Jaguars claim series-clinching win over Jarvis Christian
Jacob Atkinson was aware of what was at stake when he took the mound in the top of sixth inning.
UHV held a 4-2 lead over Jarvis Christian College in the decisive game of the three-game Red River Athletic Conference series.
"My job is just to come in and throw strikes," Atkinson said. "I know what the game meant. I came in with the lead, so I just pounded the zone and let the team work behind me."
Atkinson threw four scoreless innings to pick up his first save of the season in the Jaguars' 7-2 win on a chilly Tuesday at Riverside Stadium.
Atkinson yielded only one hit, did not walk a batter and had one strikeout as the Jaguars (5-8) evened their conference mark at 3-3.
"I started in high school, so I can handle it," the Harlingen South graduate said of pitching four innings. "Everyone knows their role already. I go out there and shut them down."
The Bulldogs (11-15, 2-4) scored two unearned runs in the top of the first inning against UHV starter Ross Bludau.
But Bludau rebounded with four scoreless innings and finished five innings with five strikeouts.
"It felt good," said Bludau, a Schulenburg graduate. "Strike wise, it could have been a little higher percentage. But going five and giving our bullpen a little break is always good."
UHV scored single runs in the first four innings before breaking the game open with three runs in the eighth.
Jacob Mihalski had two hits and three RBIs and Derek Maciejeski, Joshua Fonseca and Victoria West graduate Gunner Harrison each added two hits.
"They helped us," UHV coach Terry Puhl said of the Bulldogs, who committed five errors. "They did not play well in the field early, and we took advantage of it. We couldn't get some big innings and we probably had some chances. We need some guys hitting behind (Andrew) Gross (who was intentionally walked in three of his five plate appearances)."
The Jaguars return to Riverside Stadium for a non-conference doubleheader at 2 p.m. Tuesday against Texas A&M-International.
But Puhl was happy to see his team get back to .500 in conference play and gave much of the credit to his pitchers.
"Our pitchers did a good job," he said. "It was designed to have Ross and Jacob go today. Every time we go into a series, I look for 2 out of 3. Generally speaking, if I can keep a quality pair back for Game 3, that gives us a much better chance of winning the ballgame."
Jarvis Christian 200 000 000 - 2 5 5
UHV 111 100 03x - 7 10 3
Emilio Griego, Tyler Arnsberg (6) and Chase Martinez. Ross Bludau, Jacob Atkinson (6) and Chase Almendarez. W: Bludau (1-1). L: Griego (0-3). S: Atkinson (1). Highlights: (JCC) Carlos Andrade 1-for-3, 2B, R. (UHV) Atkinson 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO; Jacob Mihalski 2-for-5, 3 RBIs; Derek Maciejeski 2-for-4,R; Gunner Harrison 2-for-4, R, SB. Records: Jarvis Christian 11-15, 2-4; UHV 5-8, 3-3.