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KINGSVILLE – Tarleton State baseball slugged their way into the Lone Star Conference tournament semifinals with a 9-3 rout over Texas A&M-Kingsville, who held the number one seed of the tournament, at Nolan Ryan Field on Thursday.
Tarleton State, the defending LSC tournament champions, will take on No. 3 seed Angelo State in the second round on Friday at 3 p.m. for a chance to return to the title game.
Jonathan Schmitz, a first-team All-LSC selection, led off the game with a solo home run to left on a 0-2 pitch.
The Texans scored in four of the first five innings to take a commanding 9-0 over A&M-Kingsville.
In the second inning, the Texans put up three runs on the board that started with Kevin Meredith’s double to lead off the inning and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Dalton Weeks.
After Landon Merka worked a walk, he stole second to get into scoring position for Elijah Christenson who drove Merka home with a single through the left side.
Schmitz added his second extra-base hit in as many innings to score Christenson for a 4-0 lead through two innings.
Schmitz finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Meredith launched a two-out solo home run in the third inning to cap off a 3-for-4 afternoon. The LSC second-team All-LSC outfielder finished a triple short of the cycle and added two runs and two RBIs.
While the Tarleton offense continued to score runs with ease early on, starting pitcher Kyle Gottardy was stellar on the mound. The senior right-hander tossed seven innings while only giving up two runs and striking out six to improve to 5-6 on the season for the Texans.
Gottardy forced the Javenlia’s into 11 groundouts in his seven innings of work, including a pair of double plays.
When the Javelina’s scored two runs in the fifth inning, Gottardy responded in the sixth inning with a three-up, three-down inning, including striking out the final two hitters to shift the momentum back in the Texans’ favor.
Tarleton added four runs in the fifth inning that was highlighted by Weeks’ two-run triple to right-center field. Matt Olive also added an RBI single in the inning.
Five Texans had at least two hits. Weeks went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, Merka went 2-for-4 with two runs and Alec Humphreys added a 2-for-4 performance with a run.
While it wasn’t a save situation, Tarleton closer Hunter Houston threw a perfect inning in the ninth inning with two strikeouts to close out the game.
Tarleton State moves to 10-4 in the Lone Star Conference Tournament since 2012.