SPORTS: Dustdevils fall to Buffalos in series
By Cesar Oldham
Bridge Staff Intern
Published Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Off to a rough start, the Dustdevils baseball team fell in a four-game series to the Buffalos on opening day at Jorge Haynes Field.
Texas A&M International University opened its Lone Star Conference play Feb. 3 with a 10-1 loss against No. 17 ranked West Texas A&M University. The following Saturday afternoon doubleheader didn’t go any differently as the Dustdevils fell to the Buffalos in both games at 4-2 and 9-5 in closer games. On Sunday, TAMIU fell short again 2-17.
In the first game, the Buffs struck first, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning to take a 2-1 lead. TAMIU junior catcher and outfielder Joseph Cruz was able to score thanks to a throwing error off a single from fellow junior outfielder Matt Kissamis, who cut the Buffs’ lead to 2-1.
West Texas A&M added another run in the third inning to extend their lead to 3-1. Matt Kissamis and TAMIU answered back, hitting an RBI single to left field, which helped score teammate junior infielder Ariben Gutierrez. The Buffalos then padded their lead in the top of the sixth inning and didn’t surrender another Dustdevil run for the rest of the game.
TAMIU sophomore pitcher Lalo Salinas threw four innings, allowing three runs while surrendering five hits and two walks. Salinas struck out four Buffalos in his outing.
Matt Kissamis led the way for the Dustdevils’ offense going two for three at the plate. Kissamis accumulated half of the Dustdevils’ hits in game one, as they only collected four hits throughout.
For those wanting to see more action in game two, that’s exactly what they received as a total of 14 runs landed on the scoreboard in the final four innings.
The Dustdevils took their first lead of the four-game series by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead. West Texas A&M quickly answered back, taking a 4-3 lead in the fifth after a long sacrifice fly into the outfield with two RBI singles. The Dustdevils didn’t give in, though, and scored on an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, bringing TAMIU graduate student and infielder Daniel Hernandez home.
The Buffalos, however, went on a hitting barrage, scoring four runs in the top of the sixth after coach Matt Vanderburg was tossed from the game by the umpire. The Buffalos then added another run in the seventh to take a commanding 9-3 lead, which they wouldn’t surrender.
TAMIU did show a lot of heart in the bottom of the seventh with a rally ignited by junior catcher Antonio Buentello, who hit an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly from senior infielder Leeandro Alfonzo also helped spark the Dustdevil rally. TAMIU junior right-handed pitcher Jan Cabrera hurled the ball four innings and only allowed one run on three hits while walking one batter and striking out six Buffalos. The rest of the TAMIU pitching staff struggled coming out of the bullpen, combining for three innings pitched while allowing seven hits, three walks, surrendering eight runs and striking out two Buffalos.
TAMIU baseball was led at the plate by sophomore infielder Alex Lugo who went two for three at the plate driving in a run and scoring two of his own. Alfonzo drove in two RBIs, thus leading the way for the Dustdevils in game 2.
TAMIU baseball fan junior kinesiology major and communication minor Armando Quiroga attends as many home games as he can.
“As a student, I love to come to the games to support my school, especially the baseball games,” Quiroga said. “From a spectator perspective, I saw a small amount of improvement from game one to game three. There was more teamwork and momentum toward the end of the game. I believe that TAMIU will improve as the season progresses. It’s just a warmup. It isn’t over until it’s over.”