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Newcomer pitching in for Jaguars

By BY THOMAS R. MARTINEZ
April 22, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2011 at 11:22 p.m.

UHV's Dawn Villegas, a sophomore from San Marcos, comes in to relief pitch in the fourth inning in Game one against Texas Southern on Friday.



Pink SaturdayThe Jaguars will wear pink socks in their games on Saturday for breast cancer awareness, coach Keri Lambeth said. The team also encourages fans to wear pink, too.

Just call Dawn Villegas the Closer.

The University of Houston-Victoria sophomore pitcher relishes the role.

"I just try to come in and change the momentum of the game if it's needed," she said.

Case in point: The first game of the UHV Invitational Friday at Burdge Field, with the Jaguars down 4-3 to Texas Southern in the fourth inning.

Villegas relieved Junior Baylea Wagener with a runner on and shut down the Tigers for the remainder of the game.

"I just give our players a chance to score some runs," she said.

She did that, but the Jaguars fell short as Marley Moehrig was thrown out at the plate on Courtney Pettit's two-out single to end the game. The NAIA No. 10-ranked Jaguars lost 4-3 to the D-1 Tigers.

The Jaguars rebounded in their second game with a 8-0 win over Texas Wesleyan behind another strong performance by Emily Bergstrom. With the win, the Jaguars improved to 32-14 on the season. Texas Southern beat Texas Weselyan 9-3 in the other game of the first day of the Invite.

"She's been a breath of fresh air, honestly," UHV coach Keri Lambeth said about her sophomore pitcher. "She can come in and really get the job done."

Lambeth said Villegas is versatile. She can close out a game when the team is struggling or jump in with a spot start if needed, Lambeth said.

"She's young, she's still learning a lot. I'm confident that with each year, she's going to get better and better," Lambeth said.

Villegas came to UHV via Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio via San Marcos High School in San Marcos.

She says Our Lady wasn't a good fit for her. She likes it at UHV, though.

"I think we have a good chance of going to nationals and doing real well there," Villegas said. "The team has really meshed well together. When we play to the best of our ability, I don't think anyone can beat us."

Villegas also said she's improved as a pitcher since she arrived at UHV.

Pitching/assistant coach Lindsey Ferguson helped Villegas work on the movement of her pitches, Villegas said.

"She's been able to help me learn a lot," Villegas said. "She's helped me grow as a pitcher, command my pitches and make everything work."

At UHV, besides excelling on the field, Villegas is studying education, with an eye on teaching elementary school, probably math, she said.

Away from UHV, Villegas comes from a religious family, she said. She has two younger sisters and a brother. They hang out a lot at the ball fields. Even her father, Fabian, gets in on the action, as he plays slow-pitch softball.

"I love playing with them," Villegas said.

For their family, it's simple.

"It's either church or sports," she said.

NOTES: Pettit, a senior co-captain, had another strong day at the plate. She hit a towering homer, her team-leading 9th on the season, on the way to a 2-for-4 performance in the first game. She added a double in the second game, and had 3 RBI on the day.

"Lately I've just been kinda been on," Pettit said. "I've been focusing on the pitch I like to drive instead of trying to hit every one and being so anxious."

Allison Hinton went 3 for 6 with on the day and an RBI in the second game.

SOLID: Bergstrom had another shut out, going 5 innings in the 8-0 game 2 win. She worked out of a big jam in the first inning, and then faced little trouble the rest of the way. Wesleyan loaded the bases in the first with no out, on an error, an infield hit and a single to left. Bergstrom settled down, induced a weak fly ball to left and struck out the next two to end the threat. She improved to 17-4 on the season.

She allowed only 5 hits and had 7 strike outs.

DEFENSE: The Jaguars had a couple of outstanding defensive plays. Third baseman Hinton made a diving play on a bunted ball in the first game, making the catch. Bre'Neka "Shorty" O'Bryant had a nice running catch in the second game in centerfield.

UHV INVITATIONAL DAY 1

Game 1

Texas Southern 4, UHV 3

UHV 200 100 0 - 3 7 2

TS 004 000 x - 4 8 1

Baylea Wagener, Dawn Villegas (4) and Kristina Droz. Rebecca Villareal, Victoria Veyna (7) and Yesenia Torres. WP: Villareal. LP: Wagener. Highlights: UHV: Courtney Pettit 2-for-4, HR, RBI; Kori Kocian 1-for-3; Tara Williams 1-for-3, RBI; Allison Hinton 1-for-3; Kellie King 1-for-3, RBI; TS: Fitima Alvizo 2-for-3, R; Monica Castillo 2-for-4, R; Jessica Haynes 1-for-3, R, RBI; Charyce Arnold 1-for-3, RBI.

Game 2

Texas Southern 9, Texas Weselyan 3

TS 140 112 0 - 9 16 4

TW 201 000 0 - 3 8 0

Victoria Veyna, JoAnn Herrera (6) and Danielle Salazar. Ashley Hudson, Taylor Hodge (6) and Kali Jester. WP: Veyna. LP: Hudson. Highlights: TS: Fitima Alvizo 3-for-4, R, RBI; Salazar 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI; Tenesha Skrine 3-for-4, R, RBI; TW: Marissa Rangel 2-for-4, R; Raven Moreno 2-for-4, 2R; Christina Kelley 1-for-3, 2 RBI.

Game 3

UHV 8, Texas Wesleyan 0

TW 000 00 - 0 5 2

UHV 311 12 - 8 11 2

Emily Bergstrom and Kristina Droz. Ashley Tarrant and Haley Butler. WP: Bergstrom. LP: Tarrant. Highlights: UHV: Porsha Ramos 3-for-4, 3R, RBI; Kori Kocian 2-for-2, 2 R, RBI; Courtney Pettit 1-for-3, 2RBI; Allison Hinton 2-for-3, RBI; Ashley Winegeart 1-for-2, R, 2 RBI. TW: Raven Moreno 2-for-3; Ashliegh Jimenez 2-for-3; Tara Martinez 1-for-2.

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