The reigning Lone Star Conference Champion Javelina baseball team, is set to begin conference play this Friday at Nolan Ryan Field against West Texas A&M University who like the Javelinas, find themselves with only four losses through the first ten games of the season.
For head coach Jason Gonzales and company, a 1-3 start to begin the season is nothing these guys haven’t dealt with before. In 2014, The Javelinas found themselves in a similar position at this time when they started the season 2-4. But it’s 2015 now and since the slow start, TAMUK has won 5 of their last 6 games to stand at 6-4 before their four-game showdown with the Buffs.
Coming into the conference matchup, the similarities between the teams make the matchup interesting in many ways. TAMUK has scored 69 runs, while WT has scored 75. As for hits, WT has the upper hand with 108, while the Javelinas are close by with 97. In the power category, TAMUK finds themselves with 4 home runs, while the Buffs have 5. In RBI, once again another close stat as WT has 71 while the Javelinas have 59. And finally for pitching, the Buffs have the advantage with a team ERA of 3.68 while Javelina pitching sits at an ERA of 5.38.
In this weekend four game series, I look for the Javelina pitching to keep up where they left off against Texas College. Ryan Benitez showed why he could be the ace of the staff in his second and third starts of the season, where he shut the Steers and Jets down with a combined 13 strikeouts and 2 runs earned in 10 total innings pitched. As for the offense, I look for Cline Andrews to keep up the hot bat and carry his team-high .410 batting average to do damage to WT pitching. The senior third baseman already collected 16 hits with 5 doubles and 1 home run.
I also look for Wesley Aguliar to keep up where he left off against the Steers, where he collected 7 hits in the three game series to carry his team to victory. The Javelinas find themselves getting hot and it could not be a better time with conference play starting. The Javelinas are starting to show why they were picked to win the LSC at the start of the season. The key to victory this weekend will be the offense keeping up where they left of, where they scored 18 runs combined in the first-inning of each game with the Steers. The pitching will need to have solid outings from Benitez, Hayden James, Miles Holcomb and Matt Terones. If the offense can provide and the bullpen can hang on, I look for closer Ryan Scott to close the door on what is likely to be a competitive four game series.