Texas A&M-Kingsville Athletics
KINGSVILLE, Texas – Texas A&M-Kingsville opened the Lone Star Conference season in style with an exciting 14-13 win over No. 8 Abilene Christian at Nolan Ryan Field.
The Javelinas (3-1, 1-0) twice trailed by as many eight runs. They fell behind 9-1 after three innings, but were able to claw their way back into the game scoring twice in the fourth and once in the fifth and sixth innings to pull to within four runs. The Wildcats (0-1, 0-1) then put four runs on the board in the top of the seventh inning, all coming with two outs.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Wildcat pitching staff suddenly lost control. They walked or hit 10 consecutive Javelinas batters as the scored turned to a 13-12 ACU lead with one out. After finally recording an out, Chris Ballou and Adrian Williams each had run-scoring singles for the Javalinas, who would not reliquish the lead.
Javelina head coach Jason Gonzales turned to his top two relief pitchers to close out the game. First, Clint Brown took just nine pitches to dispatch of the Wildcats in the eighth inning. Then, Jeremy Flores walked one and struck out two batters to close out the victory.
The Wildcats were able to build their lead with help from some shoddy defense by the Hoggies in the first few innings. They chased Javelina starting pitcher David de Leon after just 2.1 innings by scoring nine runs, with five of them unearned.
The Javelinas reached base 25 times in the game via hit, walk or hit by pitch. Ballou finished the game 2 for 3 with three runs and an RBI. Williams had a pair of clutch hits, scored a run and drove in four runs. Ryan Cook went 2 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs.
Javelina freshman Nathan Humpal picked up his first career victory after tossing 4.2 innings of relief. He held the Wildcats scoreless for the first four innings before tiring, but struck out six while walking only one. The Javs struck out 14 Wildcats batters in the game.
The Wildcats had 13 hits, including five extra-base hits, and also stole 10 bases in the game. Duncan Blades went 2 for 5 with three RBIs, a triple and a run scored. Three other players had two hits in the game. Aaron Oliver scored three times while Bryce Gerhardt stole three bases.
Zach Sneed allowed six hits, three earned runs and two walks while striking out three batters in 5.0 innings in a no decision. Jason Harris was tagged with the loss in 1.1 innings of relief.