Tarleton Baseball opened Lone Star Conference play with a 10-5 victory over No. 14 Texas A&M-Kingsville on Thursday at the Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex.
The Texans improved to 16-9 overall (1-0 LSC) and have now won five straight games.
"The boys came out today and did a really nice job of competing one pitch at a time and playing our game," said head coach Bryan Conger. "We are proud of their effort and their willingness to find a way and handle adversity."
Texas A&M-Kingsville (19-5, 0-1) took an early 1-0 lead in the first, but it was the only lead the Javelinas would have in the game.
The Texans would plate two in the second inning after loading the bases on Jake Hasbrouck's single, followed by Tyler Fowler's double and Hunter Hudson's walk. With the bases loaded, Elvin Alamo's patient approach at the plate drew a walk to tie the game and Blake Adams would later give the Texans a 2-1 lead on a sacrifice fly to left.
Tarleton's discipline at the plate paid off in a big way offensively, as the Texans drew 12 walks, including eight from A&M-Kingsville starter Preston Plovanich to force a pitching change in the fifth inning.
After 11 appearances out of the bullpen, Conner Fletcher made his first start of the season for the Texans. Fletcher gave up two runs in the first two innings, but was in total command the rest of the way. Fletcher got better as the game went on, holding the Javelinas scoreless in innings 4-6 while the Texan bats heated up.
With the score tied 2-2 in the fourth, Tarleton loaded the bases once again, this time for Francisco Rodriguez, the reigning NCBWA National Hitter of the Week, who lined a single to center field to give the Texans a 3-2 advantage. Rodriguez went 2-for-6 at the plate with a run, RBI and a stolen base.
The fourth-inning run was the start of five straight innings the Texans would score. In the fifth, Jared McCarver led off the inning with a 420-foot home run to dead center field. It was McCarver's sixth home run of the season, as the senior went 2-for-5 at the plate.
Dylan Lemons would add a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it a 6-2 Texan lead.
Meanwhile, Fletcher kept the Texan lead on the mound. The senior got out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning, and followed with six straight outs in the next two innings. Fletcher was pulled after one batter in the eighth inning to finish with seven innings pitched, four runs (three earned), three walks and six strike outs while moving to 3-0 on the season.
Clinging to a 7-5 lead in the eight inning, Tarleton's depth from the bench paid off in a big way. Conger called on Luke Morton to pinch hit with a runner on and one out. Morton delivered with a double off the right-center wall to score pinch runner Sam Scarborough. Tyler Fowler followed with an RBI double to center and Elvin Alamoproduced his third hit of the game with an RBI single to left for a 10-5 lead. Fowler (3-for-3) and Alamo (3-for-4) led the Texans in hits on the afternoon.
Eddie Avila closed the game out in the ninth with a perfect half inning, getting two fly outs and a ground out to clinch the win.
Tarleton will play a doubleheader against the Javelinas on Saturday, March 24, starting at 1 p.m.
On Saturday, Tarleton will host the inaugural CFC Awareness Weekend. CFC (Cardio-Facio-Cutaneous) Syndrome is a rare, genetic condition that typically affects the heart, facial features, and skin. Jacoby Conger, the youngest son of Tarleton's head baseball coach Bryan Conger, has this condition and will throw out the first pitch of Tarleton's baseball doubleheader against Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday, March 24. For more information about Jacoby and the Conger family, visit TarletonSports.com for the feature 'When Life Threw a Curveball.'
Saturday will be a big day at the ball fields as Tarleton will host a silent auction and a post-game concert by country music star, Courtney Patton. In addition to the auction and concert, there will also be catered food trucks on site throughout the day and a bounce house for kids. The teams will be wearing CFC-inspired apparel and fans will receive free wristbands and hats, while supplies last. The silent auction will take place on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. under the shaded area in between the baseball and softball facilities. A few of sale items includes:
A framed jersey of Hall of Fame baseball coach Jack Allen, courtesy of Frames Etc.
Kendra Scott necklace and earring set
Mystery Bag, courtesy of Texas Bank
Multiple tickets to Texas Rangers Baseball games, including Opening Day
The postgame concert by Courtney Patton will take place in the baseball parking lot at the Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex and will begin at 7:30 p.m., following the baseball and softball games.