UTPB splits opening day doubleheader with Rogers State

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ODESSA - UTPB opened up the season at home against Rogers State and get off on the right foot to the 2019 season.

Trailing in the bottom of the fourth inning, Gabriel Melendez's grand slam gave the Falcons a 6-3 lead they wouldn't surrender in picking up their first win of the season, 7-3. This came in the second game of a doubleheader after dropping the opening game 7-4.

The Falcons (1-1) would open the scoring in the first game in the second inning. After loading the bases, Tylor Frailey came through with a single back up the middle for a pair of runs. The Falcons would add to their lead in the fourth on an RBI-single by Peyton Koopman would make it 3-0. After cruising through four innings starter Alex Rivera ran into trouble in the fifth. After erasing a lead-off double by throwing the runner out at third, the Hillcats (1-0) strung together a couple of hits for their first run of the game. They would add another off reliever Nick Bartley to make it 3-2. The Falcons would answer in their half of the inning. Sklyer Palermo got things going with double down the left field line. Tyler Vlasek would drive him in with a triple into the right-center field gap to push the lead back to two. The Hillcats would comeback in the sixth to score four runs off three Falcon pitchers to make it 6-4. They would add an insurance run on a wild pitch in the seventh for the 7-4 final.

The Hillcats would start fast in the second game taking a 2-0 lead after just four batters on a triple from Grant Farris. Lead-off hitter Pemron Burrows would use hit legs to steal a run back in the bottom of the third for the Falcons. He would lead off the inning with a perfectly placed bunt just past the pitcher in front of the second baseman. After advancing on a balk, he would steal third and then score on a wild pitch that didn't trickle far from the catcher. In their half of the fourth the Hillcats would answer with an RBI-single to make it 3-1. Reliever Paul McRae would come in with first and third with just one out and get out of the inning with no more damage.

The Falcon offense would come alive in the bottom of the inning. Dalton Castillo would open the frame with a first pitch single to left before Andres Romero would walk and Andrew Donovan would be hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Burrows would work a walk to bring in the first run of the inning. The next batter would be Melendez who would crush one to right field for an opposite field grand slam and give the Falcons a 6-3 lead. The Falcons would add an insurance run in the fifth. Palermo would work a lead-off walk. Castillo would attempt to bunt him over but the throw was high allowing Palermo to score all the way from first. The Hillcats would only get one runner on in the final to innings, who would be immediately erased on a double play.

Quinton Rockwell picked up the loss in the opening game while McRae earned the win in the second game. Frailey would go 2-4 in the first game with a pair of RBI. Starting pitcher Alex Rivera would finish 4.2 innings allowing two runs. In the second game, Melendez finished with the grand slam and a ground rule double to left field. McRae threw 2.2 scoreless innings allowing just one hit. Krisjon Segleski would throw a clean seventh to finish the game. In game two the Falcon bullpen combined for 5.1 innings, allowing one run and just three hits while striking out five.

The Falcons go for the series win tomorrow at 1 p.m. before heading to Cleburne next week for the Alpine Fresh 4-Him Classic Tournament.