Jaguars reach .500 with win over Javelinas
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Trent Wagner and Denver Diefenbach enjoyed returning to Riverside Stadium, but would have preferred a better outcome.
The University of Houston-Victoria put a damper on the Texas A&M-Kingsville freshmen's homecoming by claiming a 6-5 win on Tuesday night.
Jerrod Dugas' RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Anthony Phillips from second base to allow the Jaguars (18-18) to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season.
The Javelinas (17-14) scored all their runs in the first and second innings. St. Paul graduate Trey Mattox was the starting pitcher for Texas A&M-Kingsville and Memorial graduate Adrian Williams had an RBI single in the first inning.
Wagner, a Memorial graduate, started in right field and singled in the first inning.
"I've just been working hard," Wagner said. "It's a big step from high school ball to college ball. You have to make that adjustment and work to the next level."
Wagner was originally scheduled to redshirt this season, but played his way into the starting lineup.
"He came out and worked hard and he's kind of overtaken some other guys out there," said A&M-Kingsville coach Jason Gonzales, a Cuero graduate. "We thought we would like to redshirt him for his best interest but he forced our hand by getting out there and doing the job when he was given the opportunity. We'll continue to go with him and we look forward to the next three years with him here."
Diefenbach, a St. Joseph graduate, pitched the sixth inning and needed only seven pitches to retire the Jaguars in order.
"It's different," said Diefenbach, who has made all nine of his appearances in relief. "I'd much rather do what I did throughout high school and take my time warming up coming into the game and do what I do. It's different. It's a big job when you come into situations like that and the game's 5-5 and you really got to take care of business then and there."
Diefenbach is likely to get his chance to start in the future.
"Denver's been getting innings here and there," Gonzales said. "He's another great arm for us. He's just got to bide his time a little bit. He's pitching behind some upperclassmen that have been going deep into ballgames for us and he's going to be a good one for us."
The win was the first for UHV over NCAA Division II A&M-Kingsville in four tries.
"We're not really comparing apples to apples," said UHV coach Terry Puhl. "We're talking about a program with 111/2 scholarships and we're NAIA with one-third of the scholarships. I really take our cap off to our players."
The Jaguars rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 5-3 behind a pair of two-run home runs by John Longoria, including an inside-the-park homer off the center-field fence in the bottom of the first, and the relief pitching of Zack Moya, who did not allow a run in 7.1 innings.
UHV 6, A&M-Kingsville 5
A&M-Kingsville 230 000 000 - 5 9 0
UHV 300 020 001 - 6 7 2
One out when winning run scored
Trey Mattox, Clint Brown (4), Denver Diefenbach (6), Taylor Taska (7), Clay Stephens (8) and Cash Barker. Darrel Stevens, Zack Moya (2) and Jose Quintanilla. W: Moya (2-4). L: Stephens (4-2). Highlights: (AMK) Luis Diaz 2-for-4, 3 RBI; Adrian Williams 1-for-3, RBI; Cash Barker 2-for-3. (UHV) John Longoria 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2-run inside-the-park HR, 4 RBI; Jerrod Dugas 1-for-4, game-winning RBI. Records: A&M-Kingsville 17-14; UHV 18-18.