Saturday, August 22, 2015

UTRGV Vaqueros WSOC drops a tight match to UIW Cardinals 1-0 (August 21, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - The opening game of a collegiate soccer season is the first opportunity that a coach has to see how his player will respond to the rigors of completion against similar competition. In a best case scenario,  a team will mesh together well and execute their game plan from the opening whistle.

That is exactly what The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros Women's Soccer program appeared to due for most of Friday night, before falling to the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals 1-0 in double overtime.

The Vaqueros (0-1) were a much different team then the one that was last seen when,  the then UTPA Broncs dropped a 2-1 heart breaker in overtime to the UVU Wolverines to open the 2014 WAC tournament.

The Cardinals (1-0) who were fresh off of an electrifying 2-1 friendly win over the UT-San Antonio Roadrunners last week carried that momentum right onto the pitch on Friday.

One UTRGV's major focuses was to limit the offensive touches by UIW speedster Emani Steward who counters her somewhat diminutive frame with a blistering 12.0 second one hundred meter speed on the pitch.

UTRGV's plethora of new student athletes showed their prowess early as they held a skilled Cardinal offensive attack at bay for over 100 minutes of game time before a high traffic goals from Abigail Keonigs sent the Cardinals flying away with the 1-0 win.

The win puts Incarnate Word in excellent position to surpass their win total from last season, which stalled at just two victories.

The Vaqueros will look to bounce back on Sunday when the wrap their season opening tournament with a bout against the Southern University Jaguars.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Preview: UTRGV Athletics Women's Soccer Debuts Against Incarnet Word (August 21, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - As the sun sets gently across the western sky, a new light will be dawning on the campus of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with the historical launch of UTRGV Vaquero Women's Soccer. The Women's Soccer team will be the first of 14 NCAA Division I sports to open their inaugural seasons at UTRGV in the 2015-2016 when they host the Incarnate Word Cardinals at 7:00 p.m. to open the UTRGV Tournament.

Led by second year head coach Glad Bugariu, the Vaqueros have the odd distinction of opening their second consecutive inaugural campaign, after breaking ground as the first women's soccer program at The University of Texas-Pan American in 2014-2015.

The Vaqueros return twelve players from a squad that had one of the best years for a rookie program in Texas history (8-9-4 and 2-7-1 in WAC)  having only one loss in their first eleven matches.

Among the returning starters are the super sophomore's Andreya Barrera, who lead the team in games played, goals, and assists and Hannah Spets who will spend her second consecutive season as a team captain.

UTRGV will have several meaningful differences from last season's UTPA team, including it's first two upperclassman in senior Ferndanda Baena and graduate student Anna Felixson. The Vaqueros will also have a considerable amount more depth with the roster size having expanded to 27 student athletes.

This was a point of pride in Bugariu's pre-season press release where he highlighted, "We bring people along to compete and try to earn playing time. That's exactly what they're doing. They're trying to fit into our lineup. We just need to discover which players fit into which formations."

That doesn't mean it will all be an easy transition, however, since the added talent can also affect the teams flow and chemistry. ""It's very challenging for the coaches, but the players are making it challenging," said Bugariu, "and that's a good thing because they're all competing and they're trying to make it difficult for us to come up with our best 11."

The opponents from the greater San Antonio area, The Incarnate Word Cardinals, enter Friday soaring from a 2-0 exhibition victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

Incarnate Word returns several key figures from a team that finished (2-13-3) in 2014. Cardinal among these will be Alexis Santos who was second on the team scoring with two goals and one assist.

Friday will be the second meeting between these two programs, with UTRGV holding a 1-0 advantage, dating back to last year when the upstart Broncs defeated the Cardinals 2-1 in San Antonio.

You can catch all the live video with the voice of the Vaqueros, Jonah Goldberg, here and make sure to check back for a full recap of the action right here on the Box Score Report.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Dawn on UTRGV Closes The Book UTPA Baseball

Edinburg, TX - On August 31, 2015, The University of Texas Rio-Grande Valley (UTRGV) will open the doors for it's first day of classes. The dawning of this new institution and it new mascot the Vaquero brings a flood of hope and excitement for fans, but also a measure of nostalgic grief.

"It's little sad," says former Bronc Logan Landon, "being a Bronc was a like a dream from me. When I was recruited to come here I was looking for a place that I could call home. I found that with this team. These guys are like brothers to me."

As UTRGV and it's 14 NCAA Division I sports prep for what many hope will be a season filled with memorable victories, it's important for many that the success of UTPA Athletics aren't lost in the shuffle. This is especially true for the former student athletes in the Baseball Program, arguably the most decorated sport in school history.

The dawn of UTPA Broncs Baseball came in the Spring of 1955 when, Athletic Director Jim Brooks, lead then Pan American College,to a respectable (5-10) record against St. Edwards, St. Mary's, Southwestern, and Texas A&M - Corpus Christi.

From that point on, the accolades and records began to pour in. The 1958 Broncs would secure the programs first winning season going (17-2) under second year coach John Donnelly. Their first taste of post-season play came in 1964 when the Broncs advanced past Dallas before losing 2-0 to Sam Houston State in the NAIA Texas Championship.

While still Pan American College, the program took another large leap with the hiring to future Hall of Fame coach Al Ogletree. In just his third year with the program the Broncs reach unimaginable heights by advancing to the 1971 College World Series. That 1971 team finished 44-9 and reached that now famous College World Series by defeating the mighty Texas Longhorns for the District VI title. They would go on to defeat the both Seaton Hall and Harvard in route to a fourth place finish.

From their the hits would just keep on coming, as Coach Ogletree lead the team to a record 23 winning seasons. In total Bronc Baseball made 15 appearances in postseason tournaments across 60 seasons of competition.

But that only tells part of the story. It's the hundreds of player to proudly wore the green and white that tell the true story of UTPA Broncs Baseball. It's the 12 pitchers to throw no-hitters, 18 All-Americans, and 34 MLB draft picks that tell the true story of UTPA Baseball. It's men who would leave the field and go on to become husbands, fathers, and corporate leaders that form the lasting legacy.

"That is what we strive to due," said current Broncs coach Manny Mantrana, "we take pride in teaching our player that it's what happens on the field that matters in life, but its what you do as sons, husbands, and father that really matters."

Olgetree kept a similar goal for his former players. A fact which has brought him considerable pride over the years as he continue to relish how their lives have changed, their own children now becoming local businessmen and community leaders.

As the new era begin to rise above the horizon for UTRGV, many question remain, however the foundation for UTRGV athletics is firmly established on the lasting legacy of UTPA Broncs Baseball.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

UTPA Broncs Put On One Final Offensive Show in 11-3 defeat of UVU Wolverines in Game Two of DH (May 16, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - As the sunset on Edinburg Baseball Stadium, the figurate sun was setting in a figurate sense on the illustrious history of Broncs Baseball. In what was an emotionally bitter sweat moment in the history of The University of Texas-Pan American, the Broncs baseball team defeated the Utah Valley University Wolverines 11-3 in their final game before becoming The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros.

"Every year is tough with the exit of our seniors," said Broncs Coach Manny Mantrana, "it's bitter sweet, they end their careers and start with a totally different phase in their lives. It's also so the end of an era with us no longer being Broncs. From now one where the Vaqueros, but it's been a great ride.

After 88 years of existence, and multiple institutional name changes, UTPA will retire their name and the legacy of Broncs Baseball over the summer in preparation for a new beginning as the UTRGV Vaqueros beginning with the 2016 season.

"I have a lot of great memories," said Broncs senior Lee Rios, "I've been here for five years. This is closure and when I look back on today it's going to be a good memory."

The Broncs (21-30-1, 6-20-1 in WAC) seemed to save their best performance of the season for their historic final game.

There were high hopes for 2015, especially with the high number of retuning upper classman patrolling the dugout. However, those dreams seemed to fade like a mid-morning fog as injuries, defensive mishaps, and general misfortune seemed to pound them in waves for the entire conference season.

The Wolverines (18-33, 14-13 in WAC) entered the weekend series as one of the last few teams still in the running for a trip to the WAC Conference Tournament in Mesa, AZ.

UTPA's offense would explode in the second inning, plating five runs on six hits, for an early 5-0 lead.

The Broncs would extend that lead in the fourth, plating an additional five runs on four hits, including three RBI bases clearing triple by Victor Garcia Jr., to push their lead to 10-0.

UVU broke their scoreless slump in the top of the 5th, cutting the Broncs lead to 10-1 on a rocket over the left field wall by Greyson Bogden.

UTPA would respond in the home half of the inning, using a Lee Rios single to score Isaac Gonzalez from second, extending their lead to 11-1.

On the verge of being defeated via run rule, the Wolverines would once again benefit from a second home run by Greyson Bogden, this time of the two run variety, to cut the UTPA lead to 11-3.

With their collegiate careers coming to an end, two Bronc seniors had career days, as Logan Landon and Lee Rios would combine to go 8-10 with two runs and three RBI's.

Talking about his senior, Mantrana praised their dedication and drive across their time with the program saying, "I really like this group, they really give you everything they have. It's always nice for the seniors, especially in their last game in this uniform to do what they did."

Senior Logan Landon echoed his coaches sentiments about how special his final year as a Bronc had effected him saying, "It's a blessing, obviously every senior wants to go out and have a good day in your last game. Helping my team to come out a win last game it means a lot me. Knowing that I'll never come out and wear this uniform again, I'll never come out and play with these guys it big."

In a moment of amazing clarity, Landon summed up how the ability to play collegiate baseball has changed his life saying, "Baseball shaped everything that I am, everybody I've met, every place that I've gone, it's all from has shaped everything about me."

One bad inning plagues UTPA Broncs in 5-2 loss vs. Utah Valley Wolverines (May 16, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Looking for their first conference win of 2015, the University in of Texas-Pan American Broncs were plagues by one bad inning in a 5-2 loss against the Utah Valley University in game one of their season ending double header on Saturday.
The Broncs (20-30-1, 5-20-1) entered Saturday in the best possible position, having capitalized on a stellar performance from senior LHP Alex Hensen to take the first game of the series 5-4. They would hand the ball to another senior, RHP Blake English on Saturday in hopes building toward a series sweep.
The Wolverines (18-32, 14-12) were looking to keep their conference tournament hopes alive, by maintaning their slight one game lead over the sixth and final qualifying spot.
UTPA would open the scoring in the home half of the first, capitalizing on a Victor Garcia Jr. single to score Scott Mercer from third.
English would hold UVU at bay for the first two innings, however, the Wolvines offense would come to life in a big way, plating four runs on three, hits and two errors to take the lead at 4-1.

That would end English's night early, however, the well rested Broncs bullpen would do an excellent job in relief holding the Wolverines scoreless for the next five innings.
UTPA would cut into that lead in the fifth, behind an RBI double by Scott Mercer which scored Clayton Haltom from second, cutting the UVU lead to just 4-2.

UVU would tack on an insurance run in the top of the ninth, riding a Jordan Schlehuber double to the left field corner to break the scoring drought in their final half inning and push the Wolverines ahead 5-2.

The Broncs would mount a small rally in the home half of the ninth, but they would fail to push across any runs in route to the 5-2 final.

Game 2 is scheduled to follow at about 3:45 p.m..

For updates on Game 2 you can follow my tweets as @smith_kb and make sure to check back for a game two recap and quotes right here on the Box Score Report.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Pitching comes up big as UTPA Broncs defeat vs.Utah Valley Wolverines 5-4 (May 14, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - In what will be their final series opener as Broncs, The University of Texas-Pan American Baseball team received a career defining final performance from senior Alex Hensen to defeat the Utah Valley Wolverines 5-4 on Friday.

"Everything starts with pitching," said Broncs coach Manny Mantrana, "and today were able to pitch well and be played good defense... Today we had some competitive at bats, really good job with two strikes, their really making good adjustments."

The 2015 season has been a trying one for the Broncs as they have struggled through a litany of injuries and general misfortune in their final season before becoming the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for the 2016 season.

Their have been some shining lights in the dark season, as converted pitcher-turned LF Logan Landon emerged as a stellar offensive presence, hitting above .350 with 8 homeruns and 45 RBI's headed into the final series.

The Broncs (20-29-1, 5-19-1 in WAC) though mathematically eliminated from the WAC tournament, which starts next week, are playing for pride now as they hope to cap their illustrious history with one final series victory.

The Wolverines (17-32, 13-12 in WAC) are still very much in the hunt for a WAC title, currently sitting in sixth place with the ability to move up as high as third with a strong showing in their final series of the regular season.

Top six seeds all advance to the WAC tournament in Arizona the week of May 20-23.

UVU opened the scoring in the top of the 1st plating two runs on two hits to open up the games first lead.

UTPA would respond in the home half of the 2nd, capitalizing on a rough patch by Wolverine starter Danny Beddes to score two of their own and pull even at 2-2.

The Broncs took their first lead of the night in the bottom of the fourth, capitalizing on a deep SAC fly by Cole Loncar to score Isaac Gonzalez from third for a 3-2 lead.

UTPA added two more runs on the fifth on a sac bunt by Scott Mercer and a single to left field by Logan Landon to extend their lead to 5-2.

The Wolverines would come battling back in the top of the seventh, behind an RBI sinble by Mark Krueger to cut the deficit to 5-3.

That would end the ninth for Hensen who made the most of his final start overcoming the rough start to, hold the wolverines to just one run and three hits over the next 4.1 innings, putting his team in a position to win.

"I was happy for him, his last outing was a good one," said Mantrana, "I think he can pitch at the next level. It's a good feeling to see him go out on top."

UVU would continue to make the game interesting tacking on an additional run on the top of the 8th on a Jake Marvos single to cut the Broncs lead to just 5-4.

Their rally would end their however, as Mantrana would turn to freshman Johnny Gonzalez who would throw an inspired ninth inning to close out the win.

Hensen would end the night with a career high nine strikeouts, while picking up his third win of the season, which tied for his career best total at UTPA.

"The defense played great behind me," said Hensen, "I love this team, I love this school, whatever I can to help bring a win to team and for this program I'm gonna do it."

The Broncs will close their series on Sunday with a double header beginning at 12:00 from Edinburg Baseball Stadium.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

UTPA Broncs Offense Comes to Life in 5-2 Victory over Northern Colorado (April 25, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - Looking to avenge a ninth inning collapse in Game 1 or their series with Northern Colorado, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs exploded for a big first inning in route to a 5-2 victory on Saturday for their second WAC win of 2015.

"We've been playing a little bit better the last couple of weekends," said Broncs coach Manny Mantrana, "We gotten some timely hitting, which is important. The bullpen is starting to throw well."

The Broncs (15-24-1, 2-14-1 in WAC) have played some of their best baseball of late after a very rough stretch to open WAC play. Fresh off of devastating ninth inning collapse to open the series, the Broncs struck early an often to secure a pivotal win and avoid series sweep.

The Bears (14-22, 10-7 in WAC) had hoped to continue the momentum from their come ninth inning rally to put the Broncs away early and pick up their fourth WAC series victory.

Northern Colorado opened the scoring in the top of the first one run on a Marco Castilla that scored Reyn Sugai from third.

UTPA would respond in the home half of the inning, scoring four runs on four hits, including a two run single by Victor Garcia Jr, to take a 4-1 lead.

"Any crooked number in any inning is a good thing," said Mantrana, "We were able to jump out early on and held on pretty much the entire game and were in control through all nine innings."

The Bears struck again in the second, capitalizing on a single by Jake Elk to score Nick Tanner from third, and cut the UTPA lead to 4-2.

UTPA would conclude the scoring in the bottom of the seventh, riding a Cole Loncar triple to plate one additional run , extending their lead to 5-2.

Loncar, who has been hitting very well of late, turned in another great 3-4 performance. His emergence has been a welcome addition to the Broncs offense, but it hasn't come easily.

"It been good, I was seeing the ball really big," said Loncar, "I working on a lot of things recently at practice. It's a good feeling."

From their Mantrana will would turn to freshman Johnny Gonzalez in the ninth, and he would make the most of the opportunity, picking up is first career save.

"It feels good," said Gonzalez, "If been pitching really well of late. Hopefully it continues and we keep getting the wins. It feels good, getting our second win in the WAC, we're gonna starign getting it going"

The Broncs will look to pick up their first WAC series win on Sunday when they host the Bears in final game of their series at 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

UTPA Broncs WAC Struggles Continue in 10-8 Loss to Northern Colorado Bears (April 24-25, 2014)

Edinburg, TX - Looking to bounce back from one of the slowest starts in recent history, the University Texas-Pan American Broncs faltered late to the Northern Colorado Bears in a 10-8 lightening delayed slugfest from Edinburg Baseball Stadium.

The Broncs (14-24-1, 1-14-1 in WAC) are 1-2-1 in their last four games after opening the conference season with twelve straight losses. They have yet to win a WAC series in 2015. In their last series, against Chicago State, the Broncs picked up a series split, going 1-1-1.

The Bears (14-21, 10-6 in WAC) are off to one of their best start as a member of the WAC after 4-23 campaign in 2014.

UNC would open the scoring in the top of the first, using a blast by left center by Cole Maltese to open up a 3-0 lead.

UTPA would break onto the board in the home half of the second plating 2 runs on 2 hits. The first run would come on a wild pitch by Spencer Applebach that allowed Correy Davis scamper home for third.

Two batters later, a sacrifice fly by Jacob Huckabay brought Jesus Garcia in to cut the deficit to just 3-2.

The Broncs would tack on four more runs in the bottom of the 3rd, capitalizing on a RBI single by Correy Davis, a bases clearing double by Victor Garcia Jr, and a balk to take a 6-3 lead.

The Bears respond with three runs of their own in the 4th, all of which came on bomb to left by Jensen Park, pulling the match even at 6-6.

UTPA would retake the lead at 8-6 in the home half of the 4th, plating two runs on a sac bunt by Scott Mercer and an RBI single by Cole Loncar.

UNC came raring back in the top of the ninth, plating 4 runs against Broncs closer Andrew Pardon to retake the lead at 10-8.

The Broncs looked prepared to mount a comeback, however, a sudden outbreak of thunder storms would push the game into delay at 10:23 p.m.

The game would not resume until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, when the Broncs put two men on with two outs. The rally would soon falter however as a deep fly out by Victor Garcia Jr. would end the inning and give the Bears the clutch victory.

Game 2 of the series would begin just 15 minutes later.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

UTPA Broncs Drop Series Finale to Seattle University Redhawks 4-0 (March 29, 2015)

Edinburg, TX - In the wake of two sub-par defensive performances to open their first home Western Athletics Conference season, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs offense fell flat in a hard fought 4-0 loss to the Seattle University Redhawks on Sunday.

Riding a pair of stellar pitching performances, the Broncs and Redhawks would labor through an all out defensive slugfest for six full innings, before a few gently placed hits tore the game open late.

"Like I told them," said Broncs coach Manny Mantrana, "when we are struggling like we are now, that is what's going to happen. It's just a matter of making sure that we keep grinding and we keep working."

The Broncs (11-14, 0-6) are in familiar territory, having been in a similar situation to start WAC play in 2014. They would go on to win six of their next seven weekend series to finish third in the WAC behind runaway leader Sacramento State and emerging power Grand Canyon University.

To keep a similar hope alive they desperately needed to close their series with Seattle on a high note. That hope would need reach fruition, however, as two Redhawk hurlers would combine to hold the UTPA to just three hits in the series ending shutout.

The Redhawks (12-14, 5-1) have been on a complete offensive tear of late, destroying the UTPA pitching staff in the first two games of the series to score 25 runs.

Sunday would be a different story as the Redhawks would fail to bunch together hits against a resurgent UTPA defense that turned three double plays to persevere in the tight contest.

Seattle would open the scoring in the top of the 7th, using a double by Griffin Andreychuk and a single by Griffin Stober, to give the Redhawks a 2-0 lead.

After UTPA made a call to the pen to open the eight, the Redhawks would go to work against reliever Matt Rigby, extending their lead to 4-0 on back-to-back RBI singles.

That lead would be more than enough as Tarik Skubal and Ted Hammond would combine to pitch clean eighth and ninth innings to clinch the series sweep.

Hammond would make a strong argument for pitcher of the week, finishing the game having allowed no runs on three hits in 7.1 innings of work.

"He located the fastball pretty good," said Mantrana, "kept it down on both sides of the plate and really kept us off guard."

Broncs starter Ryan Jackson, would also finish with a great stat line, despite picking up the loss, allowing just two runs on seven hits in 7.0 innings of work.

"I was keeping all my pitches low," said Jackson, "keeping them down at the knees really helped me out."

UTPA will get a day off on Monday before taking the field for game on Tuesday against the Incarnate Word University Cardinals and then a three game series against the Grand Canyon Lopes beginning on Thursday.

Looking at that series Mantrana know his team is in for another hard fought matchup, saying, "Grand Canyon has a really good team. We're gonna have to play better. But, again it's a matter of grinding through this little lull."

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Preview: UTPA Broncs Look to Avoid Sweep in Sunday Matinee Against Seattle Redhawks (May 29, 2015)

Edinburg, TX -  Following back-to-back poor defensive performances, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs Baseball team will look to remedy what ails them on Sunday when the try to avoid the second straight series sweep in a matinee game against the Seattle Redhawks from Edinburg Baseball Stadium.

The Broncs (11-13 0-5 in WAC) have struggled in almost every aspect of the game accept offensively, a troubling trend given how good they have been historically on defense.

As has been discussed previously, part of those struggles can be attributed to their youth up the middle with freshman Isaac Gonzales starting at shortstop and former shortstop Jesus Garcia now manning the territory at second base.

Gonzalez, who by all accounts should be a more than serviceable starter at shortstop, was thrust in to the starting role right before conference play after the departure of junior college transfer Tony Roque for personal reasons.

He seems to make some of the more difficult plays, but recently started to muff what appear to be standard hard hit balls.

Even after an especially tough pair of outings on Friday and Saturday, his team mates still speak positively about the skills he brings to the field every night.

His partner in the middle infield, Garcia, knows that the struggle can get to any freshman, but had high praise saying, "He's a great player and he's going to do great things. In the end I have confidence in him. Their is not much else you can say about him."

The Redhawks (11-14, 4-1 in WAC) have continued explode from the plate and have sparked a 10-6 run over their last 16 games to pull very close to .500 after an abysmal 1-8 start.

Seattle has shown an innate  ability to plate runs in droves, especially when their team speed is aided by their opponent allowing extra runners on the base paths.

Look for the Redhawks to pull out all the stop offensively as they try to close out the series sweep and capitalize on the Broncs already shaky defensive confidence.

The Broncs to minimize their defensive yips and hope to strike early behind the thunderous bat of Logan Landon, who's among WAC's best at over .400 with 4 HR's and 21 RBI's, and the emergent Correy Davis, 4-4 on Friday, and Jesus Garcia, 3-4 on Saturday, in what has been a solid offensive series.

UTPA turn the ball over to their much harelded freshman righty, Ryan Jackson, as the look to bounced back from this rough stretch.

The Broncs will look once again to break their winless streak against Seattle, which holds a 5-0 advantage dating back to a series sweep early last season.

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.