Buffs top the Hilltoppers, 8-3

Geordan Venison, Reporter

The West Texas A&M Buffaloes baseball team defeated the St. Edwards Hilltoppers 8-3 on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Buffs got their second win of the season behind a late inning surge.

The scoring started early when senior third baseman Matt Cole hit a solo homerun with one out in the first inning. He went 3 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs and a home run. Senior Austin Moore pitched a strong six innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs. He also struck out eight batters while also walking three.

A problem that persisted throughout last season for the Buffs was consistency. Long stretches of winning would also be accompanied by stretches of losses. Cole said the team still needed to keep level and stay conistent.

“As a team we just need to improve on our consistency,” Cole said. “Making sure that we can stay consistent. We’re not getting too high or too low.”

The Buffs had eight runs on 16 hits while the Hilltoppers tallied three runs on six hits. Senior second baseman Trace Hansen contributed to the scoring, going 2 for 5 with two RBIs. Senior relief pitcher Kyle Tinius picked up his first win of the season, going three innings, allowing one hit and tallying two strikeouts. Austin Moore, though he tallied eight strikeouts, said that he still needed to improve on attacking the zone and competing more than he has.

“As a player I think I need to throw more strikes and attack the zone and compete to the best of my ability,” Moore said, “We hit the ball really well today and I think we need to keep that rolling and be consistent throughout the season.”

Head coach Matt Vanderburg praised his starting pitcher’s performance, and said that the team would have to rely largely on their pitching and defense to continue the winning trend.

“We did a pretty good job today. Austin Moore did an outstanding job on the mound and gave us a chance to win,” Vanderburg said. “That’s something we’re gonna rely on this entire year, our pitching staff. We know that we’ve got a lot of really good arms. Our pitching and defense is gonna give us a chance to win us some ball games.”

WT has now won two-straight against St. Edward’s after losing the first eight in the series. WT beat the Hilltoppers 5-0 in the NCAA Tournament last season in Grand Junction, Colo.

Update: The Buffs also won their game against the Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs on Sunday, Feb. 7 4-3 after a seventh inning grand slam by senior first baseman Jace Reese completing a sweep of the competition in the season opening West Texas A&M Tournament. The Buffs will now head to Lubbock, Texas to take on Lubbock Christian on Feb. 9.

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