Texans throttle Kingsville 8-4 Sunday, win series

TSU Athletics
TSU slugger Landon Merka watches a ball go by in the weekend home series against Texas A&M/Kingsville. Merka went 3-for-4 against the Javalinas in Sunday's finale, boosting the Texans to a 3-1 series win.

The Tarleton bats continued to steamroll the Javelina pitching staff Sunday afternoon as the Texans blew past Texas A&M-Kingsville 8-4 in the matinee to win the series 3-1.

The Javelinas came out swinging first by scoring one run in the opening frame on an RBI fielder's choice after a one-out double, walk and single loaded the bases. Tarleton's Colton Burleson weathered the first-inning storm, however, by getting the ground ball fielder's choice and an inning-ending fly out to left field to stop the bleeding at one.

Kingsville added another run in the second on a solo home run to left center for a 2-0 Kingsville lead before the Texan bats came to life in the ensuing half-inning.

With one out and Elijah Christenson on second base, Landon Merka got the Texans on the board with a triple to right center. Matt Olive followed up with a gapper of his own - this one a double to left center to plate Merka and even things at 2-2. The third straight extra-base hit of the inning was a double to straight away center off the bat of Peter McMahon to give the Texans their first lead of the day after two innings.

Kingsville continued to scratch with one in the third and one in the fourth to retake the lead before McMahon plated a pair on a single up the middle and an error put the Texans up 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth.

Seth Hallmark came on in the fifth, in relief of Troyal Yosko, and helped neutralize the Kingsville offense with a pair of scoreless innings. Meanwhile, the Texans tacked on one in the fifth when Christenson reached on an error and Merka drove him around with a double to the right center gap for a 6-4 Tarleton lead after five.

After the teams traded a scoreless sixth, Tarleton scored a pair of insurance runs in the seventh beginning with a lead-off home run from Brandon Villeneuve. The final Texan run came off the bat of Olive, who ripped an RBI single to plate Mitch Williams for the final run of the game.

John Kresta got one out in the eighth and was relieved by Hunter Houston, who pitched the final 1.2 innings of scoreless relief for Tarleton to close out the game.

The Texans belted 12 hits on the day, including a 3-4 effort from Merka and two-hit performances from Olive and McMahon. The bottom third of the Texan lineup - Merka, Olive and McMahon - combined to go 7-11 at the dish with four runs scored and six RBIs. Jonathan Schmitz, Evan Robinson, Kevin Meredith, Villeneuve and Christenson rounded out the Texan offense.

Hallmark earned the win for the Texans with two innings of relief with two strikeouts. Burleson went the first two innings, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout, before giving way to Yosko for the next two innings of four-hit, two-run relief with a pair of punchouts.

Kresta relieved Hallmark for 1.1 innings of work, over which he allowed a hit and a walk, before Houston closed things out with 1.2 innings of one-hit work.

Tarleton will stay home next weekend to host Eastern New Mexico, beginning Friday at 3 p.m., for the first games of the second round of Lone Star Conference action.