UHV sweeps two from Texas Lutheran
Kristina Droz isn't one to let good information go to waste.
So each time the sophomore catcher for UHV knelt behind home plate to catch pitcher Emily Bergstrom Tuesday, she put down the same signal.
"Changeups," she said proudly. "I overheard their coach say, 'Don't swing at the first pitch changeup.'"
Naturally, that served as an invitation to Droz.
"So, it was pretty much giving us a first-pitch strike if (Bergstrom) could get it over the plate," she added.
The two worked in unison for 9 1/3 innings of Tuesday's doubleheader sweep of Texas Lutheran, 13-8 in Game 1, and 2-0 in Game 2. Bergstrom picked up wins in both games, allowing just one run total.
"They were a really aggressive team, I have nothing bad to say about them," she said.
Bergstrom didn't question Droz. The senior pitcher knows her catcher well, and knows she has a good idea of what she's calling and why.
"She was calling one heck of a game," Bergstrom said. "We were in sync completely. I was just trying to throw what she called."
The first game started out as a slugfest, with the the Bulldogs jumping out to a 5-2 lead in the second while sending nine batters to the plate. UHV responded by getting the first seven on in the bottom of the inning and notching seven six runs.
But starter Dawn Villegas struggled. Texas Lutheran touched her up for seven runs (three earned). The junior lasted four innings.
Enter Bergstrom. Her much more deliberate approach in the circle, and bevy of breaking pitches threw off the Texas Lutheran's lineup.
"I think Dawn and I complement each other so well," she said. "They got used to her throwing, and me coming in, I think it went well."
Bergstrom allowed only one run the rest of the way, helping UHV regain the lead with a big fifth inning, where the Jaguars roughed up Yoakum grad Megan Carmichael for five runs, including a Marley Moehrig grand slam.
The second game didn't involve such offensive theatrics. Neither team got a good hold of the ball as Bergstrom and Carmichael - who pitched 11 innings total Tuesday and took both losses - squelched rallies on both sides.
The big difference? UHV's ability to shut down the Bulldogs rallies thanks to Droz's ability to throw out runners stealing second.
She and shortstop Brittany Arredondo connected three times and twice in one inning to catch Texas Lutheran runners stealing.
"I've been having some trouble, me and Brittany, getting the throw there or getting the tag down on time," Droz said. "It just came together and I was making some good throws and she was putting down the tag well."
The Jaguars, now 19-5 overall, know what's ahead of them. They have a date Thursday with SWAC opponent Texas Southern in Houston. The schedule still has doubleheaders with three other NCAA Division I teams.
But that isn't stopping the team from getting the most out of it, Bergstrom said.
"We're having fun," she said. "We know that we have to work 10 times harder because people want to take that spot from us.
"We've put in too many hours of sweat, blood and tears. This is what we live for, this is why we are here."
GAME NOTES• Texas Lutheran junior Megan Carmichael pitched 11 innings for Texas Lutheran, despite picking up both losses. She held UHV to just five hits in the second game, and two runs. She became the Bulldogs' only option on the circle after Jordan Mundine struggled to open the first game and her sister, Sarah Carmichael, left the Game 1 after just two pitches after having a throw glance off her jaw, necessitating stitches and a trip to the hospital. Mundine was responsible for seven runs in the first game, pitching one complete inning and seven batters in the second before being lifted.
• Marley Moehrig was 1 for 6 combined on Tuesday, but she made her one drive count. The sophomore left fielder got a hold of a Megan Carmichael offering and drove it deep over the left field fence for a grand slam, putting the first game out of reach. "Some pitchers throw some mistakes, and those are the ones you have to jump on," she said. "It was a little inside, and I just turned on it. I was just looking to move the runners over." She was responsible for five of UHV's 13 runs in the first game.
• Kelly King was 2 for 4 in the first game for the Jaguars. UHV's Ashley Winegeart also had hits in both games (3 for 6 combined), and Brittany Arredondo had three hits and three RBIs for UHV combined.