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WT falls 5-4 in NCAA opening game

The West Texas A&M Buffaloes stranded 10 base runners on Thursday night as they fell to the Orediggers of Colorado School of Mines, 5-4 in front of over 150 fans at Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colorado during the opening game of the South Central Regional Tournament.

The Buffs will have their season on the line tomorrow afternoon as they take on the #2 Mavericks of Colorado Mesa with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. CT at Suplizio Field in Grand Junction. WT will now have to battle back thru the loser's side of the bracket.

Jace Selsor started off the home half of the first with a double to the warning track in left field followed two batters later by a Mikey Gangwish RBI single to right field, Derek Daly added to the CSM lead with an RBI single to the gap in left center with one out before Darin Cook settled in for a pair of strikeouts to strand two Orediggers.

Darius Carter registered WT's first hit of the night with a double to left field with two outs in the top of the second but a grounder to short ended the frame with the Orediggers still leading 2-0. Mines extended their lead in the home half of the frame with a Trevor Kehe triple to right field with two outs to score Selsor at 3-0.

Justice Nakagawa and Keone Givens both singled to start the third inning followed by a wild pitch to move Nakagawa to third, Nick Guaragna doubled down the right field line to drive in an RBI followed by a Kyle Kaufman single up the middle to drive in two more and tie the game at 3-3.

Clay Koelzer reached on an errant throw to start the fourth followed by a Carter double down the left field line to put Buffs at second and third with no outs, CSM's Walter Pennington forced a groundout to first followed by a pair of strikeouts to end the threat and keep the game 3-3. The Orediggers took the lead again in the bottom of the fifth inning as a double-steal with runners on the corners produced a run at 4-3.

The Buffs threatened in the sixth as they loaded the bases with two outs but a grounder back to the mound ended the threat. Gabe Garvens tripled to the alley in right center to leadoff the home half of the frame to knock Cook from the game as Austin Gehle entered, Trevor Howard drew a pinch-hit walk to bring in Mitchell Miller from the bullpen as the lefty registered three big strikeouts to keep the game at 4-3.

Mines used a pair of two-out walks to knock Miller from the game in the bottom of the seventh as Braden Baker entered with a 2-0 count to Daly, a walk would load the bases as Dominic Yearego entered with a 2-0 count to Garvens. The senior entered and struck out Garvens on four pitches followed by an RBI single to right by Howard but Jaxxon Fagg gunned down Joe Popp at the plate to end the inning and make it 5-3.

Carter stayed hot at the plate as the junior single thru the left side for his third hit of the night to start the frame, Carter moved to third on a wild pitch followed by a Cade Engle groundout to first to move the runner up 90 feet. Nakagawa flew out to right field to score Carter from third to make it 5-4. CSM looked to add an insurance run in the eighth as Kehe singled to left with two outs but Engle gunned down Selsor at the plate to end the frame and head to the 9that 5-4.

Howard made a great play on a sprint against the wall in right center to rob Kaufman of atleast a double to start the frame followed by a flyout to right and a groundout to third to end the game, 5-4. Cook picked up the loss (7-3) on the mound for the Buffs, allowing four earned runs on nine hits with no walks and a career-high 11 strikeouts in his five innings of work.

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