May 6, 2013 9:25 PM
CANYON, Texas - The Texas A&M-Kingsville baseball team regrouped from a 7-5 loss to Angelo State in the opening game of the Lone Star Conference Championship to win the second game, 10-7, for the program's fifth LSC title and first under head coach Jason Gonzales.
The Javelinas pounded out 14 hits in the decisive game with eight different players getting a hit. Taylor Taska led the way with three hits and pitched four innings of relief to get his second win of the tournament and ninth of the season. He was named the tournament MVP.
With the win, the Javelinas clinch an automatic spot in the NCAA South Central Regional. Ranked No. 1 in the region entering the weekend the Javelinas moved to 39-16 with win setting a new school record for wins. ASU dropped to 36-19.
After losing a 5-1 lead in the first game, the Hoggies jumped out to an early in game two scoring four runs in the top of the first inning in a light rain off Michael Lange.
In the four-run first, the Javelinas had back-to-back singles by Ben Villafuerte and Taska to get things started. Chris Ballou sliced a single through the right side of the infield driving in Villafuerte, while Taska came home as James Black reached on a fielder's choice. After Travis Laird doubled to put runners at second and third, Clint Wallace lined a single to right-center field to bring in both Laird and Black.
Christian Summers doubled in a run off Miles Holcomb, who went 3-1/3 innings in just his second start of the season, in the bottom of the first to make it a 4-1 game. Holcomb allowed just two runs on three hits in before leaving after 60 pitches.
The score remained 4-1 until the top of the third inning when Black led off the inning with a solo home run to left. Black's home run off Mike Weatherly was his fifth of the season.
A sacrifice fly by Quaid McKinnon in the bottom of the third kept the Kingsville advantage at three runs, 5-2.
ASU threatened in the bottom of the fifth. Tres Tyler, who relieved Holcomb in the bottom of the fourth, hit the first two batters he faced in the fifth. Taska then took over on the mound and forced Ryan Greer into a crucial 5-3 double play. Taska ended the inning by getting Neumann to groundout to short.
The Javelinas continued to add to their lead with two runs each in the sixth and seventh innings.
In the sixth, Matt Perez doubled to start the inning and scored on a James Wallace single. The elder Wallace moved to second a sacrifice bunt and raced home on single to left by Taska for a 7-2 lead.
The Hoggies took advantage of an error in the top of the seventh to push the lead to 9-2.
The runs would prove to be much needed as ASU plated five runs in the bottom of the seventh off Taska. McKinnon started the scoring with an RBI single to right to plate Hunter Choate. After Neumann walked, Summers struck again with a triple into the corner in right. Summers then scored the fifth run of the inning by stealing home.
In the top of the eighth, the Javelinas added a single run off Bryce Zak. Zak hit Villafuerte to open the inning. After moving to third on a single by Taska, Villafuerte scored on a single by Ballou.
After Taska tossed a scoreless eighth, Jeremy Flores picked up his fourth save of the tournament with zero runs in the ninth. It was his 13th save of the season.
In the first game of the day, Kingsville struck first in the bottom of the second. Ballou led off with a single as his grounder took a high hop over the shortstop and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cash Barker. Black singled up the middle to plate Ballou. Black scored on a 2-out single by Laird.
Angelo State nearly added a run in the top of the third when Ryan Greer singled to left with two away. The relay throw from Julian Duran to left to Black to Barker was in time to get David Goggin at the plate to save a run. Barker would leave with a leg injury after the play.
ASU broke through in the fourth with a run on back-to-back doubles down the left-field line. Neumann lined the first double and scored on double by Summers.
Kingsville responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning as Laird again had a clutch hit with two away. Clint Wallace drew a walk with one out from Mason Leavitt, while Perez reached on an infield error with two away. Laird hit a shot off the wall in center field to the deepest part of the field for a triple to clear the bases for a 4-1 lead.
The Javelinas seemingly added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth for a 5-1 lead as Taska doubled off the wall in right-center field to drive in Joe Tallerine.
Pettiford, who was rested the final weekend of the regular season, kept Angelo State at bay for much of the first six innings.
In the seventh, the Rams offense warmed up loading the bases with one away. Kingsville appeared to have worked out of the jam as Pettiford induced a tailor-made, double-play groundball to second. After getting the out at second, Perez was unable to cleanly get rid of the ball allowing Goggin to score. Quaid McKinnon followed and belted a 3-run home run to right field to deadlock game at five.
After recording the final out of the seventh, Dallas Ponder stayed on the mound in the eighth and struggled allowing a 2-run single to Hunter Choate. Ponder, who would suffer his first loss of the season had walked the lead-off hitter and Reggie Rodriguez singled who each scored on the hit for a 7-5.
Jake Feckley earned the win by tossing three innings of 1-hit relief for the Rams to move to 10-4.