UTRGV Baseball Opens Season Against Kansas State
EDINBURG - The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Friday that, for the second year in a row, the defending Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Champion baseball team will open up the season with a home series against a Big 12 opponent, this time hosting Kansas State for the first four of 56 games leading up to the WAC Tournament, starting on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at UTRGV Baseball Stadium.
UTRGV also plays Kansas State on Feb. 15 and 16 at 2 p.m. and Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
UTRGV plays its next three games at Oklahoma State, which advanced to the super regionals and is the team UTRGV hosted to open the 2019 season. In total, the Vaqueros play 11 games against Big 12 competition, along with a Feb. 26 trip to NCAA Tournament participant Baylor, an April 21 visit to NCAA Tournament participant TCU, and an April 28 trip to Texas.
“The Big 12 is a great baseball conference. We’ve played about 10 Big 12 games every year we’ve been here,” UTRGV head coach Derek Matlock said. “Any time that you can play those types of team, it gives us the chance to elevate our team and see where we stand early in the year, which is what we want. We’ve got to find out how good we are early and be able to make changes as needed. It’s exciting for our kids to play those guys. I think we’ll have a great crowd here to open the season.”
After the Oklahoma State series, UTRGV visits Houston before facing Baylor and then returning home for a 12-game home stand, the Vaqueros’ longest during a schedule that includes 29 home games.
The home stand begins with four game series against South Dakota State Feb. 28-March 1 and NJIT March 6-8. UTRGV hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as part of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, on March 11 before closing out the home stand with three games against Texas Southern March 13-15.
After a return trip to Corpus Christi as part of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, on March 17, UTRGV opens its WAC title defense at Seattle U March 20-22. UTRGV then visits Incarnate Word before its first WAC home series, March 27-29 against Grand Canyon.
UTRGV opens April with a season-long eight-game road trip, starting at UTSA on March 31 and continuing at Chicago State April 3-5. Then, after a trip to Corpus Christi on April 7 for what could serve as the tiebreaker, if necessary, of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, UTRGV visits California Baptist for the first time April 9-11.
UTRGV returns home to face Incarnate Word on April 14 and then welcomes reigning WAC Tournament Champion Sacramento State to town April 17-19.
In-between the games at TCU and Texas, UTRGV visits Northern Colorado April 24-26.
UTRGV plays six of its final 10 regular season games at home, hosting New Mexico State May 1-3 and CSU Bakersfield May 14-16. In-between those series, UTRGV visits Texas State on May 5 and Utah Valley May 8-10.
The top six teams in the WAC advance to the WAC Tournament, which runs May 20-24 at Hohokam Stadium, the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics, in Mesa, Ariz. The WAC Tournament Champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“As far as goals, we’re just going to play hard every day. That’s all we can control,” Matlock said. “If we buy into the process, the results will come and it will be an exciting year.”
UTRGV will also host an Orange vs. Gray intrasquad game on Feb. 1 at 1 p.m.
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