SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The Texas A&M-Kingsville baseball team belted out 17 hits Tuesday night at Wolff Stadium en route to the team's sixth-straight win and third in as many tries over a ranked opponent downing No. 5 St. Mary's 9-7.
With the win, the Javelinas move to 7-1 which is the team's best start since going 17-1 to start the 2006 season. St. Mary's, which entered as the top team in the South Central Region drops to 5-3 on the season.
The 17 hits were the second-highest total for the Javelinas this season. Three Kingsville players had three hits apiece in the game. Joe Tallerine and Ben Villafuerte - the team's No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the lineup, each had three. James Black, who finished a triple shy of the hitting for the cycle also had three hits and led the team with three runs batted in. Taylor Taska and Ryan Guedry each recorded a pair of hits.
On the mound, Dallas Ponder made his third start of the season. Ponder, who already had wins versus nationally ranked Central Missouri and St. Cloud State, moved to 3-0 with a solid 5-inning performance. He allowed two runs on six hits and struck out one.
A foursome of relievers followed Ponder. Diefenbach allowed two runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning. Cody Williams was next allowing two unearned runs on one hit in two innings while striking out four. After Taylor Taska, faced the final batter of the eighth, Jeremy Flores recorded his third save of the season. He allowed one run on two hits.
Rick Villa suffered the loss for the Rattlers as he allowed four runs with three earned on two hits n 2/3 of an inning.
Down 2-0 heading into the fourth inning, Kingsville scored six runs in the next three innings.
After Matt Perez doubled and scored on a single by Black in the third, Villafuerte tied the game in the fifth. With one away he singled and went to second on a wild pitch by Derek Moczygemba. With two away, Chris Ballou singled up the middle to plate the Javelina second baseman.
Kingsville took the lead in the sixth. With one away, Clint Wallace was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch. Black drove in Wallace with a two-bagger to right-center field. Following an infield single by Dustin Aguilar, Villafuerte drew the first of three straight walks. Taska and Ballou each drew walks of Colter Bostick, who didn't record an out bringing in a run with each. The final run of the inning scored when Perez reached on an error bringing in Villafuerte for a 6-2 advantage.
After the Rattlers pulled back to within two runs on a double by Al Gonzalez, the Javelinas added a pair in the seventh and one in the eighth. In the seventh, Black hit a solo home run and Tallerine single and scored on a base hit to left by Taska. Clint Wallace drove in the Javelinas final run for a 9-4 lead with a triple to plate Julio Duran.
An error in the eighth led to a pair of unearned runs, allowing St. Mary's to pull within three at 9-6. They added a final run in the ninth.
Kingsville makes its 2013 home debut this weekend when Oklahoma Christian visits. The teams will meet at 6 p.m. Friday with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m.