The University of Houston-Victoria Jaguars were perfect in defense of their Association of Independent Institutions Conference baseball title.
The Jaguars went 4-0 in the tournament and once again outslugged Lambuth University for the title with a 17-13 victory in the championship game.
Despite falling down 8-0 in the top of the first to Lambuth, the Jaguars banged out 18 hits in Saturday’s championship game and used their own eight-run eighth inning to capture the title. To counter the 8-run first by Lambuth, the Jaguars scored a pair of runs in each of the first three innings and found themselves trailing 10-6.
UHV added three more runs in the sixth, but still found itself down 11-9, before erupting in the eighth. David Baker helped pace the offense in the championship game going 4-for-6 with three doubles, two runs and two RBI, while John Longoria went 3-for-6 with a home run, four RBI and two runs. Ryan Gilbert also went 3-for-6 with two RBI and two runs, and tournament MVP Austin Kent went 1-for-4 with four runs and a double.
For the tournament, Kent was 9-for-18 with 10 runs scored, three RBI, three home runs and a double from his leadoff position.
The Jaguars opened defense of their conference title with a 4-3 win over Cal State-San Marcos on Wednesday. Kent was 3-for-5 with three runs, a home run and an RBI. Zack Moya earned the win allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings. Pete Ontiveros picked up the first of his two saves in the tournament.
UHV used a four-run eighth inning to turn back LSU-Alexandria in their second game on Thursday as Kent went 2-for-4 with a run, RBI and home run. Josh Bromberg was 2-for-3 with a run, RBI and a triple. David Baker added a double and an RBI in going 1-for-3. Casey Newman picked up the win in relief of Broc Haymon, who started and went seven innings. Ontiveros got the save with a scoreless ninth as he struck two of the three batters he faced.
The Jaguars reached the title game by banging out 17 hits and defeating Thomas University 10-8 on Friday.
Kent was 3-for-5 with two runs, a home run and an RBI, while Ryan Gilbert was 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI, and Longoria 2-for-6 with two runs, two RBI and a double. Anthony Phillips went 3-for-6 with two RBI, a run, a home and a double, while Baker was 3-for-6 with three RBI, a home run and a run. Ontiveros worked three innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win as he allowed one hit and a walk, while striking out one.
The Jaguars, 31-20, advance to the NAIA National Championship opening rounds to be played May 18-21 for a shot at advancing to the 54th annual Avista-NAIA National Championships to be played May 28-June 4 in Lewiston, Idaho.