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Matadors cruise in Alumni game
Matador alumnus right fielder Jason Anderson whiffed on a mighty hack in his first at-bat in the second inning. A sheepish grin was painted across his face as he walked back to the dugout.
“I looked good striking out though?” he asked his teammates. “That's all that really matters.”
That was the good-natured attitude the alumni team took as they were beaten 15-1 by the current Matadors Saturday afternoon.
After the alumni team went up 1-0 on a RBI single from Biggie Flores, alumnus starting pitcher Jerry Renteria had a bit of a rough first inning. Renteria gave up five runs on three hits.
“I was a little rusty,” Renteria said with a laugh. “It's been a few months. I haven't really been keeping up playing, but it was a lot of fun.”
Renteria, who was playing in his first alumni game, played for the Matadors from 2008-10.
“It's my first time, it was really fun. (It) just brings back a lot of memories of when I was here,” he said. “I'll definitely be back next year. I'll keep coming back rustier and rustier every year.”
One alumnus who didn't look too rusty was Sam Garcia. Garcia played well at second base and went 1-3 with a walk, and one of his outs was on a long fly ball that AWC center fielder Hayden Calvert made a great play on.
“Sometimes you come out here and you think you still have it,” Garcia said. “If you love baseball you do what you can to stay in the game.”
The defense tried its hardest to keep the class of 1990 graduate Garcia off the base paths. His lone hit was of the infield variety, as AWC second basemen Angel Sanchez ranged way up the middle to snag Garcia's seeing-eye single.
“I guess I beat it out,” Garcia said. “We'll keep it as a hit. They have a good solid defense so good thing my legs kept up.”
Garcia says he didn't give his younger teammates too bad a time about striking out 15 times in the game. When he struck out looking on a low strike in the top of the ninth, he had a few words for the umpire.
“I said, ‘I thought we were all good, I thought we were friends,'” Garcia said jokingly.
Matador head coach Drew Keehn loved seeing all the former players and coaches hitting the field and is hoping the alumni game grows.
“It means a lot to the program and we're really working to get as many people as we can out,” he said. “We'd like to see 30, 40 dudes, but the way life is today people have different stuff going on. In terms of what the alumni mean, and we talk about it with our guys, the program is about the players. Being able to connect with them and see them, and still those guys play at a pretty high level and can still compete and do those things. It's important for our guys to connect with them as well.”
The Matadors kick off their regular season 11 a.m. Friday when they take on Southern Nevada in the Coyote Border Battle in Henderson, Nev.