CARY, N.C. – 2018 LSC Freshman of the Year Tyler Flores (San Antonio, Texas), senior Seth Hubert (Riviera, Texas) and junior Preston Plovanich (Santa Fe, Texas) teamed up on Tuesday for the No. 26 Texas A&M-Kingsville baseball program at the USA Baseball National Training Complex to shutout No. 24/24 Mercyhurst and stave off elimination in the Division-II College World Series.
The Javelinas (42-16) pulled out nearly every trick in the book to build up a six-run lead by the fourth inning while the trio of hurlers worked their magic to keep the Lakers (36-15) off the scoreboard en route to the 9-0 decision.
Senior Levi Zents (Fort Worth, Texas) started the scoring in the third with a liner into left that plated redshirt-sophomore Kohl Ullman (Houston, Texas), before Ullman kicked off the five-run fourth for the Hogs.
The Houston native dropped a squeeze bunt in front of the pitcher’s mound while freshman Giancarlo Servin (Edinburg, Texas) dove headfirst past Drew Delsignore at the plate to ignite the rally, followed up by junior Manny Loredo’s (McAllen, Texas) RBI single to left that capped senior Austin Ingraham (Fort Worth, Texas) for a three-run lead.
Zents’ ensuing at bat turned into a 13-pitch affair as the Fort Worth, Texas, native fouled off nine pitches before he skied a sacrifice fly to right that brought Ullman home, while senior Dallas Stefano (Cypress, Texas) drilled a triple that one-hopped the right field wall to push Loredo across for a five-run lead.
Senior Christian Caudle (Klein, Texas) capped the rally with a bounding-ball single through the right half of the diamond to bring Stefano home as the Blue and Gold held a 6-0 cushion going into the bottom of the fourth.
Meanwhile, Flores kept Mercyhurst off the board after working out of a two-on, one-out jam in the third with a pair of punchouts to get the Javelinas back to bat. The Lakers also loaded up the bases in the bottom of the sixth for Flores’ last inning of work before the San Antonio native got a pop up from Dominic Cecere to end the frame.
Flores finished the day with eight strikeouts to only four hits and a pair of walks in his six innings while taking his seventh win of the year.
Hubert took over in the seventh and worked a pair of perfect innings with a pair of punchouts to highlight his second outing of the College World Series, while Plovanich gave up one walk before he struck out the final three batters of the game to preserve the shutout.
TAMUK, on the way to the win, got its seventh run after Ullman pasted a pitch from Ryan Smerkar over the left field wall for his first round-tripper of the season, before Hernandez brought Zents home on a grounder to second and Servin roped a pitch into left center to plate junior Dylan Hutcheson (Wichita Falls, Texas) in the eighth to set the line score at 9-0.
With the win, the Javelinas will now face top-seeded No. 3/3 Florida Southern in another elimination game on Wednesday, May 30, with first pitch at 2 p.m. CT at the USA Baseball NTC.