UHV sweeps doubleheader from Wiley College in walkoff fashion
Cory Carter was anxious to make his first start since last season and Nick Huff waited even longer, but it was hard to tell.
The UHV pitchers did not allow an earned run in 10 innings and helped the Jaguars walk off with a season-opening sweep of a doubleheader over Wiley College on Sunday at Riverside Stadium.
UHV won the first game 3-2 and took a 2-1 win in the nightcap and began the season with a win for the first time since 2008.
"Our pitchers did a good job and that's still what drives your wins and drives your season," said UHV coach Terry Puhl. "We're still not running on all cylinders with our pitching staff. We've got to work them all in."
Puhl earned win No. 150 at UHV when the Jaguars scored the winning run on a balk in the first game. He added to his win total when Stephen Shorkey's hit-and-run single scored pinch runner Andrew Thibodeaux from first base in the second game.
"You can't expect to go out there and play flawless baseball at this time of year," Puhl said. "I like the intensity and I like the camaraderie on this team. I think the guys like each other. It's always better when you're winning."
Huff made his first start since he was in high school in 2007. He was used in relief last season. He yielded three hits and two unearned runs in five innings, while striking out six.
"I felt great," Huff said. "A lot better than I expected. I was just trying to work the fastball first and then slowly move in the off-speed and get everything together."
The seventh-inning rally, which included two Wiley errors, a sacrifice by Brandon Bohanon, a RBI single by Chad Kruse before a balk was called on a 3-0 pitch to Ryan Suescun made a winner of reliever Nathan Falkenstine.
"That's a great sign," Huff said. "We've got a lot of young guys on the team. We've got a lot of heart and everybody wants to fight to the end."
Carter did not allow a hit until Angel Valentin singled with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. Carter's day ended when catcher Matthew Herrera caught Valentin attempting to steal.
Carter walked four, but struck out six and shut down the Wildcats in five at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"Just after a long offseason of putting in the work it finally showed up in this game," Carter said. "That with the defense behind me and Matt Herrera that was his first game catching in college we had a great time out there. He was making some great calls behind the plate, blocking the ball and doing a lot of special things back there that are going to pay off."
Carter was relieved by Brayden Blanton, Clayton Fowler and Orlando Quiroga, who earned the win.
Josh Ledesma was hit by a pitch to start the seventh and with a 2-1 count, Thibodeaux took off running and scored on Shorkey's second hit of the game in his first start at UHV.
"Two walk-off wins," Huff said. "That's the best part of baseball."
UHV 3, Wiley College 2
Wiley College 020 000 0 - 2 4 3
UHV 000 100 2 - 3 3 1
One out when winning run scored
Justyn Nunez, Frankelly Santos (4) and Ian Maldonado. Nick Huff, Clayton Fowler (6), Nathan Falkenstine (6) and Brandon Bohanon. W: Falkenstine (1-0). L: Santos (0-1). Highlights: (WC) Jose Camacho 1 for 2, RBI. (UHV) Huff 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 6 SO; Chad Kruse 1 for 3, RBI; Josh Ledesma 1 for 2, 2B, RBI.
UHV 2, Wiley College 1
Wiley College 000 001 0 - 1 3 0
UHV 010 000 1 - 2 5 0
No outs when winning run scored
Jose Hernandez and Carlos Rosano. Cory Carter, Brayden Blanton (6), Clayton Fowler (6), Orlando Quiroga (6) and Matthew Herrera. W: Quiroga (1-0). L: Hernandez (0-1). Highlights: (WC) Alibay Barkley 1 for 1, RBI, Angel Valentin 1 for 1. (UHV) Carter 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 6 SO; Stephen Shorkey 2 for 3, R, RBI; Dylan Blaha 2 for 3; Ryan Suescun 1 for 2, 3B, RBI. Records: Wiley College 0-2; UHV 2-0.