AII TOURNAMENT: Jaguars open tournament with split
UHV came into the Association of Independent Institutions tournament as the fifth seed.
But the Jaguars played more like a contender for the championship.
UHV opened the tournament with a 4-1 win over Fisher College before dropping a 3-1 decision to top seed Cal State San Marcos on Wednesday at Riverside Stadium.
LSU-Alexandria (37-18) drubbed Ashford University 11-1 in Wednesday's other game, setting up a contest with Cal State San Marcos (33-10) for a berth in the championship game.
The Jaguars (20-22) will play an elimination game against the Fisher College (33-16)-Ashford (23-17) winner Thursday at 6 p.m.
"In a lot of ways, you could say it could be the two best teams here," said UHV coach Terry Puhl after the Jaguars' loss to Cal State San Marcos. "We played well. We had early chances that we never executed properly on, and it came back to bite us."
UHV relied on the pitching of Cory Carter and some clutch hitting as it got past Fisher College and previously unbeaten left-hander Chris O'Hare, who was named the AII's pitcher of the year Wednesday.
"I knew he was going to try and do his best, and I was going to do the same," Carter said. "I knew it was going to be a close ballgame coming into this. The guys stepped up and got me some insurance. I kept pitching with the lead the whole time, so I've got to thank them for that."
Carter worked around six hits and three walks and struck out 11 in eight innings.
"He's been pitching well this year, and he's built up to seven innings," Puhl said. "Doug (Heinold, pitching coach) and I were questioning in that eighth a lot. He really did a good job of throwing strikes and not walking guys."
The Jaguars had nine of their 10 hits against O'Hare, including an RBI double by Robert Gleinser in the second inning to put them on top to stay.
"What I was looking for was a changeup or fastball," said Gleinser, a Victoria East graduate, who had two hits. "Curveball, I'm going to take it the other way. But I wanted a fastball inside and I got it and I took it down the line.
"I was just battling until I got that pitch," he added. "If it's not there, keep battling and battling, and when it's there, you take it somewhere."
UHV had five hits in the first three innings against Cal State San Marcos but had two runners thrown out on the bases and did not score.
The Cougars took a 1-0 lead off of starter Andrew Walker, who was pulled after the first inning in favor of Nathan Falkenstine.
Falkenstine yielded one run until being relieved in the sixth.
"Nathan came in and gave us a different look and kept us in that ballgame and gave us a chance," Puhl said. "We couldn't get a big hit, and that's what you've got to do against that type of team."
Corti Wilson had two hits, including a double, and scored the Jaguars' only run on a fielder's choice grounder by Chad Kruse.
"We hit the ball hard today," Puhl said. "We've got guys who know how to hit."
• UHV's Kruse was named to the AII first team at third base. UHV catcher Brandon Bohanon and shortstop Dylan Blaha were selected to the second team.
• The times of Thursday's games were pushed back. If a second championship game is necessary, it will be played Saturday to prevent a scenario where a team would have to play three games on Friday, which is against NAIA rules.
UHV 4, Fisher College 1
UHV 020 000 020 - 4 10 0
Fisher College 000 000 010 - 1 6 1
Cory Carter, Nick Huff (9) and Matt Herrera. Christopher O'Hare, Moises Melo-Reyes (8) and Sammy Alejandro. W: Carter (5-4). L: O'Hare (9-1). S: Huff (3). Highlights: (UHV) Carter 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11 K; Robert Gleinser 2 for 3, 2B, R, RBI; Herrera 1 for 2, 2 RBIs; Stephen Shorkey 1 for 1, RBI. (FC) Victor Lebron 2 for 4, RBI; Anthony Peguero 2 for 4. Records: Fisher College 33-16.
Cal State San Marcos 3, UHV 1
UHV 000 010 000 - 1 8 1
CSUSM 100 100 01x - 3 9 1
Andrew Walker, Nathan Falkenstine (2), Andre Del Bosque (6), Clayton Fowler (8) and Brandon Bohanon, Matt Herrera (6). James Dykstra, Kyle Kuck (8) and Kody Sepulveda. W: Dykstra. L: Walker (1-3). S: Kuck. Highlights: (UHV) Dylan Blaha 2 for 4; Corti Wilson 2 for 4, 2B, R. (CSUSM) Brandon Bentson 2 for 3, RBI; Dylan Costello 1 for 2, RBI; Dykstra 7 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 5 K; Kuck 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Records: UHV 20-22; CSUSM 33-10.