Tarleton drops 3-2 decision to UTRGV to begin four-game series

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EDINBURG – The Texans came up one run short in a pitcher’s duel on Friday at the UTRGV Baseball Complex, as the Vaqueros edged Tarleton 3-2 in the first contest of a four-game series. 

Colby Seltzer lifted a two-run home run over the left field fence with no outs in the ninth off UTRGV starter Kevin Stevens to bring Tarleton with one run of the hosts. Stevens, who recorded 18 consecutive outs to begin the game, retired three straight batters to end the ballgame. 

A single by third baseman Dean Frew set up Seltzer’s big fly. Seltzer, a third-year sophomore, is now tied for the team lead with seven home runs. 

Tyler Fowler spoiled Stevens’ bid at perfection with a single through the middle infield with one down in the bottom of the sixth. Fowler was then caught stealing to keep UTRGV in front 3-0. 

The Vaqueros (23-20, 14-11 WAC) pushed across all three of their runs in the second inning off Tarleton starter Bryce Hackett via a walk, two singles and a wild pitch. Hackett allowed five hits through the game’s first two innings but settled in nicely afterward. 

The 6-2 right-hander retired 11 straight batters following a leadoff single in the third. Hackett used a 4-6-3 double play to wipe away UTRGV’s scoring chance in the frame. He then fired 1-2-3 fourth inning and worked around singles in the fifth and seventh to keep Tarleton within striking distance. 

Hackett scattered eight hits over seven innings pitched, struck out four and walked just one. The outing was his fifth quality start of the 2021 season and third in his last four appearances. Hackett’s seven innings pitched also marked his longest outing this spring. 

Sidearm specialist Zach Poe (3-0, 2.93 ERA, 2.72 IP) came on and worked a scoreless eighth to set up Seltzer’s ninth inning blast. Poe has now posted seven straight scoreless appearances out of the bullpen for Tarleton. 

The offensive dry spell was uncharacteristic for Tarleton of late. The Texans scored 71 runs over eight games prior to Friday’s tilt, 21 of which came in a 16-run triumph over Northern Colorado on Sunday. 

Tarleton (19-29, 12-17 WAC) and UTRGV continue their weekend series with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The first game is scheduled for seven innings while the second will be a full nine inning affair. Luke Baley (5-3, 5.25 ERA, 57 K’s) is scheduled to start Saturday’s twin bill for Tarleton. Fellow righty Justin Waltmon (2-2, 6.17 ERA) is listed as the probable starter for game two.  

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