Jaguars rebound to split doubleheader against Wiley College
UHV coach Terry Puhl was sitting in the dugout at Riverside Stadium, but he couldn't help but recall a game in the Astrodome.
Puhl was playing for the Houston Astros and spent what seemed like an eternity in the outfield during the top of the first inning.
"We were playing the Cincinnati Reds," Puhl remembered. "I saw their leadoff hitter come up three times. They scored 13 runs in the inning."
The flashback came during the sixth inning of the first game of Friday's Red River Athletic Conference doubleheader against Wiley College.
The Wildcats (8-30, 3-16) won the first game 20-9, before the Jaguars (12-21, 8-12) rebounded to capture a 12-7 decision in the second game.
Wiley sent 19 batters to the plate against four UHV pitchers in the sixth inning of the first game, and scored 16 runs on only four hits, including a grand slam by Justice Brown.
The 16 runs were the most a UHV team has ever given up in an inning.
The Jaguars added to the carnage by walking nine batters and hitting three.
UHV also tied a school record by issuing 14 walks in the first game, in which both teams had 10 hits.
"You've got to execute," Puhl said. "There are just so many things that we did that you just shake your head."
The Jaguars scored all their runs in the final three innings of the seven-inning first game.
But it wasn't enough to keep Wiley from winning on the road for the first time this season.
"At the end, their guy started just throwing them in," Puhl said of Wiley pitcher Brandon Bilnoski. "He's actually a pretty good pitcher. He kept the ball down. The top of their lineup hits the ball and they have a couple of guys who can drive the ball."
The second game seemed headed in the same direction when Wiley scored six runs in its first three innings.
But Schulenburg graduate Ross Bludau came out of the bullpen and limited the Wildcats to one run the rest of the game.
"The main thing is throw strikes," Bludau said. "Work the corners and work the best you can to throw strikes and fill it up. I got a little wild at first. I thought I responded pretty well, and the defense played well behind me."
The Jaguars' offense also produced 10 hits in the second game - including three by Chase Almendarez and a pair of doubles by Victoria West graduate Gunner Harrison - and were the beneficiaries of 13 walks and six Wiley errors.
UHV took the lead for good by scoring five runs in the third inning.
"Dropping the first one no one really expected, and it's kind of disappointing," Bludau said. "But to come back in that second game and get a win is good."
The teams will return to Riverside Stadium for a doubleheader at noon Saturday.
The first game will count in the conference standings, and the Jaguars sorely need a win to stay in contention for the conference tournament.
"It's a must game for us," Puhl said. "They are all must games for us now."
Wiley College 20-7, UHV 9-12
Wiley 001 30(16) 0 - 20 10 4
UHV 000 012 6 - 9 10 0
Brandon Bilnoski and Tyler Bauman. Collin Quinn, Andrew Richards (6), Luke Alexander (6), Cesar Martinez Jr. (6), Garrett Gray-Mathis (6) and Chase Almendarez. W: Bilnoski (3-5). L: Quinn (3-3). Highlights: (W) Bauman 3-for-4, 3B, 4 RBIs; Luis Santiago 3-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBIs; Justice Brown 1-for-4, grand slam; Justice Harmon 2-for-4, 2 R, RBI. (UHV) Chase Tamez 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI; Gunner Harrison 1-for-1, 3B, R, RBI; Derek Maciejeski 2-for-3, 2 R, RBI; Jacob Atkinson 2-for-3, RBI.
Wiley 303 001 000 - 7 12 6
UHV 605 001 00x - 12 10 3
John Jones, Joe Champ;ion (3), Tre'von Thomas (5), Joshua Simon (7) and Tyler Baumon, Oswaldo Palacios (6). Nathaniel Pena, Ross Bludau (4) and Dalton Rodriguez. W: Bludau (2-4). L: Jones (0-2). Highlights: (W) Luis Santiago 3-for-5, 2 R, SB; Palacios 3-for-4, 2 2B, RBI; Justice Brown 2-for-5, 2 R, RBI; Ruben Hancock 1-for-3, 2-run HR. (UHV) Bludau 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO; Chase Almendarez 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI; Gunner Harrison 2-for-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBIs. Records: Wiley College 8-30, 3-16; UHV 12-21, 8-12.