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Low seeding doesn't bother Jaguars

By MIKE FORMAN
April 30, 2013 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated April 29, 2013 at 11:30 p.m.


Association of Independent Institutions Tournament

WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

• 10 a.m., No. 5 UHV (19-21) vs. No. 4 Fisher College (33-15)

• 1:30 p.m., No. 3 Ashford University (23-16) vs. LSU-Alexandria (36-18)

• 5 p.m., UHV-Fisher College winner vs. No. 1 Cal State San Marcos (32-10)

(All games at Riverside Stadium)

UHV swept a three-game series against Fisher College in March, and recently swept a four-game series against LSU-Alexandria.

But the Jaguars aren't complaining about being seeded fifth in the five-team Association of Independent Institutions baseball tournament that begins Wednesday at Riverside Stadium.

"Records are the main thing," said UHV coach Terry Puhl. "Knowing that we were hosting the tournament, I played the beginning of the season trying to develop players. Hopefully, we'll reap the benefit of that later in the season."

The Jaguars (19-21) look to cash in when they open the tournament at against No. 4 Fisher College (33-15) at 10 a.m.

If UHV wins, it will play top seed Cal State San Marcos (32-10) at 5 p.m.

"We had a pretty tough schedule this year," said pitcher Cory Carter, who is scheduled to start against Fisher College. "Most of our tougher series were back to back, to back, to back. It just kind of made it hard on the pitching staff during those little stretches.

"We're coming in hot," he added. "We're coming off the sweep of LSU-A so I think we're in a really good spot. I'd rather be the underdog in this and just win out."

UHV won 10 of its last 14 games and pulled within a game of .500 before losing its season finale to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

"We're playing well right now," Puhl said. "It took a little bit of time to get the chemistry right on the team after the first month of the season.

"We had some things that went on that hadn't happened to previous teams and that took its toll. Once the players determined that they were going to build a quality team, then we started playing a little bit better."

The strength of this year's team is its pitching depth. Puhl won't hesitate to make a change at any time.

"I've got several guys and I'll be keeping a close eye on them," he said. "If their stuff is not sharp, we will have someone ready to go immediately.

"It will be all hands on deck when it comes to the pitching staff, and we'll take each game at a time," he continued. "My goal right now is to win that first ballgame and then we'll figure out the second and third."

The Jaguars' goal is to advance to the regional round and winning the AII tournament is the only way to make it happen.

"It was a little different knowing we were in already," said shortstop Dylan Blaha. "We know now we have to win to keep playing."

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