CANYON – Prior to the first NCAA Tournament game and win in school history for the West Texas A&M baseball team Thursday, the Daktronics and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers South Central Region Teams were announced. WT seniors Dylan James and Tyler McKnight were first team selections on both.
James, a Las Cruces, N.M., native, is 8-3 on the year with a 2.40 ERA in 90 innings of work. He is fourth nationally in strikeouts with 114 as teams are hitting just .202 against him. James earned Lone Star Conference Pitcher of the Year accolades this season. His eight wins ranks 39th nationally and is allowing just 6.60 hits per nine innings ranking 38th in the nation. He ranks 11th nationally in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.40 per start.
McKnight, a Durango, Colo., native, has played and started in 44 games this season in the outfield for the Buffs. He leads the team and the conference in average at .391 and is third on the team in hits with 72 which ranks him fourth in the LSC. McKnight is tied for the team-lead in doubles with 12 and is second in triples with five and has one home run with 28 RBI. He has scored 34 runs for fourth on the team and is 28thnationally in triples.
Earning second team Daktronics accolades were senior third baseman David Hebert, senior second baseman Beto Rodriguez, senior outfielder Nick Chapman and senior relief pitcher Paul Lujan. Rodriguez also earned second team NCBWA All-Region honors, as did senior Matt Redfearn as a utility. Junior Aaron Blair earned honorable mention NCBWA accolades.
The Buffs continue in their first NCAA Tournament Friday evening at 8 p.m. CT versus Texas A&M-Kingsville in a winner’s bracket game at Suplizio Field on the campus of Colorado Mesa University. WT, TAMUK and Colorado Mesa all were winners on Thursday in the six-team regional.
This will be the ninth time WT has faced TAMUK this season as the Buffs own a 5-3 lead in the series in 2014. WT opened the NCAA Tournament with a 13-10 win over Tarleton State Thursday.