Dallas, Sul Ross split to open D-III season

Dallas and Sul Ross State played on opening day for the second straight year.
Dallas athletics photo

ALPINE, Texas- Justin Vajgert scattered four hits over six innings and his Sul Ross State teammates tallied seven runs in the seventh inning for a 10-4 win and a split of Saturday's season-opening doubleheader against visiting University of Dallas.

The Crusaders got the offense rolling quickly with runs scored in their first trip to the plate to begin the campaign. UD banged four hits and two runs in the opening frame, with the first three batters up reaching on base knocks. Freshman Josh Abalos and senior Rene Vargas, Jr. beat out infield singles to start things, and senior Luciano Villanueva smacked a double to bring both home.

After Sul Ross State knotted the game with a pair of runs in the third, Dallas put another crooked number up with three runs in the top of the fourth. The trio of runs came off the bat of freshman Mark Peterson, who blasted his first collegiate homer. Sophomores Cole Wessling and Derek Valiska crossed the dish on that dinger.

The Lobos nipped the deficit to 5-4 with another pair of runs scored in their half of the fifth. Abalos scampered home on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth for a much needed insurance run. Villanueva collected his first career save with UD and held on to the one-run victory after allowing a two-out double down the line to Jonny Campos.

In the nightcap, the Lobos took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI singles by Trent Pearson and Johnny Campos. After Rene Vargas, Jr. cracked a solo homer in the third to cut the gap to 2-1, Vajgert slammed the door, blanking UDallas on two hits over the next three frames.  The Lobos rebuilt a two-run cushion in the fifth on a walk to Kit Henderson and back-to-back two-out singles by Eli Gallego and Ryan Almager.

After Lobo reliever Coleman Ramsey worked a one-two-three seventh, Sul Ross erupted for five runs, slapping five hits, including Gallego's two-run double and an RBI triple from Johnathan Bigley, and capitalizing on three Crusader errors.

UDallas added a run in the eighth on Peterson's RBI groundout, but Sul Ross countered with a bunt RBI single from Henderson and a fielder's choice grounder from Almager for a 10-2 margin. Four ninth-inning singles and a Lobo miscue plated the Crusaders' final two tallies.

Henderson poked three singles, while Gallego and Phillip Russell had two hits each to pace the 12-hit attack. Campos, Chris York, Bigley, Pearson and Almager also hit safely.

Vajgert struck out five and walked two over six frames in gaining the win.