Bats Propel Broncs to 7-4 Victory over Arlington Baptist
Edinburg, TX – The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs baseball team is all about support. Their pitching supports their defense, their defense supports the offense, their offense take pressure off their pitching staff. Spend five minutes around the team and you’ll see just how tightly knit this group of guys is. The quality proved vital for them on Friday night as they defeated the Arlington Baptist College Patriots 7-4 to snap a three game skid.
“Offensively we did well,” said Broncs coach Manny Mantrana, “but defensively we didn’t play really well. That eighth inning started with a bloop single, and of the eight or nine hits they had, six were bloops. Then we misplayed a bunt to third, and couldn’t complete the double play later in the inning and that hurt us.”
The Broncs (7-7) aren’t built to score a hoard of runs, so pitching and defense are as vital to them as water and oxygen, without either, the team struggles to survive. In their prior three games against Lamar University and UTSA, their defense struggled in close innings in route to a series of closes losses to both programs.
Their counterparts from the northern part of the state, the Arlington Baptist Patriots (10-10) have a quality program. Although they are largely overmatched, these NCCAA members, are making the trip to Edinburg for three of the six total games they will play against Division 1 opponents in 2014.
UTPA would open the scoring in the bottom of first, plating two runs on a blast to right by Alberto Morales, to score himself and Bryan Ramirez from second.
“Putting good swings on the ball is important,” said Morales, “coach emphasizes hitting and quality approaches and we work hard on our aspects.”
Arlington Baptist responded in the top of the second, to cut the Broncs lead to 2-1, on a single to right by Kevin Schulz.
The Broncs would expand their lead to 5-1 over the next few innings, plating a single run in the second, third, a fourth innings off starter Michael Scruggs.
UTPA would plate their final two runs in the home half of the sixth on an RBI triple by Jesus Garcia, and a SAC fly by Bryan Ramirez to extend their lead to 7-1.
Broncs starter Sam Street looked to be in full control through seven innings of play, before a series of defensive lapses would pull the game eerily close in the 8th.
UTPA would commit two errors in the inning, one a slow roller to third, another on a botch double play ball by the shortstop, cutting the lead to 7-4.
During the post game interview Street was very supportive of him teammates effort and how they helped him manage his performance from the mound saying, “I work hard to try and pick the guys up when they struggle, they save me a lot more than I have to save them. We just have to bear down and try to work our way out of those tough situations.”
Street would overcome that adversity quickly, however, pitching a clean 9th inning to earn the complete game victory.
The Broncs will close out this three game home stand with a double header on Saturday, before hitting the road for two games at #25 Texas A&M and a three game set against #12 Oklahoma State over the next week.