CANYON, Texas — Senior right-hander Ben Monticello was pitching well through the first two innings. Then the runs just kept on a-coming for No. 6 West Texas A&M.
The Buffaloes pounded out 18 hits and scored in each of the final six innings to post a 14-4 victory over Eastern New Mexico University in Friday’s opener of a three-game Lone Star Conference baseball series.
The teams wrap up the set with a noon (MDT) twin bill today.
Right fielder Tyler McKnight and first baseman Aaron Blair both went 4-for-4 for WT (29-9, 17-7 LSC), which maintained a one-half game lead in the LSC over Texas A&M-Kingsville. McKnight, who had two triples, and center fielder Nick Chapman each drove in three runs for the Buffs, who got at least one RBI from eight players.
Colton Sims’ two-out RBI single staked the Hounds to the lead in the top of the first, and that stood until Blair’s two-out, run-scoring single up the middle tied it for WT in the third.
Monticello (4-3), who has been among several steady starting pitchers for the Hounds this season, allowed five runs and 10 hits in five innings in this one.
With the score 7-2, junior center fielder Matthew Burks brought the Hounds (19-18, 9-15) within striking range with his fifth homer of the season, a two-out, two-run shot to left in the seventh off Buffs reliever Justin Disbro.
But WT answered with three in the bottom of the inning, then scored four runs before anybody was retired in the eighth to end it on the 10-run rule following a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to Beto Rodriguez. It was one of five passes — four walks and a hit batsman — issued in the frame.
Right-hander Dylan James (7-2) earned the win for WT, allowing two runs on five hits over six innings, with two walks and six strikeouts. Reliever Kyle Olason set the Hounds down in the eighth with three strikeouts on 13 pitches.
Shortstop Brett Ackerman and catcher Chad Highberger each had two of ENMU’s eight hits.