Four hits by Bludau lift UHV to season-opening win
UHV 5, Doane College 3
Doane College vs. UHV, doubleheader, noon, Riverside Stadium
UHV coach Terry Puhl spent a lot of time working with Kyle Bludau on his swing during the fall.
Bludau transferred to UHV from Temple College after having an outstanding high school career at Schulenburg.
"When he first came here in the fall, he was hitting nothing but top ground balls," Puhl said. "He's just learning how to hit right now. I'm looking forward to being with him for the next few years."
Bludau gave Puhl a preview of what's possible by going 4 for 4 in his debut to lead the Jaguars to a 5-3 season-opening win over Doane College on Saturday at Riverside Stadium.
"I'm not going to lie - I had a little jitters coming in," Bludau said. "Once I got that first hit that found a hole, I was able to relax a little bit and play the game."
Bludau had singles in the second, fourth and fifth innings before hitting a double in the seventh.
He had hits in all three innings UHV scored, drove in two runs and scored one.
"He just had a great day," Puhl said. "He's very capable of doing this. This can get him going mentally in the right direction. He's got such tremendous strength."
Bludau credits Puhl for helping him to become more comfortable at the plate.
"He's a great hitting coach," Bludau said. "He came in here, and he tweaked a couple of things with my swing, and I think it's really improved a lot, just coming from him and working with him."
The Jaguars had 10 hits against four Doane pitchers, including two by Josh Boothe and a solo home run by Robert Zaragoza that started UHV's three-run fourth inning.
"They had good pitching," Bludau said. "I guess I was in the zone today. I was seeing the ball well the first time. I found a couple of holes, and in that last at-bat, I was able to square one up."
Cory Carter had a solid first start, going 5.2 innings and throwing 55 of his 94 pitches for strikes.
He yielded three hits and one earned run, walked two, hit a batter and had eight strikeouts.
"For the first day, not too bad," Carter said. "I had life on all my pitches. I just could do a little better job executing and getting ahead of hitters and stuff like that. For the most part, I'm happy with the way I felt out there today, and it helped that we were playing great D and hitting the ball behind me."
Orlando Quiroga and Andre Del Bosque each yielded a run in relief of Carter.
The Tigers loaded the bases against Del Bosque with no outs in the ninth. But the St. Joseph graduate retired three straight hitters to pick up the save.
"Nine-inning games are a little bit different," Puhl said. "It's a little bit early in the season with pitching. Orlando sustained a little bit of an injury to his finger coming out of the gate, so obviously, he was not sharp. Del Bosque was not sharp. Those things concern me.
"Cory was a little bit better than average for him, and Bludau had a really good ballgame," he added. "Boothe and Zaragoza, those guys really swung the bats. I was happy with that."
• Puhl said Nathan Falkenstine would be the starting pitcher in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader, which starts at noon at Riverside Stadium. Puhl said Matt Brister will start the second game.
UHV 5, Doane College 3
Doane 000 100 101 - 3 5 3
UHV 000 310 10x - 5 10 0
Nathan Roth, Jacob McCord (5), Nabonasar Martinez (7), Grant Ozaki (9) and Matt Cuellar. Cory Carter, Orlando Quiroga (6), Andre Del Bosque (8) and Matt Herrera. W: Carter (1-0). L: Roth (0-1). S: Del Bosque (1). Highlights: (D) Jed Derr 2 for 2, Kevin Clausen 1 for 2, RBI. (UHV) Carter 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO; Kyle Bludau 4 for 4, 2B, R, 2 RBIs; Robert Zaragoza 1 for 3, solo HR, 2 R; Josh Boothe 2 for 3, R. Records: Doane 0-1; UHV 1-0.