• April 25, 2019

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Javelinas beat Falcons in seven innings - Odessa American: Sports

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COLLEGE BASEBALL: Javelinas beat Falcons in seven innings

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Posted: Friday, April 12, 2019 7:45 pm

It was a less than stellar return to conference play for the UTPB baseball team.

Two weeks after winning their first series since joining the Lone Star Conference, the Falcons began their four-game series against Texas A&M-Kingsville with an 11-1 loss after seven innings Friday at Roden Field.

UTPB (12-21 overall, 3-6 in conference) was coming off a conference bye week, which came after the Falcons’ 3-1 series win against Eastern New Mexico.

Since then, however, the Falcons have lost five straight, losing the last game of the series to Eastern New Mexico before dropping three straight nonconference games last week (including a 13-6 loss to Abilene Christian) prior to Friday’s loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville.

“We have to throw strikes,” UTPB head coach Brian Reinke said. “The same thing happened to us at Abilene Christian on Tuesday night when gave up 13 runs.”

Texas A&M-Kingsville (24-13, 8-5) scored four runs in the first inning and six in the seventh inning.

Preston Plovanich got the win for the Javelinas on the mound with his complete-game effort.

“We had a good pitching performance from a veteran senior on the mound,” Texas A&M-Kingsville head coach Jason Gonzalez said. “I think he continued to fill up the strike zone, kept them off balance and pitched well.”

The Javelinas finished with eight hits and no errors while the Falcons had three hits and one error.

UTPB’s Ivan Thomas took the loss, going six innings, and allowing up five hits and five runs. Cale Thornton and Luis Dominguez both pitched the last inning for the Falcons.

The Javelinas, who are coming off a run to the NCAA Division II World Series in 2018, have struggled to replicate last season’s success at times this year, dropping a series to Cameron in conference play last month and sit tied for third place in the Lone Star Conference standings with West Texas A&M.

But Texas A&M-Kingsville has won four of its last five as it tries to keep first-place Angelo State in its sights.

“It’s paying attention to detail,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve been able to take care of the little things. It’s been focus for us. We have a talented team but we can’t lose focus. This is a tough league and tough team we played today. You have to be able to play every day.”

The Javelinas wasted no time in getting started in the first inning after getting three runners on base.

Austin De Leon drew a walk before advancing to second on a balk.

Giancarlo Servin grounded out to third base, allowing De Leon to get in scoring position.

“We have been burying ourselves in games and it’s hard to come out of that,” Reinke said. “If we throw strikes, and they hit them, then fine. We’re ok with that. But walking guys, it’s got to stop.”

Texas A&M-Kingsville scored when Manny Loredo’s sacrifice fly ball to right field brought home De Leon.

Thomas then walked Cameron Melcher, putting runners on first and third.

Pablo Hernandez doubled to right center, scoring Seth Spinn to double the Javelinas’ lead.

Steven Bonuz followed it up when he singled to left center, scoring Hernandez and Cameron Melcher before the first inning was over.

“We took advantage of a few walks and had guys that did a good job of not striking out and getting hits,” Gonzalez said.

After the Javelinas’ strong start, the game took on a more defensive tone as both teams couldn’t generate much hits over the next couple of innings.

It wouldn’t be until the fifth inning when Texas A&M-Kingsville scored again after Spinn homered to lead off the inning.

Thornton took over the pitching duties for the Falcons at the start of the seventh inning, replacing Thomas.

But he was soon relieved by Dominguez after walking De Leon, Spinn and Giancarlo Servin .

Melcher greeted Dominguez with a single to drive home Servin and Spinn, followed by a three-run home run by Hernandez for a 10-0 Javalinas’ lead.

Both teams will be back in action with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. today at Roden Field.

>> Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAMichaelba

Odessa, TX

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