KINGSVILLE (Javelina Athletics) - Whether it was multiple wins over top 10 teams, a Top 10 ranking, a fifth Lone Star Conference Tournament title, or a school-record 42 wins, the Texas A&M-Kingsville baseball team took another step forward as an elite program in 2013.
That elite season fell short of the Javelinas' ultimate goal of advancing to the NCAA Division II College World Series on Sunday when the Javelinas fell 7-1 to St. Edward's in the NCAA South Central Region Finals at Nolan Ryan Field in Kingsville.
Kingsville ended the season with a 42-17 record bettering the previous high of 38. St. Edward's improved to 42-18.
The game featured a matchup of two of the region's top pitchers coming back on short rest. The Javelinas sent 10-game winner Dallas Ponder to the mound versus Brannon Easterling, who earned his 13th win in the game.
Unfortunately for the Hoggies, it was the Hilltoppers who figured out the other team's ace first as they scored three runs in the first off Ponder and four in a 1-1/3 innings.
Taylor Johnson started things on the fight foot for the Toppers with a solo home run to lead-off the game. Ponder then hit a pair of batters later in the frame who scored on a single Nate Bobrowski for a 3-0 lead.
St. Edward's added single runs in the second and third innings including a solo home run in the third by Dylan Watts off Cody Williams. The home run made it a 5-0 game.
Ryan Guedry put the Javelinas on the board in the bottom of the fifth. With two away, Matt Perez singled and went to second a hit by Travis Laird. Guedry, who had seven RBI in the region tournament, followed with a single to left to drive in Perez.
Easterling would not allow the Javelinas to mount much of a threat the remainder of the game. Kingsville would get just two more runners as far as second base, while the Hilltoppers added their final two runs in the eighth including their third home run of the game a solo shot by Ryan Dolezal.
For the game, Easterling allowed eight hits in nine innings of work. He walked one and struck out five.
Williams would pitch 5-2/3 innings for Kingsville allowing two runs on six hits. He fanned three and walked one. Jeremy Flores, who shattered the single-season and career records for saves finishing the year with 14 and 23 in his career, tossed the final two innings.