In spite of seven strong innings from five different pitchers, the Texas A&M University Kingsville baseball team (26-17, 20-9 in LSC play) lost their lead in the ninth inning and fell to the St. Edward’s Hilltoppers, 5-3, Tuesday night at Nolan Ryan Field.
Trailing 3-2 in the 7th inning, The Hipptoppers loaded the bases and would tie the game on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Steven Robertson who was just getting started. Robertson would go on to bat again in the ninth against Weston Silverberg and connect on an RBI double that would give his team the lead for good.
Dustin Luna got the nod to pitch with Ryan Benitez and Matt Terrones resting from starts against Eastern New Mexico two days prior. Luna pitched 2.0 innings of scoreless baseball with two strikeouts in his third start of the season.
“It’s a disappointing loss, especially when you have a lead in the ninth inning,” head coach Jason Gonzales said. “We played a lot of guys that haven’t played a lot this season but we cant make mistakes, especially this late in the season.”
The Javelinas got things going in the first-inning with an RBI single by Larren Artis who put TAMUK on the board first. The Hogs would hold that lead until the sixth, when SEU tied the game on a fielder’s choice. The Hilltoppers added another run in the seventh to take a 2-1 lead but the Javelinas would tie things up with an Wesley Aquliar Squeeze that scored David Massey.
“The defense played well and I felt like we scored enough runs to win,” Gonzales said. “When you have the lead in the ninth you feel good but tonight we just didn’t get it done.”
With the playoffs only a few weeks away, Gonzales knows his team needs to be ready to play their best ball.
“We just have to play better,” Gonzales said. “We just have to learn from the mistakes we made.”
The Javelinas will begin a three game road trip in San Angelo as they will take on the Angelo State Rams starting on Friday and with just seven games left, TAMUK will look to pad their two game lead in the Lone Star Conference standings.
“We have to go into that series in Angelo learning from the mistakes that we made tonight and make sure that we don’t repeat them,” Gonzales said.