UTRGV baseball brings home three WAC honors

STAFF REPORT — The UTRGV baseball team learned on Tuesday that head coach Derek Matlock is the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year while senior Ryan Jackson is the All-WAC First Team relief pitcher and junior Christina Sepulveda is the All-WAC Second Team shortstop, as voted on by the WAC head coaches based on results during conference play.

In just his second season at the helm, Matlock led the program to a share of its first WAC Championship, first NCAA D-I conference championship and first since 1955 by going a program-best 19-8 in WAC play. Overall, UTRGV is 34-19, marking the program’s winningest season since 1991 (37-21). Matlock has guided the team to an 11-win (47.8 percent) improvement overall so far, and an 11-win (137.5 percent) improvement in WAC play.

Jackson was untouchable during WAC play, posting a 4-1 record, three saves and a 1.07 ERA. In 25.1 innings, the highest total among relievers on the team, Jackson struck out 33 while holding opponents to a .229 batting average. He led the WAC pitching appearances (15) and games finished (12) while ranking second in saves and tied for seventh in batters struck out looking (11).

Overall, Jackson is 5-3 with eight saves and a 1.30 ERA. In 41.2 innings he has struck out 58 while holding opponents to a .247 batting average. He led the WAC in saves, relief appearances (27) and games finished (21). The eight saves are also the third-highest single-season total in program history.

During his four-year playing career, Jackson has made 88 appearances, the 26th-highest total among active student-athletes in the NCAA. He ranks second among active WAC student-athletes with 15 saves and third in innings pitched with 209.

During WAC play, Sepulveda hit a team-best .336 with a .419 on-base percentage, .579 slugging percentage, seven home runs, five doubles, 28 RBI, 26 runs scored and three stolen bases in 27 games. He ranks fourth in the WAC in home runs, seventh in RBI and total bases (62), ninth in runs scored, and 10th in slugging percentage.

Overall, Sepulveda is hitting .285 with a .391 on-base percentage, .482 slugging percentage, nine home runs, 11 doubles, 40 RBI, 44 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 51 games. He ranks tied for ninth in the WAC in home runs.