The No. 10-nationally ranked Cameron Aggies came down to Kingsville undefeated. But the Javelinas tagged them with their first three losses of the season, dismantling them three times in four games.
In game one the Javelinas blanked Cameron, 9-0.
Sebi Palacios spun his best game of the year, perhaps even of his career, shutting down the Aggies through eight innings, giving up only five hits and two runs while striking out a whopping 13 batters.
“He’s getting healthier,” Coach Jason Gonzales said of his ace. “He had his slider working and he did what we wanted him to do.”
Dalton Perry led the nine-run offensive barrage with two hard hits, a massive shot to left field in the fifth inning and a laser line single that almost struck the Aggie pitcher in the sixth. He finished the night 3-fpr-4 with three runs scored, a homerun, and a strikeout.
Games two and three on Saturday featured a series of baseball oddities, as the Javelinas took both games 3-1 and 9-6.
The strangeness began in the sixth inning of game two. Miles Holcomb came in to pinch hit for catcher Hunter Lehmen and blasted a long drive to center. He rounded second as the relay throw came in, sliding into third. However, the Aggie second baseman fumbled the relay and the third base coach Phillip Middleton urged Holcomb to get up and head home. Holcomb slid safely into home as the throw sailed over the catcher’s head to put the Javelinas up 3-1.
“I was just trying to put the bat on the ball, hit something hard and run as fast as a could”, Holcomb said. “There was a little bit of confusion because guys have been slipping and falling on the dirt, but you gotta do what you gotta do to win.”
From there the inning only got weirder. Wesley Aguilar, the next batter in the order, was promptly plunked in the head and on the very next pitch Brayton Carlson was nailed on the inside. Initially the home plate umpire called it a foul ball off the hands, but after a quick conference with the field umpire, he reversed it and sent Carlson his way to first.
Cameron Head Coach Brady Huston was displeased with this call and angrily ran out to the home plate umpire to argue his case.
After about a minute of increasing fury, Huston was tossed from the game, and from there he verbally tore into the umpire for about a minute more before storming off the field. This is the third year in a row Huston has been tossed out of Nolan Ryan Field.
Freshman Shane Veeder got his first start and although he did not get the win, he pitched a solid 4.2 innings, spreading four hits and one run, while striking out three and hitting three different batters with pitches.
In game three the Javelinas unleashed all nine of their runs in the third inning on the way to a 9-6 victory.
It began with a Brayton Carlson lead-off single. Then Dalton Perry dribbled a grounder to pitcher Javarias Banks who picked it up and threw to his second baseman Jonathan Reyes who was standing on the bag for what looked to be routine 1-4-3 double play. However, shortstop Tyler McKinzie reached out for the throw, colliding with Reyes and causing the ball ricochet off his glove and into center field. Carlson hustled around third to put the first Javelina run of the game on the board.
The Javelinas put up eight more runs in the inning, seven of them on no outs, on five hits and six outs. Every member of the starting batting lineup scored exactly one run.
“We tell them all the time, you never know when your big inning is gonna come,” Coach Gonzales said. “They’re a fun group to coach because they don’t care who gets the credit They’re a bunch of brothers who love pulling for each other.”
The Javelinas carried a 10 game winning streak, one game short of the school record, into game four, but dropped it 7-3.
Senior Hayden Vesely got the start, but fell behind early, giving up three runs in the third inning.
The Javelinas managed to rally back in the sixth off a Dalton Perry RBI triple followed by an RBI single by Hayden Vesley and run scored by Ruben Almaguer after an Aggie error.
However, that would be all for the Javelina offense as their relief pitching gave up four runs in the final two innings for the loss.
The Javelinas move to 10-4 overall on the season and begin Lone Star Conference competetion 3-1.
Meanwhile the Cameron Aggies move to 12-3 overall and 1-3 in the LSC.
The Javelinas travel to Angelo State Friday to take on the Rams in a four-game weekend series.
They return home on Tuesday, the 15th, to square off against the Our Lady of the Lake Saints. Game time is at 4 p.m at Nolan Ryan Field in Kingsville
You can follow Robert Breedlove on Twitter @breedloveTCB