The Texas A&M-Kingsville baseball team closed out the home portion of its regular-season schedule on Saturday by moving to within one win and a West Texas loss of ensuring more baseball to be played at Nolan Ryan Field the second weekend of May.
The Javelinas (33-14 overall and 23-9) clinched a series sweep of Angelo State (25-22, 14-18) with an 8-0 win in the first game on Saturday followed by a 14-4 run-rule victory in game two in seven innings. Combined with Friday’s 2-1 win, the Hoggies outscored the Rams 24-5 in the three-game series.
With the sweep, and West Texas A&M losing two of three in its series with Tarleton State, the Javelinas clinched a share of the regular-season Lone Star Conference championship and enter the final weekend three games up on WT. If Kingsville wins one game next week in its 3-game set at Tarleton State, the Hoggies will play host to the Lone Star Conference Championship May 8-10 and win the regular-season title outright. With the Buffaloes winning the season series 4-3 over the Javelinas, Kingsville must finish a game ahead to host the tournament.
In the first game, the Javelinas quickly took the lead in the bottom of the first inning sending 11 hitters to the plate in their first turn. Kingsville managed to take advantage of walks to four of the first five batters by Angelo State starting pitcher Jason Zgardowski (4-5), who permitted five earned runs in a third of an inning.
Ryan Guedry drove in the first run with a single, while James Black drew a bases loaded walk. Following an RBI single by Clint Wallace, Justin Lee belted a 2-run double for a 5-0 lead.
Kingsville added a pair of runs in the second. Taylor Taska singled and advanced to third on a single by Brian Frazier. Taska would score on a double steal. Guedry scored on a single by Lee, who had a game-high three runs batted in.
The hosts added their final run in the seventh. With one away, Taska singled and crossed the plate on a 2-out single by Black.
With the run support, Denver Diefenbach was nearly untouchable. He picked up his conference leading ninth win tossing a 4-hit complete game. It was his fourth complete-game effort and second shutout.
In the second game, Javelina offense continued to the fireworks crossing the plate 14 times in the first four innings. The game would end after seven innings with the 10-run rule in play.
Leading 3-1 entering the bottom of the third inning, the Hoggies put eight runs on the board as they pounded out eight of the hits. Black’s RBI single began the scoring and Dustin Aguilar had a sacrifice fly, while Derrick Walls and Matt Perez each had two run doubles. With two away, Brian Frazier blasted a 2-run home run to left. Black doubled to drive in his second run of the inning for an 11-1 lead.
After the Rams made it 11-2 in the top of the fourth, Kingsville scored its last three runs in the bottom of the inning. Walls and Perez each drew walks with two away before Taska belted his team-leading seventh home run of the season to give Kingsville a 14-2 lead.
ASU scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings including a solo home run by Blake Bass.
Matt Rhodes moved to 6-3 as he tossed five innings. He allowed three runs with two earned on six hits. Tres Tyler pitched the sixth allowing a run on two hits, while Hayden James pitched a perfect seventh.
Jake Feckley moved to 5-4 as he allowed nine runs on eight hits in 2-1/3 innings. The Rams would go through five hitters on the day.
Kingsville finished with 15 hits. Perez led the way with three hits, while Taska, Frazier, Guedry, Black and Laird each had two hits. Taska drove in four runs while, Perez knocked in three.