Tarleton State baseball heads to the Lone Star Conference tournament at Texas A&M-Kingsville as one of the hottest teams in the league.
The Texans (26-22, 16-18 LSC) claimed both of their final series to close the season while facing the top two teams in the conference in second-seeded West Texas A&M and top-seeded Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Tarleton State will need to replicate that success and continue its momentum when it faces first-round opponent West Texas A&M (33-17, 21-14) at 11 a.m. Thursday at Nolan Ryan Field in Kingsville.
“The kids are feeling good about themselves, and hopefully we can build on that,” Tarleton State coach Bryan Conger said. “We are playing well. I am sure they are going to throw their No. 1 guy, who is likely going to be the conference’s pitcher of the year.”
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The Buffs are expected to start Dylan James (8-3, 2.44 ERA) against Tarleton’s Robert Baker (6-6, 3.55 ERA). James was 2-0 against Tarleton, striking out 12 in 11 1/3 innings. In two starts against West Texas A&M, Baker was 0-2, giving up eight earned runs and striking out seven in 11 innings.
The winner of the first-round matchup will play in the winner’s bracket finale at 3 p.m. Friday while the loser will face elimination at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“It all comes down to the first game,” Conger said. “You want to get out of the gates and stay in the winner’s bracket.”
Rams wrap season
Texas Wesleyan’s baseball team failed to advance out of Pool B at the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, ending its season with a 27-26 overall record.
The Rams were blanked in the opening two games of play, dropping a 4-0 decision to Northwood University and losing 12-0 to host Oklahoma City. Texas Wesleyan rebounded in its final game with its highest run output of the season, defeating Southwestern Assemblies of God 25-5.
Three TWU players were named to the SAC All-Conference teams. Outfielder Jake Howeth was the lone nomination to the first team, and outfielder Sam Martin and pitcher Dakota Lee were selected to the second team.
Howeth, a junior from Dallas, hit .411 with six homers and 39 RBIs. Martin, a senior from Denton, finished his two-year career at TWU with a 21-2 record and 2.53 ERA, including going 9-1 with a 2.69 ERA this season. Lee was second on the team with a .394 average and batted in 38 runs.