Jan 9, 2014 9:56 PM by Texas A&M Kingsville
KINGSVILLE, Texas - Coming off a record-setting season that ended in the region finals, the Texas A&M-Kingsville baseball team is attracting the attention of pollsters as it is ranked as high as fourth in preseason polls.
The Javelinas, who set a school record with 42 wins and hosted the NCAA South Central Region tournament, are ranked fourth in the D2Baseball.com poll. The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has the Hoggies ranked 11th.
"We are excited about the possibilities and high expectations of the upcoming season," said Javelina head coach Jason Gonzales. " We have a group of hungry and determined players that are anxious to build upon the success that we had last year. We have worked extremely hard the last 5 years to gain respect around the conference and the country, now we have to be prepared to play with a bull's eye on our backs."
Led by Taylor Taska, who received multiple postseason honors last season, the Javelinas return five batters who hit .300-or-better a season ago. Taska hit .341 with seven home runs, 52 runs batted in and 51 runs scored. Also back are Ryan Guedry (.328), James Black (.310), Matt Perez (.307), and Clint Wallace (.307).
On the mound, the Javelinas four pitchers who started 40 of the team's 60 games and combined to win 33 games. Dallas Ponder leads the returnees with 10 wins and 88 strikeouts, while Taylor Taska went 9-3 with a 3.32 ERA. Matt Rhodes finished the year 8-3 and had the best ERA amongst returning pitchers at 3.13.
The Hoggies open their season on Feb. 1 when Houston-Victoria comes to town for a doubleheader at 1 p.m.