BY TJ GARCIA | SPECIAL TO THE MONITOR
McALLEN – Saul Garza, one of the more celebrated baseball prospects to come out of the Rio Grande Valley in recent times, is now suiting for Louisiana State.
Yes, the six-time College World Series champion LSU Tigers of the SEC. The 2019 No. 1-ranked Bayou Bengals, until this last weekend when they were swept by Texas. Nevertheless, Garza, the Edinburg North product, left Howard College in Big Spring after just one year and signed with LSU last year.
LSU is a college baseball powerhouse. It is an elite program with a huge fan base, 18 College World Series appearances and a long list of former players in Major League Baseball such as Astros’ infielder Alex Bregman and the Phillies’ No. 1 pitcher Aaron Nola.
Garza, at 6-foot-3-inches and 226 pounds and playing his natural position of catcher, has been impressive so far. The former St. Louis Cardinals’ draft pick is batting .308 (fourth best on team) with eight hits and eight RBIs in 26 at bats. The sophomore has started nine of 10 games this season.
The Tigers did not play well last weekend in Austin and notched their first losses of the season. Still, expect LSU to play deep in to the season. They do nearly every year including playing in the NCAA College World Series final in 2017.
EDINBURG’S REYES HELPS KINGSVILLE TO HOT START
Amber Reyes is no stranger to success. The former Edinburg Bobcat hit .588 last year as a senior and was named All-Area first team. In 2017, the pitcher and outfielder was named the All-Area MVP. So how does she follow that up? By batting .366 as a freshman for the Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelinas and by helping to lead the team to a 19-2 start.
Even though the Javelinas have one of the best D-II winning percentages in the country, they have not been ranked in the top 25. That might change soon. Reyes and her teammates took two from No. 8 Tarleton last week and they swept No. 2 Texas A&M-Commerce last weekend. Reyes, starting all 21 games as a freshman, has 26 hits and 16 runs scored. She’s perfect in the field posting 25 outs in 27 chances with two assists. The 5-foot-7 right fielder has struck out 10 times in 71 at bats.
SHARYLAND’S TREVINO GAINING NOTICE FOR ACU
The transfer to Division I Abilene Christian University from Navarro Junior College in 2017 was seamless for Sharyland baseball player Luis Trevino. The catcher was named All-Southland Conference and hit .366. Now, after red-shirting the 2018 season, the senior is at it again. He’s ACU’s staring catcher and is batting .362 and helping lead the Wildcats to 7-5 record.
Trevino, who was on a four-game hitting streak through last weekend, has 17 hits in 47 at bats with 11 RBIs and three home runs. He has struck out just four times. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Trevino is nearly perfect in the field, executing 42 putouts and seven assists in 50 chances. He has one error. From behind the plate, Trevino has thrown out five of 15 runners attempting to steal base.
BROWNSVILLE VETS’ LUCIO LEADING UTRGV GOLF
After spending the fall semester at the University of Houston, Brownsville Veterans Memorial alum Julie Lucio transferred to UTRGV. The Vaqueros’ golf program couldn’t be happier. The former state golf qualifier and regional champion is now swinging the clubs and hitting the greens in Edinburg. She’s played in just two tournaments for UTRGV, but is already making her mark.
At the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islander Classic, Lucio placed fourth overall with a three-day total of 225 (74, 72, and 79). She also sparked the Vaqueros to a fifth-place finish – their best showing of the 2018-19 season. Eleven teams competed in the Islander Classic. Lucio has competed in just one other tournament, the Texas State Invitational in San Marcos. The UTRGV invitational is set for March 11-12.
SAN BENITO’S VALLEJO COMES ON STRONG AT SCHREINER
Guard Miranda Vallejo played in all 26 of the Schreiner Mountaineers’ basketball games this season. Not bad for a freshman. The San Benito alum started two games to boot. The 5-foot-5 Vallejo was a 2018 All-District and MVP selection and a four-year starter for the Greyhounds and averaged 16.5 points per game over her high school career.
For Schreiner, Vallejo played 23 minutes a game and scored 6.3 ppg. She shot 39 percent from the floor including 38.1 percent from behind the three-point line connecting on 37 of 97 attempts. She tied for the team in lead in three-pointers. The Mountaineers started the season in a 1-13 hole. However, they went 5-7 to end the season. Vallejo scored in double figures in seven games with a season high of 17.