SAN ANGELO, Texas -– No. 17 Texas A&M-Kingsville came out swinging in its Lone Star Conference opener, scoring nine runs in the game’s first four innings which was more than enough support for starting pitcher Dallas Ponder as the Javelinas downed No. 12 Angelo State 12-0 in eight innings on Friday night.
Ponder remains unbeaten on the season improving to 6-0 as he earned his fourth win against a ranked opponent. The junior, who scattered four hits and struck out five, has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings pitched. He was relieved by Ryan Benitez who tossed a hitless eighth to end the game.
With the win over the preseason choice to win the league, Kingsville moves to 16-4 and 1-0 in the LSC. The Javelinas are now 4-1 against ranked opponents this season. Angelo falls to 14-7 on the year.
The offense wasted little time getting on the board with three runs in the first inning and four in the second. In the end the Javelinas posted 12 runs on 13 hits, while taking advantage of eight Ram walks and three errors.
Three Javelina singles by Joe Tallerine, Ben Villafuerte and Tyler Taska opened the game with Taska driving in the opening run off Bryan Zak, who was 4-0 with a 2.12 ERA. After Villafuerte plated on an error, Matt Perez drove in Taska with a single up the middle.
Julian Duran opened the second with a single and steal and scored as Dustin Aguilar reached on an error by Zak. After stealing third, Aguilar scored on a bunt by Villafuerte. Taska loaded the bases with a walk with no outs chasing Zak from the game. With one away, Perez drew a bases loaded walk scoring Tallerine. Villafuerte scored the fourth run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Cash Barker.
After not scoring in the third, Kingsville put up a crooked number in the fourth. Villafuerte and Taska opened the inning with back-to-back solo home runs off Mason Leavitt for a 9-0 lead. The home run was the first of the season for Villafuerte, while Taska’s was his team-leading third.
Kingsville finished with three runs in the eighth. Taska, who led the eighth off with a single, scored as Barker hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. Chris Ballou crossed the plate on an error on the same play. James Black capped the scoring with an RBI single to right field.
Villafuerte and Taska led Kingsville with three hits, three runs scored and two RBI apiece in the win. Taska was 3-of-3 with two walks. Tallerine and Perez each added a pair of hits in the game. It was the third time in six games that the Hoggies scored 12-or-more runs.