No. 6 West Texas A&M Splits Twin Bill with Eastern New Mexico
CANYON, Texas – The No. 6 West Texas A&M baseball team split a twin bill Saturday afternoon at Wilder Park. The Greyhounds won the opener 7-5, while WT won the nightcap 10-8. With the split, the Buffs improved to 30-10 on the year and 18-8 in Lone Star Conference play, while ENMU finished 20-19 and 10-16 in conference play. The Buffs are tied with Texas A&M-Kingsville for first in the league standings.
On the very first pitch of the opener, ENMU centerfielder Matthew Burks took WT starter Joshua Weyker deep to right center for a 1-0 lead. It was Burks’ second home run of the series. A walk and single put runners at the corners with two out and a wild pitch plated the second run of the inning for the Greyhounds.
The Buffs got on board in the bottom of the second as senior David Hebert reached on a two base error and scored on a single from junior Jacob Caples for a 2-1 score.
ENMU used a leadoff triple from Brett Ackerman and a double from Sam Hedrick for a 3-1 lead in the third with nobody out. Colton Sims singled home the second run of the inning for a 4-1 lead. After a call to the bullpen, in favor of senior Sam Ouellet, Rafael Romo singled up the middle for a 5-1 lead.
The Greyhounds increased their lead in the fourth with a two out home run from Blake Cooper for a 7-1 lead.
WT senior Tyler McKnight took the first Matthew Artalejo offering yard for a 7-2 score to begin the bottom of the fourth. It was his first home run of the season. In the fifth, Caples hit a single up the middle, plating McKnight for a 7-3 deficit. An error and wild pitch led to two more runs and a 7-5 deficit.
Following a single to being the top of the seventh, WT went to the bullpen in favor of junior Kyle Olason as Ouellet kept the Buffs within striking distance. A walk put two on with nobody out. A pickoff at first and a ground out followed and a fly out got out of the frame unscathed, giving the Buffs once last chance.
A hit batsman began the bottom of the seventh as ENMU went to the bullpen in favor of Kyle Kesmarki. The Greyhounds got a double play on the first pitch and a fly out ended the game.
The Buffs were led by Caples who went 2 for 2 with a run scored and two RBI as the team tallied eight hits. Hedrick led the way for ENMU, going 3 for 3 with two runs and a RBI.
Artalejo (6-3) took the win in six innings, allowing eight hits, five runs – two earned, two walks and one strikeouts. Weyker (6-4) took the loss in 2.1 innings, allowing six hits, five earned runs, three walks and he fanned one. Kesmarki earned his first save of the season.
Just like in the previous two games in the series, the Greyhounds took the early lead in the nightcap as Romo singled home a run in the second for a 1-0 lead with nobody out. A sacrifice bunt plated the second run of the inning with two out. A passed ball moved Romo to third and an intentional walk put runners at the corners. A fly out to center got out of the jam.
The Buffs put runners at the corners with one out in the fourth for Caples who hit into an inning-ending double play for the second one of the game and fourth of the doubleheader.
Weyker opened the bottom of the fifth with a home run to right center, cutting the deficit in half to 2-1. It was his first home run of his WT career. Following a walk, senior Beto Rodriguez belted his third home run of the season, a two run shot for a 3-2 lead, as ENMU starter Rusty Edwards was pulled from the game with nobody out.
The Greyhounds evened the game with two out in the sixth as Rawley Gomez singled to right plating Ryan Forkel for a 3-3 game. Burks then hit his second home run of the day and third of the weekend for a 5-3 lead.
The lead was short lived for the Greyhounds as Weyker belted his second home run of the game to the exact same spot in right center tying the game at five and he chased ENMU reliever Sheldon Mobley from the game in the bottom of the sixth.
A leadoff double from Caples, followed by a fly out to right moved pinch runner junior Heath Davis to third with one out in the eighth for the Buffs. Junior Justin Hargrove then doubled down the line plating Davis for a 6-5 lead and a call to the bullpen for the Greyhounds. Rodriguez then doubled home Hargrove for a 7-5 lead. Chapman then singled to third, plating Rodriguez for an 8-5 lead. Blair followed with a two run home run to right for a 10-5 lead.
A single, hit batsman and error loaded the bases in the top of the ninth for Eastern New Mexico. A ground out plated a run for a 10-6 score. A sacrifice fly scored the second run of the inning and a single to center scored the third run for a 10-8 score. Lujan got a strikeout to end the game as the Buffs take the series, 2-1 and the season series 5-2.
WT was led by five players with two hits each as the Buffs belted four home runs in the game with two by Weyker and one each from Blair and Rodriguez. Weyker went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and three RBI, while Rodriguez went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and three RBI. WT had a total of eight home runs on the season before the nightcap.
Lujan (2-2) earned the win in relief as he went the final three innings, allowing two hits, three unearned runs and he fanned two.
WT returns to the road next Friday and Saturday for a key, three-game series at Angelo State. WT swept the Rams in four games earlier in the season. The Buffs then return home for four games beginning on Tues., April 22 with a non-conference game against Wayland Baptist at 3 p.m., followed by the final home series of the regular season that weekend (April 25-26) against Tarleton State.