Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Preview: UTPA Broncs MBB plays host to WAC Leader New Mexico State Aggies (3/4/2015)

Edinburg, TX - In a game that could very well decide their eventual seeding in next weeks Western Athletic Conference Tournament, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs Men's Basketball team will host WAC Leading the New Mexico State Aggies on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

The Broncs (9-19, 3-9 in WAC) will look to two game losing skid in conference, following that included losses to Utah Valley and Grand Canyon to close the month of February.

Those losses were especially tough as they dropped mathematically into last place behind Chicago State and Utah Valley at 4-9.

In the case of a win the Broncs would hold the tie breaker over Chicago State by way of their record against the WAC top teams. Utah Valley would hold the tie breaker over UTPA having beaten them in both head to head matches.

The Aggies (19-10, 11-1 in WAC) are three-time reigning WAC champions and have proven themselves to be the cream of the crop once again in 2014-2015.

Should New Mexico State win their remaining two matches, they will come just 6 points from having a perfect conference season, with their lone loss happening in a 58-52 loss at Seattle University on January 17th.

UTPA is lead offensively by sharp shooting sophomore Janari Joesaar Goff, who is leads all WAC scorers at 17.9 ppg, while chipping in 7.0 rbs, 1.3 stls.

Look for Broncs to spread a very long Aggies squad out with their motion offense and stable of guards. The key for UTPA will be great offensive efficiency from Joesaar, Shaquille Boga, and at least one other scorer, while holding the New Mexico State offense at bay.

NMSU is paced offensively by the 2014 WAC player of the year, Daniel Millings and freshman Pascal Siakam who average 13.2 and 13.5 points respectively.

Saturday's match will be the 13th meeting between these two schools, with GCU holding 3-9 advantage dating back to January 1969.

In their meeting earlier this season, the Aggies held off a late UTPA rally to narrowly defeat the Broncs 53-48 in Las Cruces on January 31st.

If you are unable to make it out to game you can catch all the action with the voice of the Broncs Jonah Goldeberg, here, or for live updates follow me on twitter as @smithkb.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Logan Landon Names WAC Hitter of the Week (February 23, 2015)

The Western Athletic Conference handed out their WAC Weekly Baseball honors on Monday, announcing UTPA's Logan Landon as the Hitter of the Week for February 16-22.

A senior from Sioux Fall, SD, Landon excelled in his first home starts of the season, going .600 from the plate, compiling a total of six hits, three runs, and two RBI, while hitting for the series cycle, to propel the Broncs to a series sweep over Abilene Christian.

Landon, was a intricate part UTPA offense in the games first match on Friday night, going 2-3, tripling and then scoring the games first run before hitting a critical go-ahead home run to conclude the games scoring in the 7th inning.

This is his first season as a position player, having moved to the outfield after stints as both a relief pitcher and spot starter at Hutchinson Community College and UTPA.

The Broncs will take their 5-2 record on the road Tuesday, when they visit #6 Texas at 6:00 p.m., before returning home for a three game series against Lamar beginning February 27th . Game One is scheduled for Friday at 7:00 p.m from Edinburg Baseball Stadium.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

UTPA Broncs Baseball Defeat Abilene Chrstian to Sweep Al Olgetree Classic (February 22, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Profiting from their third straight quality pitching performance of the weekend, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs defeated that Abilene Christian Wildcat 4-3 to sweep the Al Ogletree Classic on Sunday.

"The sweep is always good", said Broncs coach Manny Mantrana, "once you win the first two you need to get into that mindset that you want to win the third one. It was a good win, better 3-0 than 2-1."

The Broncs (5-2) have been on a tear since dropping their first two games in the Jackson State Tournament last weekend, winning five in a row behind a string of quality pitching performances.

The Broncs starters now hold a combined ERA of just 2.4, while the much improved bullpen has amassed an ERA of 2.7 in just over 13 innings of work.

UTPA would open the scoring in the bottom of the 1st, scoring the games first run on a single by Jacob Huckabay that scored Cole Loncar from second.

ACU came very close to breaking onto the board in the top of the 5th, using singles by Brayden Gomez and Kyle Carroll to put runners on the corners with two outs. However, Quinonez would escape the inning by forcing a shallow flyout to center by Aaron Draper.

The Wildcats would find their way onto the board in the top of the 7th, for a 3-1 lead, following a double by Brayden Gomez that scored Garrett Hale from first. Russell Crippen would then triple to score Gomez and then a SAC fly by Kyle Carrol scored Crippen to close the scoring.

The Broncs would respond in the home half of the inning, scoring two runs a single by Cole Loncar and a double play grounder by Victor Garcia Jr.

With the game knotted at 3-3, the Broncs would pull ahead once again on a SAC fly by Correy Davis that scored Logan Landon from third.

"It felt good," said Davis, "They went out to the mound for a visit and coach Mantrana said if you get a good pitch try to drive it. I got one and hit it to right... it felt good."

ACU would open the ninth with back to back singles, and in response Broncs coach Manny Mantrana would turn the ball over to is trusty closer Andrew Padron for the third straight game. 

True  to form, Padron would retire the next two batters in rapid succession to secure the series sweep.

"Closing out the weekend, getting the sweep," said Padron, "that's what matters. I have to thank the defense for giving me a chance... this save was big, it was our first sweep of the season."

UTPA will hit the road for their next game, a single game at Texas, on February 24th, before returning home for a three game set with Lamar University beginning February 27th.

"I think we're really meshing as a team," said Davis, "and it's good going into a big game like Texas with a winning streak. It gives us the strength and confidence to try and go in and take one for a big school like that."

Pitching will be the key as the Broncs try to play giant slayer in Austin. If he's needed Padron thinks he is ready to close out a few more games for the Broncs.

"I'm ready," said Padron, "hopefully we hit the ball well, play some good defense, and coach will hand me the ball and get that save."

Mantrana left no doubt that he would call on his closer if the opportunity presented it's self against the #6 Longhorns.

"Everything revolves around the pitch count," said Mantrana, "he's been very very efficient and that is why he is closing. He's able to come in, through strikes.. he's solidified the closer spot.

ACU will return home for a single game against Texas Tech on February 24th before hitting the road for a match with Texas-Arlington on February 25th.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Preview: UTPA Broncs Men's Baseball Closes Al Olgetree Classic Abilene Christian with Early Bird Special (January 22, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs Baseball team will look to secure the series sweep on against the Abilene Christian Wildcats on Saturday when they play the final game of the Al Olgetree Classic at 9:30 a.m. from Edinburg Baseball Stadium.

The Broncs (4-2) are in the midst of a four game winning streak that has included wins over Jackson State, Tennessee-Martin, and the opening two matches of their series with Abilene Christian.

Over that span, the Broncs have a team ERA of just 2.75 to compliment their 5.6 runs per game.

The Wildcats (0-5) are still looking for that spark necessary to get their first win of the season. They have played valiantly in the series losing both matching by just two runs.

They will get one final shot to break through against UTPA as the Broncs will send their second consecutive freshman to mound in Robert Quinonez in the series finale.

After Saturday's matchup the Broncs are now 11-0 against the Wildcats in a series that dates back to 2012.

Look for the Broncs to try to strike early behind the big bats of Victor Garcia Jr. and converted outfielder Logan Landon.

Should it come down to another close battle the Broncs will have closer Andrew Padron available for the third straight night

"I don't even feel like I've thrown these last two innings," said Padron, "Hopefully Quinonez gets it done on the bump, we get some runs in, and coach let's me out there for another chance."

If you can't make it out to the park catch the live video with UTPA's  illustrious duo, Jonah Goldberg and Danny Elizondo here, or follow my live updates on here.

Make sure to check back after the game for a full recap right here on The Box Score Report.

A Pair of Local Pitchers propell UTPA Broncs Baseball to 5-3 victory over Abilene Christian Wilcates (February 21, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Looking to build on their recent three game winning streak, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs Baseball team defeated the Abilene Christian Wildcats 5-3 on Saturday in the rubber match of the Al Olgetree Classic.

The Broncs (4-2) are a team built around above average defense and outstanding pitching. The emergence of their considerable offensive prowess makes them a formidable opponent that should serve them well as their non-conference schedule continues.

"This weekend is important," said Broncs coach Many Mantrana, "it exemplifies what we are gonna do and how were gonna play in the WAC...The opening weekend double-header, double-header, doesn't get you into the feel of conference weekends. This one kinda gives them a feel for the conference weekends."

The Wildcats (0-5) are a much better team then their record would indicate, having been competitive in almost every game they've played in 2015. Their largest struggle has come at the plate they are averaging just three runs per contest in contrast the six they are giving up.

Powered by another solid performance from freshman Ryan Jackson, and a second straight save by closer Andre Padron, the Broncs controlled the momentum in Saturday's match up from the first pitch on.

"I was excited for tonight," said Jackson, " I got to pitch in front of my home crowd. Overall a pretty good night, today everything was working. Keeping the ball low across all six inning is really important for me."

UTPA would tear the game wide open in the bottom of the 3rd, scoring 5 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, and an error to take a commanding lead.

Supported by that five run cushion, freshman pitcher Ryan Jackson would go to work, striking out four over six and two-thirds to position himself for his first career victory.

Abilene Christian threatened a big inning in the top of the 7th, breaking onto the board in the top of the half of the inning on a laser over the left field wall by Colton Hall.

ACU would then put runners on second and third with two outs, forcing Jackson out of the game in favor of reliever Johnny Gonzalez. Gonzalez would uncork a wild pitch to the first batter he saw to score a run from third, cutting the deficit to 5-2.

Following a clean eighth inning by Matt Grigsby, UTPA would turn the ball over to Padron in the 9th.

Pardon, who was a high school team mate of Jackson's, did his job securing the win by holding the Wildcats to just one run in the 9th, on a colossal shot to left by Russell Crippen, in route to the 5-3 victory.

"It's cool," said Padron, "not only did I pitch with him in high school, but I've  pitch with him since we were about 12 on the same travel team. It's always fun, we joke around and say how we were throwing the ball around in our back yard about two years ago and now we're here throwing in Division I college baseball."

The win was especially special for Jackson, who picked his first victory in his second strong start of the season.

"We recruited him and thought he was gonna be a bullpen arm," said Mantrana, "but after the bull-pens in the fall...I was surprised by his control and maturaty as a freshman.. he acts more like an upper-class man."

The Broncs will send another freshman, Robert Quinonez, to the mound as they look to earn the series sweep on Sunday when they host the Wildcats in a early-bird special match at 9:30 a.m.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Preview: UTPA Look Top Pick Up Series Win Against Abilene Christian on Saturday (February 20, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Looking to earn their fourth straight win and clinic a series victory, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs Baseball team will take the field with on unified focus against The Abilene Christian Wildcats on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

The Broncs (3-2) have rebounded nicely to take control of their season after dropping their first two games on the road by a total of 2 points in the Jackson State Tournament last weekend.

A major part of this success has been their efforts to control their nerves and let the game come to them. Coach Mantrana had interesting anecdote to why this is so important for his team saying:

"Kind of like fire, if you use it wisely it can cook your food and warm your home. But, if you don't use it wisely it can burn you food and burn you house down."

UTPA will look to continue their winning recipe of stellar defense and patient hitting a plan that worked wonders in their last three victories.

The Wildcats (0-4) are still trying to piece together the winning strategy, after dropping three straight close games to Nevada and UTPA.

ACU has shown the ability to score runs in bunches, but have not yet found the rhythm they need defensively to support that offensive production.

The Broncs will send the reigning WAC pitcher of the week, Ryan Jackson, to the mound on Saturday looking or his first win despite a stellar eight inning performance to open his career on February 14th Against Tennessee Martin.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. from Edinburg Baseball Stadium.

If you can't make it out to the park catch the live video with UTPA's  illustrious duo, Jonah Goldberg and Danny Elizondo here, or follow my live updates on here.

Make sure to check back after the game for a full recap right here on The Box Score Report.

UTPA Broncs Baseball Use Career Nights from English and Landon to Defeat Abilene Chrstian 3-1 (February 20, 215)

Edinburg, TX - Powered by career best nine strikeout performance from Blake English and a clutch piece of hitting from converted outfielder Landon Landon, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs defeated Abilene Christian 3-1 to open the Al Olgetree Classic on Friday night.

This series is special to every one at UTPA, as it gives the entire community an opportunity to pay tribute to a very special member of the Bronc Family, Coach Emeritus Al Olgetee.

"It's the right thing to do, said Broncs skipper Manny Mantrana, "He is Pan-Am Baseball. All the tradition, all the games, everything that Pan-Am has done in the past to be successful is because of coach Al....There's some good coaches out their that are not good people, and there are good people who are not good coaches. Coach Al really exemplifies what a coach should be."

The Broncs (3-2) are still working to build some consistency in their lineup following the exit of five starters from last years squad.

UTPA has started to piece together a nice offensive presence, finding the ability to rely on different player is different situations to spark their offense.

"Really like what I'm seeing," said Manny Mantrana, "last weekend, Victor (Garcia Jr.) picked really picked us up, tonight Logan (Landon) picked us up. If we continue to have one or two guys pick us up every game we should do ok."

In their season opening tournament a Jackson State, UTPA tried four different lineups while splitting their games against the host Tigers and Tennessee-Martin.

On Friday, Abilene Christian (0-4) would open the scoring in the Top of the 1st following a sacrifice to deep left by Russell Crippen that scored Marcelle Carter from 3rd.

UTPA would tie the match at 1-1 in the bottom of the 3rd, using a single by Tony Roque to score Logan Landon who, tripled to lead off the inning.

Both staffs would settle in over the next 2.5 innings, combining to allow 0 runs and 3 hits.

The Broncs  would break the tie in the home half of the sixth, pulling ahead 3-1 on a bomb to left by Logan Landon which scored himself and Correy Davis.

"It was a big situation in the game," said Landon, "I was up their looking for a pitch to hit...I got a fastball and was able to turn on it an hit one out. We really worked on getting back on the ball, hitting it hard."

UTPA starter Blake English would do a masterful job of shutting down the Wildcats offense the rest of way, in route to a career record nine strikeouts in eight innings of work.

Coach Mantra would send reliever Andrew Padron to the mound for the ninth, and the sophomore answered the call striking out the side after allowing a leadoff double to Alex Copeland.

"I have to give (Andrew) Padron credit," said English, "we have a bull pen this year, and that is a positive, he came in threw strikes, did what had to do and got us out of the ninth inning."

Coach Mantrana also pointed out how valuable their depth in the pen will be as the season progresses, highlighting the way they will effect his overall game plan as the season continues.

"You are going to see us go to the bullpen a lot more and a lot sooner," said Mantrana, "with Blake (English the way he was pitching tonight, I would have probably left him in there last year. This year we have a good set of arms...we have a good bullpen and we're going to use it."

The Broncs will look to extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday at 6:00 p.m., when the take the field in the rubber match of their three game series with Abilene Christian.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

UTPA Broncs Women's Basketball Is Stumbled by Poor Shooting in 75-63 Loss to Grand Canyon (February 19, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Looking to expand upon what has already been a record setting season of success, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs Women's Basketball team where crippled by a poor shooting night in a 75-63 loss to The Grand Canyon University Antelopes on Thursday night.

UTPA head coach Larry Tidwell has brought an unparalleled level of success level to a Broncs program that has never had a winning season in NCAA Division One.

His team tied the program record for win in his inaugural season and then broke that record earlier this week in a 54-53 victory over former Great West Conference opponent New Jersey Institute of Technology, in just his second season.

The Broncs (15-12, 7-4 in WAC) have shown flashes of elite defense presence in the 2014-2015 campaign, however, their achilles heel has been a lingering inability to shoot the ball for a respectable percentage.

"We're a pretty good defensive team, but tonight we let a team come in and shoot 45 percent on our home floor," said Tidwell, "we know what to do, we just have to do a better job with our peremeter defense and on the boards."

That stumbling block was ever present against Grand Canyon as the Broncs saw their second half shooting percentage drop to 15.4 percent for outside and just 28 percent overall.

"We shot 30 percent from the field tonight," said Tidwel, "you not gonna win many games shooting 30 percent."

The Lopes (11-12 5-5 in WAC) made huge strides toward their goals of adding another winning season to coach Trent May's tenure.

With four games left, GCU is poised to keep that hope alive with upcoming games against two of the most vulnerable teams in the WAC, Chicago State and Missouri-Kansas City.

Should GCU win both of those match and then take a third game from either front-runner New Mexico State or Seattle, the Lopes would be guaranteed a winning season. They won't have an opportunity for post-season play until the 2017-2018 season when they complete their transition for NCAA Division II.

The Lopes would open Thursday's game with a quick 9-4 run, capped by a layup by Cheyenne Hedrington at the 14:51 mark.

The Broncs would battle back, using a 17-4 run of their own, powered by 8 points from Shawnte' Goff, to build a 21-13 lead.

That advantage would be short lived, however, as GCU would respond with 22-7 over the final 6:00  to retake the lead at 35-28 leading into half-time.

UTPA's offense would continue to struggle at the start of the second half, allowing GCU to extend their lead to 43-32 by the 18:00 mark on a series of free-throws by Casey Rarrick.

"We weren't knocking down shots," said Goff, "we had a lot of great looks, it just didn't go our way tonight."

The Broncs would attempt to mount one final comeback, getting as close as 54-52 on a Hildur Kjartansdottir three pointer with just over 9:00 left.

The Lopes would whether that storm and pull away again in route to the deceptively wide final margin.

Three Broncs reached double figures, led by Goff with 26 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. While Kjartansdottir and Brittany Bush  picked up a  pair of double-doubles with 11 points and 10 points respectively to compliment their matching 10 rebound performances.

August Touchard lead GCU, and all scorers, with 27 points, while Casey Rarrick added 15 in the winning performance.

UTPA will wrap up the home portion of their schedule on Saturday against Utah Valley, before hitting the road for their final two conference games against New Mexico State on February 28th and Missouri-Kansas City on March 7th.

"We know what we gotta do to win the WAC," said Goff, "we have three more games and after those games well be ready to play in the WAC Tournament and hopefully be apart of March Madness."

GCU will make a stop on Saturday at New Mexico State, before retuning home to Phoenix for matches against Chicago State on February 26th and Missouri-Kansas City on February 28th.

Preview: UTPA Baseball Opens 2015 Home Schedule Against Abiline Christian (February 20, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Following a respectable showing in the Jackson State Tournament last weekend, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs Baseball team will open the home portion of the schedule on Friday when they host the Abilene Christian Wildcats to open the Al Olgetree Classic.

The Broncs (2-2) have a vastly different look, following the graduation of staff ace Sam Street, and his batter mate and the teams most prolific hitter Alex Howe. But, hope remains high as UTPA returns two members of it's staff from last year, which ranked 10th in the NCAA in ERA, with Blake English and Alex Henson.

Freshman Ryan Jackson, who earned WAC pitcher of the week honors by holding UT-Martin to just one run on five hits over eight innings in his debut, looks to be the front runner for the third starting spot.

UTPA will also have veteran catcher Jacob Huckabay, who missed a large portion of last season to injury, back and should receive a considerable defensive spark from his presence.

Offensively the Broncs will rely heavily upon the bat of sophomore Victor Garcia was among the team leads in nearly all offensive categories, hitting .273 with 21 RBI and 23 runs scored in his freshman campaign.

Look for the speed and contact hitting of second baseman Jesus Garcia and utility outfielder Manny Loredo to play a big part in the Broncs game-plan, much as it did in their season opening tournament.

The Wildcats (0-3) will come to Edinburg fresh off a shaky series against the University of Nevada. One promising take away for ACU is that they appeared to get much stronger as the series went, rebounding from a nine run defeat in the series opener to lose the subsequent two games by only 4 runs combined.

ACU, which is entering it's second season as a Division One program, returns several key pieces from a team showed tremendous growth as a freshman program, finishing their 2014 campaign 18-36 including a win over PAC-12 power Arizona.

Senior outfielder Tyler Eager, a career 3.12 hitter,  looks to be the core from which the Wildcats are formed. Egan holds the distinction of having played in all 161 games, staring in 160 of them, that ACU has played since he came to campus in 2011.

Eager is on the cusp of entering the ACU record books in ten separate offensive categories, further cementing his legacy as one of the most consistent players to ever touch the field for the Wildcats.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. from Edinburg Baseball Stadium.

If you can't make it out to the park catch the live video with UTPA's  illustrious duo, Jonah Goldberg and Danny Elizondo, here or follow my live updates on here.

Make sure to check back after the game for a full recap right here on The Box Score Report.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Preview: UTPA Broncs WBB Looks Extend Program Record for Wins Against Grand Canyon University (February 19, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Following and emotion filled 54-53 victory over The New Jersey Institute of Technology to set a new program record for regular season wins, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs will look to extent that record on Thursday when they host the Grand Canyon University Antelopes at 7:00 p.m.

The Broncs (15-11, 7-3 in WAC) have just four games left to prepare themselves for their next big challenge, that elusive Western Athletics Conference Championship and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

UTPA is currently tied with WAC preseason favorite Bakersfield for the second seed in the tournament, two games back of conference leader New Mexico State.

The Lopes (10-12, 4-5 in WAC) are clinging to their hopes of another winning season under head coach Trent May.  To do that GCU will need to win four of their next five, which include game aginst both the Broncs and New Mexico State.

GCU is only in it's second year of Division I competition, after running rough shod through the Division II ranks for several years.

The Broncs are paced offensively by the inside out tandem of Shawnte Goff and Brittany Bush. Goff is among the WAC leaders averaging 15.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while Bush has started to assert her presence with 9.8 points and 6.3 rebounds.

The Lopes are paced offensively by Jessica Gajewski at 11.3 points, while Courtney Hays chips in 7.9 points and 4.4 assists.

Thursday's matchup will be the forth meeting between the two schools, dating back to last year when both programs joined the WAC. GCU holds a slight 2-1 advantage, including a victory 15 point victory earlier this year in Phoenix.

Catch live video here and follow me for live in-game updates on twitter here.
Make sure to check back later for a full run down of all the action right here on The Box Score Report.