Facing elimination from the NCAA Division II South Central regional tournament, the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelinas had a big task at hand: win two games in one day to advance to the championship.
The Javelinas would do just that, as they racked up a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Mesa University (CMU) Mavericks and a 6-2 victory over the St. Edward’s University Hilltoppers to pave their way into the finals at 4:30 p.m.
CMU came into this tournament as the number two ranked team in the region behind the Javelinas who are ranked number one. Behind a complete game shutout performance from starting pitcher Zach Pettiford, the Javelinas would win the ball game by a score of 3-0.
The three runs would be enough for Zach Pettiford as he threw a complete game six strikeout shout out. The loss for CMU would eliminate them from the tournament.
The 7 p.m. night cap would see the Javelinas facing elimination once more this time taking on the undefeated St. Edwards University Hilltoppers. The Javelinas would pressure the Hilltoppers all night long on the way to a 6-2 victory with timely hitting and a complete game pitching performance by Matt Rhodes.
“I really felt like I had everything working pretty much. To be honest out of the bullpen, I really felt like I didn’t have anything. When I got on the mound, it was a whole different ballgame,” said Rhodes. “I just stayed focused and pretty much did what I had to do. I know St. Edwards is a pretty good team. They can hit the ball at any time. I just keep them off balance as much as I could.”
“My defense, I give them an A-plus
today they did an amazing job. Clint Wallace did an amazing job blocking the balls behind the plate,” said Javelinas’ Head Coach Jason Gonzales. “We just pretty much just went out there and knew what we had to do. We are ready to go in the championship and work hard and get that win.”
With the chance to advance to the programs first College World Series the Javelinas expect big support from the students and the community of Kingsville.
“We are looking for a lot of fan support, these guys have worked extremely hard and they deserve to play in front of a good crowd. These guys are on a daily basis rewriting the record books here,” Gonzales said. “There is a special product out on the field that I think the whole community can be proud of. We look forward for those guys to come out and support us.”
The Javelinas will face the winner of the 1 p.m. game between St. Edwards and St Mary’s for the South Central Regional championship with first pitch slated for 4:30 p.m.