The Lone Star Conference baseball crown will stay in Kingsville at least one more year after the Texas A&M University-Kingsville baseball team (29-21, 23-12 LSC) sweeping Tarleton State University (20-23, 13-19 LSC) 7-2, 5-2 and 8-5 to clinch the title in their final home series of the season at Nolan Ryan Field.
With the two wins on Saturday, the Javelinas become the top seed and will host the LSC Tournament May 7-9. As the No.1 seed, TAMUK and TSU will meet again in the opening round on Thursday.
First pitch for the Javelinas is set for 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 7 when they Javelinas get a rematch with Tarleton State University.
“It’s really tough to put into words what these guys have done,” said head coach Jason Gonzales. “We knew we had a very inexperienced team and that put a lot of pressure on these guys since they were picked to win the LSC.”
Starting pitcher Matt Terrones (8-1) got the start in Saturday’s first game providing solid work allowing just two runs in 5.1 innings pitched with four strikeouts.
“I can’t say enough about our offense,” Terrones said. “They exploded when we needed it and gave me a good cushion to where I can focus on doing my job and throw strikes.”
The Javelinas got things going early with senior second baseman Ryan Fickel leading the game with a double. TAMUK would add another run in the second on a fielder’s choice then score three runs on an RBI single by Zach Smith and Wallace to give the Javelinas a 5-0 lead off of Texan starting pitcher Kyle Gottardy.
“We just tried to stay concentrated on our game,” Terrones said. “I can’t say enough about my defense and offense behind me.”
In the final matchup with the Texans, Ryan Benitez (7-4) responded in the biggest game of the season by delivering 6.0 innings with only one run and six strikeouts.
“We knew as a team we needed to take these games if we wanted to win the conference,” Benitez said. “The only thing on my mind was the fact that I was blessed to be on the mound for the third and final game and have a chance to win the last game of the season.”
“We are 0-0 again going into the tournament,” Gonzales said. Now we get the opportunity to play at home where we have been pretty good all season long.”