Buffalo Baseball Pre-Season Preview

Ben Jenkins, Junior Reporter

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 The West Texas A&M Buffalo baseball team is looking to improve on last year’s 40-win season. Coming off of a successful season in the win column. After hosting the regional tournament in May of 2018 and losing in a way that would stick with them for a long while. Even though a regional appearance could be seen as a high success.

 “Even though we won 40 games, last season was still a failure. We will not be happy with a season unless we win a national championship”, Coach Matt Vanderburg said

Although Vanderburg sees the 2018 season as a failure he sees things that they can improve on. Having a better team hitting average is one of those key things that he thinks needs to be improved.

 The Buffs will have twelve players returning from last year’s roster, including two pre-season all region selections in senior starting pitcher Joe Corbett and senior relief pitcher Dominic Yearego. Corbett was also named a pre-season all American. Also returning is one of the leading hitters from last year senior Tag Baxter. Alongside the returning players from last year’s season the Buffs expanded by acquiring players from division one schools. Bringing in junior catchers Klay Koelzer from Texas Tech and senior Kyle Kaufman from the University of Alabama. Also bringing in junior pitcher Mitchell Miller from the University of Clemson.

 “All I want to do is to be able to help the team win every game not even just the ones that I am playing in” Corbett said. “This team has the potential to be very successful this year and all we want is to make it to the College World Series”

With the pitcher’s mound being covered by pre-season accolade winners the approach at the plate is what is in the path of thought for the Buffs. Returning from last year Tag Baxter led the “All we have to do is get our jobs done at the plate”. Baxter said “Our key to success is doing our jobs”.

Last season the buffs won 40 games and lost only 14. Although the toughest lost came at the end of the season against Texas A&M Kingsville. The loss happened as Yearego miss threw a ball to home plate as the winning run came into to score.

The Buffs start off their season on Feb. 1in Las Vegas NM. They face New Mexico Highlands, a 4-game series.

The home opener for the Buffs is on Feb. 8, Against Adam State University. First pitch is at 2 pm at Wilder Park in Canyon TX.

Conference play begins on Mar. 22 against Texas A&M Kingsville, the team that knocked them out of contention for a College World Series birth.

Players to watch:

Darius Carter; sophomore; infielder. Carter Started 33 of his 39 appearances with a batting average of .274, he played the majority of his season at third base bringing in 25 runs batted in for the Buffs last season.

Darin Cook; senior; right handed pitcher. Cook started 11 games and competed in 16 games tallying 86 strike outs over the span of 79.0 inning of work. Cook was named to the First Team All-Loan Star Conference

Drew Mesecher; senior; right handed pitcher. Mesecher was a relief pitcher for the majority of the season, appearing in 12 games and starting four. Mesecher tallied 33 strike outs in 34.1 innings. He finished the season with a 4.19 ERA

Christian Loya; senior; utility player. In 2018 Loya hit seven home runs in 42 appearances. Racking up 33 starts for the Buffs, Loya hit for a batting average of .300 and a slugging percentage of .558.