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#1 Lady Buffs and #20 Pioneers Set For College World Series Opener on Thursday in Salem

The top ranked Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M will be making their first appearance in the NCAA Division II College World Series on Thursday afternoon as they take on the East Region Champion #20 Pioneers of LIU-Post

CANYON, Texas – The top ranked Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M will be making their first appearance in the NCAA Division II College World Series on Thursday afternoon as they take on the East Region Champion #20 Pioneers of LIU-Post with first pitch set for 1:30 p.m. CT at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Virginia. The Lady Buffs enter the final weekend of the season with a 56-7 overall record while the Pioneers enter at 50-9.

WEST TEXAS A&M

 The #1 Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M fought with their backs against the wall this past weekend to claim the program’s first ever NCAA South Central Super Regional Championship and trip to the DII College World Series with a pair of Saturday shutouts against #14 St. Mary’s at Scaeffer Park in Canyon. WT enters the weekend at 56-7 overall this season including a 35-3 clip at home. The 56 wins sets a new Lone Star Conference single season record to pass the Midwestern State teams from 2010 and 2011.

THE OPPONENT

The #20 Pioneers of LIU-Post enter the weekend with an overall record of 50-9 as they claimed the program’s fourth East Region Super Regional Title this past weekend as they split Saturday action with Caldwell including a shutout in the clincher to advance to the DII College World Series. LIU-Post is led offensively by Aly Dzierzynski who is hitting .439 with 14 doubles, one triple and 25 homeruns which ranks third nationally to drive in a team leading 75 RBI while Nicole Hagenah is hitting .411 with 15 doubles and 15 homeruns to drive in 53 RBI. Liz Weber leads the way for Pioneers in the circle with a 2.21 ERA, going 25-4 with 11 complete games while striking out 83 batters and allowing an opposing batting average of .243 in 158.1 innings of work while Quincy Lewis has a team best 1.28 ERA with eight saves to rank second nationally in just 27.1 innings of work this season.

LIU-Post is led by 16th year head coach Jamie Apicella, he has guided the Pioneers to eight East Coast Conference titles and have qualified for the NCAA Championships in 15 of the last 16 seasons.  Thursday afternoon will mark the first ever meeting between the Lady Buffs and Pioneers on the softball field, the two institutions are no stranger as WT topped LIU-Post on the volleyball court back in December during the opening round of the NCAA DII Elite Eight in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

WALK THIS WAY

The 2014 season has seen the Lady Buffs walk an impressive 318 times during the campaing to break their 2014 NCAA record of 310 walks, the record (288) was held by Barry University in 1988. Senior shortstop Alyssa Lemos passed former teammate Meghan Brown (09-12) to become the all-time NCAA DII career leader in walks (168) during the final regular season series against Angelo State. The senior shortstop enters the South Central Regional Tournament with 177 career walks.

HOME SWEET HOME

The Lady Buffs finished the 2014 season with an incredible 35-3 record at Schaeffer Park in Canyon as they claimed the program’s first ever South Central Super Regional Title. WT is 108-19 (.855) at Schaeffer Park since the facility opened prior to the 2011 season. This past weekend marked the third time in the last four years (‘11, ‘13, ‘14) that the Lady Buffs will host NCAA Postseason action in Canyon, registering a 10-5 record at Schaeffer Park during the postseason.

NATIONALLY SPEAKING

Entering this weekend, the Lady Buffs ranked first in all of NCAA Division II in on-base percentage (.474), fielding percentage (.978), slugging percentage (.654) and win/loss percentage (.889) while second in homeruns per game (1.63) and scoring (8.49) and fourth in doubles per game (2.05). Individually, senior shortstop Alyssa Lemos is fourth in walks per game (0.86) while Rita Hokianga is ninth in strikeouts (262), 10th in strikeouts per seven innings (9.8) and 11th in victories (25) with Renee Erwin ranking 12th in individual slugging percentage (.899), seventh in on-base percentage (.561) and 16th in batting average (.467) while fellow junior Allie Cranfill ranks 13th in homeruns (19). The national rankings reflect games played thru Sunday, May 18th.

RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOKS

This season, the Lady Buffs have broken numerous West Texas A&M single season record while setting seven new individual or team Lone Star Conference marks along with way. WT’s Alyssa Lemos is the all-time league leader in runs scored (249) and walks (177), the 249 runs is 3rd all-time in NCAA Division II history while the senior shortstop holds the NCAA career record in walks. As a team, the Lady Buffs have broken the Lone Star Conference single-season records in runs (535), doubles (129), homeruns (103) and RBI (485) while also breaking the Lone Star Conference single season record for wins with 56. WT’s 535 runs ranks 4th all-time in the NCAA record books while the 129 doubles is fourth all-time and the 103 homeruns is third all-time.

EYEING MORE RECORDS

The re-writing of the record books may not be done yet, the Lady Buffs are still within striking distance of three more Lone Star Conference records this season. WT has registered 27 triples this season and sits just one more from tying the league mark of 28 held by East Central (‘97) and Eastern New Mexico (‘98). WT’s Renee Erwin is just six total bases away from tying the LSC single season record held by Angelo State’s Macy Baker (175, ‘09) while also sitting just three runs short of the single season league record broke by ASU’s Morgan Spearman this season (80). The Lady Buffs have registered 318 walks this season to break the team’s NCAA record of 310 happening last season.

LIVE COVERAGE

The NCAA will provide live stats and video for all games of the 2014 NCAA Division II College World Series taking place at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Virginia. For more information and links visit the Softball schedule page at GoBuffsGo.com or the DII Interactive Bracket at NCAA.com.

DAKTRONICS RON LENZ PLAYER OF THE YEAR

West Texas A&M junior outfielder Renee Erwin was named the Daktronics Ron Lenz Player of the Year announced on Wednesday night. The Anna, Texas native, has been the backbone of the powerful WT offense during her junior season, leading the team with a .457 averages with 20 doubles, 6 triples and 17 homeruns to drive in 71 RBI on the season for a slugging percentage of .899 with 36 walks for an on-base percentage of .561 while going a perfect 21-for-21 on stolen bases. The junior outfielder also has 49 putouts and seven assists with just two errors in right field for the Lady Buffs, for a fielding percentage of .966.

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