Jaguars end losing streak with sweep of Wayland Baptist
Brandon Bohanon named his chocolate Labrador retriever puppy Commander.
Bohanon's UHV teammates call the puppy Rally Dog.
The Jaguars were looking for a solution to their five-game losing streak and welcomed Commander into the dressing room.
But the answer on a bitterly cold day at Riverside Stadium turned out to be pitching of starter Nathan Falkenstine and reliever Andre Del Bosque.
Falkenstine pitched a two-hitter to lead UHV to a 1-0 win over Wayland Baptist in the first game of a sparsely attended Super Bowl Sunday doubleheader.
Del Bosque followed with 3.1 innings of perfect relief in the second game to help the Jaguars (3-5) win 3-2 in eight innings.
Falkenstine yielded two singles, two walks and hit two batters in pitching UHV's first complete game of the season.
"I was really cold," Falkenstine admitted. "I was concentrating on throwing strikes and keeping the ball down low. I hit a couple of guys. I don't know what I was thinking. I just had to refocus every single pitch and think down in the zone."
Falkenstine threw 90 pitches, struck out seven and retired 13 of the final 15 batters.
"I felt great," he said. "Coach told me, 'If we don't score, you're going back out there.' I wasn't thinking about the losing streak at all. I just wanted to go out there and pitch my best."
UHV coach Terry Puhl was impressed with the way Falkenstine rebounded from a difficult outing against Doane College.
"Nate really was in control of almost every pitch that he threw," Puhl said. "We talked about getting a little more intensity on every pitch that we're making. Last time, he had about 2 or 3 pitches that were not good-quality pitches, and he got hurt on every one of them."
UHV did not have a hit through four innings against Pioneers (0-2) starter Tom Bailey but broke through in the seventh.
The Jaguars loaded the bases on a walk by Robert Zaragoza, a single by pinch hitter Brian Harvey and a late throw to third on a grounder by Josh Ledesma.
Pinch hitter Stephen Shorkey singled to right field to give UHV its first walk-off win of the season.
"The hits were few and far between," Puhl said. "They had a guy that threw the ball pretty well, too. We bunched a couple of hits together at the end and got a break on that play at third base."
The Jaguars scored two runs on four consecutive hits by Dylan Blaha, Ryan Suescun, Bohanon and Kyle Bludau in the fourth inning of the second game.
UHV did not have another hit but claimed another walk-off win when Ryan Pearsall reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
Del Bosque retired all 10 batters he faced. He threw 45 pitches and struck out three.
UHV 1-3, Wayland Baptist 0-2 Game 1
Wayland Baptist 000 000 0 - 0 2 1
UHV 000 000 1 - 1 3 0
One out when winning run scored Tom Bailey, Taylor Bridges (5), Logan Evans (7) and Tyler Doolittle. Nathan Falkenstine and Matt Herrera. W: Falkenstine (1-1). L: Bridges (0-1). Highlights: (WB) Bailey 4 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 4 SO. (UHV) Falkenstine 7 IP, 2 HP, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 HP, 7 SO; Stephen Shorkey 1 for 1, RBI; Brian Harvey 1 for 1.
Wayland Baptist 110 000 0 - 2 5 2
UHV 000 200 01 - 3 4 3
Two outs when winning run scored Mason Taylor, Joe Urena (4), Paxton Bartley (8) and Jovany Padilla. Andrew Walker, Andre Del Bosque (5) and Blake Diver. W: Del Bosque (1-0). L: Bartley (0-1). Highlights: (WB) Jovany Padilla 2 for 3, 2B. (UHV) Del Bosque 3.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 3 SO; Ryan Suescun 1 for 3, R, RBI; Kyle Bludau 1 for 3, RBI. Records: Wayland Baptist 0-2; UHV 3-5.