CANYON, Texas – The top ranked Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M will begin the 2014 NCAA Division II postseason against a familiar foe on Friday night as they take on the rival Mustangs of Midwestern State in a Highway 287 Challenge Cup showdown to start off the South Central Regional Tournament taking place at Schaeffer Park in Canyon with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. The Lady Buffs enter the weekend as the top overall seed in the region with a 51-5 overall record.
WEST TEXAS A&M
The #1 Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M went 1-1 this past weekend during the 2014 Lone Star Conference Tournament as they registered a 4-2 victory over Cameron in the semifinal round before falling to then #10 Angelo State in the LSC Title game on Saturday afternoon, 5-3 to snap WT’s programn record 24 game win streak while handing the Lady Buffs their first home loss of the season. WT enters the South Central I Regional Tournament as the top overall seed in the region as they will host a four-team double elimination event at Schaeffer Park in Canyon, WT is 51-5 overall this season including 30-1 at home.
The Mustangs of Midwestern State enter the weekend with an overall record of 28-22 as they finished the regular season with a 16-11 mark in league play to finish in fourth place. MSU connected on six long balls in the LSC Quarterfinals against the Aggies of Cameron but CU came away with the 14-10 win last Friday in Canyon. Midwestern State is led offensively by Katelyn Vinson who is hitting .402 with seven doubles and 10 homeruns to drive in 45 runs, Kelley Schaefer is hitting .381 with 11 doubles and 11 homeruns to drive in 48 RBI. Katlyn Holmes leads the way for the Mustangs in the circle with a 4.89 ERA, going 11-11 with 14 complete games and a save while striking out 76 batters and allowing an opposing batting average of .339.
Midwestern State is led by 11th year head coach Brady Tigert. The Mustangs lead the all-time series against the Lady Buffs, 21-9 with the Mustangs taking two of three games from the top ranked Lady Buffs during the LSC opening weekend back in February at Mustang Park in Wichita Falls, Texas. MSU is 4-1 all-time against the Lady Buffs in the NCAA Postseason including a win in the 2011 SC Super Regionals to advance to the DII College World Series.
WALK THIS WAY
The 2013 season saw the Lady Buffs register an NCAA Division II single-season record 310 base-on-balls to break the record of 288 held by Barry University that was set back in 1988. Senior shortstop Alyssa Lemos registered a team record 46 walks during the 2013 season to break the record held by Meghan Brown (45) back in 2012, Lemos passed Brown 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 172 career walks.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Lady Buffs carry a 30-1 record at Schaeffer Park into the NCAA postseason. WT is 103-17 (.860) at Schaeffer Park since the facility opened prior to the 2011 season. This weekend will mark the third time in the last four years (‘11, ‘13, ‘14) that the Lady Buffs will host NCAA Postseason action in Canyon, registering a 5-3 record at Schaeffer Park during the postseason including a Regional Championship back in 2011.
Entering the weekend, the Lady Buffs ranked first in all of NCAA Division II in homeruns per game (1.66), on-base percentage (.474), slugging percentage (.667) and win/loss percentage (.911) while second in scoring (8.55) and fourth in doubles per game (2.04) and third in fielding percentage (.977). Individually, senior shortstop Alyssa Lemos is fifth in walks per game (0.86) while Rita Hokianga is 12th in strikeouts (232), eighth in strikeouts per seven innings (10.3) and 19th in victories (22) with Renee Erwin ranking ninth in individual slugging percentage (.951), fifth in on-base percentage (584) and eighth in batting average (.482) while Erwin, Allie Cranfill and Jessica Sipe are tied for 12th in homeruns (17). The national rankings reflect games played thru Sunday, May 4th.
LSC POSTSEASON AWARDS
Following the program’s first outright regular season Lone Star Conference Championship, 12 members of the West Texas A&M Lady Buffs were honored for their performance on the diamond during the league’s annual postseason awards banquet being held inside Legacy Hall in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center prior to the start of the 2014 LSC Championship taking place at Schaeffer Park. The Lady Buffs put six student-athletes on the All-LSC First Team along with three on the Second Team and three on the league’s Third Team, WT also picked up the league’s Newcomer and Pitcher of the Year (Rita Hokianga) awards while Kevin Blaskowski was named the Coach of the Year. On the academic side, Lemos and Cranfill were honored for their dedication in the classroom as members of the All-LSC Academic Team.
NFCA DIVISION II TOP-25 POLL (MAY 7th)
The Lady Buffs remained atop the NFCA Division II Top-25 Poll for the 11th straight week announced on Wednesday morning following a week that saw WT go 1-1. The Lady Buffs picked up 15 of the 16 possible first place votes for a total of 399 points followed by North Georgia (353), Cal State Monterey Bay (351), Humboldt State (310), Tampa (307), Missouri-St. Louis (1 first place, 285), Angelo State (287), Alabama-Huntsville (264), Caldwell (256) and Winona State (252) to round out the top ten. The South Central Region was represented by WT, Angelo State (7th), St. Mary’s (14th) and Texas Woman’s (RV).
The West Texas A&M Athletic Media Relations department will provide live stats for every game of the South Central I Regional Tournament this weekend at Schaeffer Park in Canyon, due to staffing issues there will not be a webstream available for the event. For more information and links visit the Softball schedule page at GoBuffsGo.com.
LEMOS SHINES IN THE CLASSROOM
West Texas A&M senior shortstop Alyssa Lemos continued to add to her long list of career accolades last week, being named to the CoSIDA/Capital One District 6 All-Academic First Team announced by the association’s offices. Lemos is a Pre-Med major at West Texas A&M and currently holds a 3.9 GPA. The senior shortstop was named to the Lone Star Conference All-Academic Team while also picking up the prestigious West Texas A&M President’s Award for the top graduating female student-athlete at the annual WTAMU Athletics Awards Banquet held at Legacy Hall on April 27th. Lemos is now eligable to become a CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-American.