three feet better than his  previous best (indoor or outdoor). At last year’s WAC indoor meet, Gonzalez’ best throw was 47-10½.

BROWNSVILLE VETS’ RUDD SPARKS TRINITY TO PLAYOFFS

Jordan Rudd

Jordan Rudd, a Brownsville Veterans Memorial product, has played her way into an important starting role for the Trinity University Tigers. The 5-foot-5-inch guard is sixth on the team in scoring with 5.1 points per game. However, Rudd is contributing in many other ways. She’s making nearly 50 percent of her threes and she’s tied for a team-best in assists with 3.3 per game.

The sophomore is also third on team in steals with 1.7 per game. Perhaps her best game of year was a 17-point, six rebounds, three steals effort against Pacific Lutheran while helping guide Division III Trinity into the postseason. The Tigers wrapped up their regular season schedule with a 21-4 overall record and a league-best 14-2 mark going  into the conference tournament.