Buffs and Lady Buffs start 2023 campaign 4-0 on opening weekend

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 4:57 PM CST
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CANYON, Texas (KFDA) - The West Texas A&M baseball and softball teams opened their seasons this past weekend on the road both going 4-0.

The Buffs hit the ground running this season as all of their games are Lone Star Conference games except for two. WT started their season with a trip to Laredo to face off against the Dustdevils of Texas A&M International. They swept TAMIU in a four-game series, winning Friday’s game 10-1, then Saturday’s games 4-2 and 9-5, and Sunday’s game 17-2 in seven innings.

“It was definitley a good start to the season,” Buffs Assistant Coach Shawn Neale said. “Nick (Marshall) was kind of our Friday night guy last year, and has kind of moved back into that role this year and got us off to a good start on the mound. Offensively, we were pretty pleased with some things, on the stat line, everything looked pretty good.”

In Friday’s game, Marshall pitched six innings only giving up one hit. On Saturday, it was Isaac Keehn who earned the win on the mound in game one with only one earned run on four hits. In game two, Gavin Pringle came in the last two innings for the save allowing one earned run on two hits. To round it out on Sunday, Reese Miller tallied no runs, one hit, and eight strikeouts in five innings. Coach Neale was impressed with the performance of his pitching staff this past weekend.

“As a whole, the pitching staff did what we expected them to do. That’s going to be a strength of ours this year, especially the bullpen. We feel like we have three or four guys coming out of the pen that could potential start for us,” Neale said.

The Buffs will host their home opener at Wilder Field this upcoming weekend with another LSC four-game series against Texas A&M Kingsville. One game will be played on Friday, a doubleheader Saturday, and one on Sunday.

“Kingsville coming into town, they didn’t have probably the start that they wanted to. They got swept by St. Edwards this weekend, but knowing Coach Gonzalez, he is going to have those boys ready to go,” Neale said.

On the other diamond, the Lady Buffs traveled to Los Lunas, NM, for the South Central Regional Challenge taking on four different opponents.

First up on Saturday, it was Adams State and WT took the game big with the 13-4 victory. Immediately following, they captured the 4-0 shutout win over New Mexico Highlands. On Sunday, it was another doubleheader and another shutout win, this time against Fort Lewis 9-0. Then to finish off the weekend, the Lady Buffs took care of business 12-4 over Colorado State-Pueblo.

“It’s fun, getting the chance to compete against someone else,” Lady Buffs Head Coach Michael Mook said. “I feel like our hitters are doing well, our pitchers are doing well, but when they are going against each other, they both look good. So it was fun to get a chance to compete against some other teams to see how our hitters are doing against a different opponent and see how our pitchers are doing, and obviously, they both did really well.”

In Sunday’s game versus Colorado State-Pueblo, freshman Emilee Boyer tallied three home runs, and finished the weekend with four.

“I know she (Emilee) can hit the ball. It wasn’t a total shocker, but still, at the colligate level to hit three homeruns in one game is pretty crazy,” Coach Mook said.

Veteran outfielder Ruby Salzman ended the weekend challenge going 10-for-15 in the batter’s box. Salzman’s performance earned her the LSC Hitter of the Week accolade.

“What a weekend for her (Ruby). Again, not a surprise at all. I get to see her every single day in practice, and her work ethic this year has been very consistent and she works really hard. It’s not a surprise to me at all that she’s doing as well as she is,” Coach Mook said.

The Lady Buffs will also have their home opener this weekend as they host the WT Invitational. They will welcome Colorado Mesa, New Mexico Highlands, and Fort Lewis. For the round robin tournament, WT will have two games on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday.

“Excited to be back at home and getting to play in front of our fans, sleep in our own beds, and play on our own field. We are super excited for the weekend,” Coach Mook said.