Late runs cost Tarleton in series finale with UTRGV

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EDINBURG – Tarleton outhit UTRGV, but two three-run innings from the Vaqueros were too much to overcome as the Texans fell, 7-4, in the series finale at UTRGV Baseball Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

UTRGV earned the series sweep with the win.

Tarleton (13-30, 6-15 WAC) held tight through four innings, as the teams were locked up at one apiece. The fifth inning brought trouble as UTRGV (26-18, 12-9 WAC) plated three runs to take the 4-1 lead.

Matthew Hickey (L, 2-2) had his first career start and went 4.2 innings allowing four runs on six hits, striking out a career-high seven while walking none. Hickey was stellar through four innings, but the Vaqueros got to him in the fifth.

He led the fifth off with back-to-back swinging strikeouts. Following that, Hickey hit a batter, gave up a single, RBI triple, and RBI double before hitting a second batter. That marked the end of his outing with Zach Gagnon coming on in relief for the second consecutive game.

Tarleton answered back with a run in the sixth and seventh to trim the lead to 4-3. In the sixth, Jake Escalon sent a ball up the middle of UTRGV’s defense for an RBI single that scored Carter Dobrinski. In the seventh, London Green hit a bloop single to center field to score Alec Williams and just like that it was a one-run ballgame.

Beau Ross came on to pitch the seventh for Gagnon who threw 1.1 scoreless innings, striking out one and allowing one hit. Ross walked two consecutive batters and was pulled for Zach Poe. Poe made his third appearance of the weekend and was able to maneuver out of the inning, only allowing one hit but two fielder’s choices helped UTRGV bring three more runs home and push ahead to a 7-3 lead.

Poe’s final line came to 2.0 innings pitched, one run on one hit and two strikeouts.

Tarleton brought a run home in the ninth as Green grounded out to second base and sent Williams home. It was Green’s second RBI of the game, but it was too little too late for the Texans. Tarleton stranded 10 runners in the game.

Williams, Dobrinski and Escalon each contributed two hits. The Texans first run of the game came in the fourth as Kemuel Thomas-Rivera hit an RBI single to right field to score Jaime Perez.

Brett Cain finished with three hits and three RBI for UTRGV, his second three hit performance of the series. Randy Garza started and pitched 4.0 innings allowing one run on one hit, striking out seven and walking three. Ricky Gerik Jr. (W, 4-3) earned the win and Zach Tjelmeland (S, 1) picked up the save.

Tarleton will now set its sights on the Baylor Bears as they head to Waco for a midweek matchup on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

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