CANYON – The West Texas A&M baseball team closes the 2014 regular season this weekend at Cameron for a three game series beginning Friday at 3 p.m. in Lawton, Okla. The series then will conclude Saturday at 1 p.m. with a doubleheader against the Aggies.
The Buffs enter the series with a 32-15 record overall and a 20-12 mark in Lone Star Conference play. They are No. 2 in the latest NCAA South Central Region poll for the second-straight week. Colorado Mesa is the top team in the region, followed by the Buffs, Texas A&M-Kingsville, New Mexico Highlands, St. Edward’s and St. Mary’s round out the top six who, if the regional started today, would be in the field. Tarleton State is seventh in the poll, followed by Angelo State. The Buffs are looking for their first NCAA Tournament since baseball was reinstated as a sport in 1994.
WT sits second in the LSC standings with three games to play. WT has ensured itself of at-worst second place in the conference tournament next week, but could earn a share of the conference title and hosting of the LSC baseball championship with a sweep of Cameron and a sweep by Tarleton State over Texas A&M-Kingsville.
TAMUK (33-14, 23-9 LSC) owns a three game lead over the Buffs in the conference standings. A win by TAMUK at Tarleton State or a WT loss at Cameron would ensure TAMUK winning the outright conference championship and hosting duties next weekend of the LSC championship. WT won the head-to-head series with TAMUK, 4-3 this season.
Tarleton State is third in the league standings with a 14-17 record and a 24-21 mark overall. Angelo State sits fourth with a 14-18 record in league play and a 25-22 overall record. Eastern New Mexico and Cameron each have a shot to earn a berth in the four-team conference tournament with strong showings this weekend. ENMU is 13-19 in league play and 24-23 overall, while Cameron is 11-20 and 17-26 overall.
Last Saturday WT honored 10 seniors who played in their final regular season home series in a Buff uniform. The 2014 senior class is 62-36 the last two seasons which is the best two-year mark in school history. Also, the senior class has helped lead the Buffs to back-to-back 30 win seasons for the first time in school history. The 32 wins so far this season are the most since winning 33 in 1999 and also marks just the sixth time since baseball was reinstated at WT in 1994 of winning 30 or more games in a season. WT won a school-record 34 games in 1997.
Fans can access live stat links for the Cameron series by logging on to www.gobuffsgo.com.
The Buffs are coming off of a disappointing Senior Weekend series with Tarleton State, dropping two of three games for the second consecutive weekend and third of the last four. Also last week, the Buffs dug themselves a 10-0 deficit in a midweek game against Wayland Baptist and almost pulled off the come-from-behind win, falling in their last at bat, 20-19.
The Buffs will need two wins this weekend to clinch the season series against every team in the LSC. WT and Cameron split a four game series in Canyon Mar. 28-30. Cameron won the first two games, 4-3 and 11-4 and WT battled back for 9-4 and 13-6 victories in the final two games.
Against the Aggies the first time, WT hit .333 for the series with 43 hits, 10 doubles, three triples, one home run and 28 driven in on 29 runs. Cameron had 37 hits, six doubles, one triple, three home runs and 22 RBI on 25 runs as it hit .287. The big difference was on the staff as WT had its first high ERA series of the season at a 6.47 clip. Cameron finished the series with a 7.50 ERA.
For the season, the Buffs are led offensively by senior Tyler McKnight who leads the team with a .399 average in 36 starts. He has 59 hits, which is third on the team, with a team-high 11 doubles, four triples, one home run and 21 RBI. He is slugging a team-best .547 and reaching base at a .431 clip, while going a team-high 9 of 9 in stolen bases.
Second on the team in average is junior Nick Chapman with a team-high 71 hits and a .386 average. He has scored 42 runs, which is second on the team, 11 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 30 driven in which is good for fourth on the squad. Chapman is slugging .527 and reaching base at a .447 average. Senior David Hebert is third in average at .344 and he, along with Chapman and senior Matt Redfearn, are the only three players on the team to play and start all 47 games. Redfearn leads the team with 45 run scored and has 59 hits with 11 doubles, four triples, one home run and 31 driven in for a .316 average.
As a team, the Buffs are hitting .319 and holding teams to .253 from the plate. WT has scored 318 runs with 520 hits, 86 doubles, 22 triples, 18 home runs and 274 RBI. The team is slugging .432 and reaching base at a .382 clip. WT is 32 of 39 in stolen bases and has a .966 fielding percentage with 59 errors leading to 39 unearned runs.
On the bump, the Buffs are led by senior Dylan James who has a team-best 2.39 ERA and an 8-2 record in 12 starts with three complete games and two shutouts. He has pitched a team-high 79 innings, allowing 56 hits, 28 runs with 21 earned, 20 walks and a school-record 100 strikeouts. The opposition is hitting just .196 against him.
Senior Joshua Weyker is second in wins with a 7-5 record and has a 4.09 ERA in 70.1 innings of work which is second on the squad. He has 60 strikeouts which are good for third and teams are hitting .275 against him. Weyker has started in 12 games with a team-high six complete game and four shutouts. Senior Scott Cone is third on the team with a 5-2 record in 12 starts. He has a 3.82 ERA in 68.1 innings with 62 strikeouts as the opposition is hitting .261 against him.
As a staff, the Buffs have a 3.91 ERA in 47 games and 393.2 innings. WT has allowed 371 hits, 210 runs with 171 earned along with 143 walks and 366 strikeouts. The opposition has a 5.93 ERA.
Cameron is led by Brad Blumer who leads the team with a .314 average. He is second in hits with 38, while recording four doubles and 11 RBI. Codey McElroy is second in average at .299 and leads the team with 32 runs scored, 43 hits, 14 doubles, two triples and four home runs along with a team-high 22 RBI.
The Aggies are hitting .261 with 339 hits, 195 runs, 50 doubles, 10 triples, 16 home runs and 167 driven in. The opposition is hitting .300 with 403 hits and 254 runs scored.
On the mound, Drew Reidt is 6-6 with 3.58 ERA in 12 starts and a team-high 78 innings. He has 12 walks and 43 strikeouts on the year, while allowing 41 runs with 31 earned. Reidt has a team-high three complete games with one shutout. Brian Schwabe and Steve Matta each have three wins for the Aggies. Schwabe leads the team with 44 strikeouts.
The staff has a 5.35 ERA in 333 innings of work. Cameron has allowed 403 hits, 254 runs with 198 earned, walked 99 and fanned 183. The opposition carries a 3.87 ERA with 252 strikeouts and 124 walks this season.
Cameron leads the all-time series 27-26 as the teams have split the previous two series’. WT went 2-2 in Lawton last season to open conference play along with the split earlier this season in Canyon.