After splitting a pair of games with Texas A&M-Kingsville on Friday, the top-seeded Angelo State University baseball team will put its season on the line in a winner-take-all showdown against the Javelinas on Saturday afternoon.
ASU rolled to a 14-3 blowout against Kingsville in Friday's first game at the NCAA Division II South Central Regional, but the Javs kept their season alive with a 12-11 nail-biter in the nightcap at Foster Field at 1st Community Credit Union Stadium.
The loss snapped the Rams' 20-game winning streak.
Kingsville improved to 33-19, while ASU dropped to 47-11.
"Obviously, in the first game we did exactly what we wanted to do," ASU head coach Kevin Brooks said. "We came out with guns ablazing and we were the visitors and we wanted to be. I thought (pitcher) Aaron (Munson) was really good.
"In Game 2, unfortunately I thought our pitch selection was not very good. We get the two-ball and it goes down the line instead. We don't field a bunt and then we give up the three-run homer. I've got to give credit to Kingsville's guys. They came out here and competed really well. (Logan) Garza was really good for them out of the pen."
Game 5 of the regional is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday. The winner will advance to the Super Regionals next weekend and if it's the Rams, they'll be hosting again. The loser will see its season come to an end.
The Rams were down 12-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning of the nightcap and they almost pulled off a miraculous comeback.
Tayten Tredaway had an RBI single, followed by a RBI double by Koby Kelton and an RBI single by Aaron Walters.
Justin Lee blasted a two-run home run that really got the crowd rocking, as the Rams tried to finish off the series on Day 2 before falling a run short.
The Javs took a 6-0 lead in the top of the second of the nightcap, but ASU responded with six runs in the bottom of the frame to pull even at 6-6.
Kingsville added three in the fourth and one in the seventh to move ahead 12-6 before the Rams almost pulled it out in the bottom half of the frame.
Rams left fielder Lee went 2-for-3 with the homer and three RBIs and two runs scored in the loss.
Center fielder Thomas Cain was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and one run.
Kingsville left fielder Jake Chapman had a three-run blast in the fourth. He went 1-for-3 with a game-high four RBIs and three runs scored.
Javs first baseman Shelby Becker was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs, and third baseman Giancarlo Servin was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs.
Garza replaced starter Colton Taylor in the third.
The Javs reliever got the win after giving up eight hits and six earned runs in six complete, improving to 8-2 on the year. He struck out five and walked one.
Rams starter Jake Rogers (10-2) was charged with the loss. In 3.2 innings, he gave up nine hits and nine earned runs.
In Friday's first game, Rams first baseman Aaron Walters had a three-run dinger in the first, followed by a sacrifice fly by Cain that made it 4-0 ASU.
Walters' RBI double in the second and designated hitter Jordan Williams hit into a fielder's choice, as the Rams stretched their lead to 6-0.
The Rams built a commanding 10-2 advantage in the fourth.
Walters ended up going 4-for-5 with seven RBIs and two runs, and Williams was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
Javs shortstop Ivan Duarte went 2-for-2 with a team-high two RBIs and two runs.
Munson (9-2) earned the win. In seven complete, he scattered five hits and three earned runs. He struck out five and walked two.
Kingsville starter Kolby Lunsford (6-4) took the loss. In 4.2 innings, he gave up 11 hits, 12 runs, all but one of which were earned. He struggled with his control, allowing seven walks against no strikeouts.
And now it'll come down to one game on Saturday to see who moves on the super regionals next week.
"I told our guys, 'There's nobody I'd rather go battle with than this group," Brooks said. "We'll be ready to go, I promise you that."
This article originally appeared on San Angelo Standard-Times: Angelo State, Kingsville set up winner-take-all game at South Central Regional