SWC race tight in the early going; Raiders have intial lead

by Andrew J. Ferraro

Daily Cougar Staff

With Southwest Conference baseball featuring some of the top teams in the country (three of seven league teams in the top 25; Texas Tech, Rice, Texas A&M), last weeks SWC First Pitch Tournament featured many intense games including the biggest league rivalry: A&M vs. Texas.

The Aggies suffered a 12-1 defeat to the Bears Thursday and a 3-2 victory against Texas Christian Friday before the match against Texas.

"Baylor played well and pitched well," A&M coach Mark Johnson said. "They hit some balls that fell in (for hits), and we hit some balls real hard into double plays. That's part of baseball."

Before losing their final two games of the tournament, the Bears beat the Aggies and then Texas 12-9 Friday.

Kris Lambert pitched the opener against A&M, and for his nine-inning seven-hitter received an all-tournament selection.

Marty Crawford, the Baylor second baseman hit .632 in the tournament with 12 hits and nine RBIs was awarded the tournament Most Valuable Player as well as SWC Player of the Week.

After losing to Texas 9-5 in Thursday's opener, the Texas Tech Red Raiders swept the rest of their conference opponents, scoring 28 runs in their victories over the Cougars 14-5 Friday and the Rice Owls 14-8 Saturday.

Tech tacked an 8-2 defeat on for its tournament finale.

"Coming out at 3-1 was a good showing for us," said Tech assistant coach Marty Lamb. "And with the way this conference is, anybody can beat anybody."

Despite losses to Baylor (12-9) and Texas A&M (8-4), the Texas Longhorns came out firing at the plate throughout the tournament.

As a team, they hit .350, crushing 50 hits (34 singles, 10 doubles, and six home runs).

They had the highest on-base percentage (.457) and finished the tournament with 78 total bases.

Longhorns top gun Danny Peoples finished batting .533 and collecting eight hits, two doubles, and 12 RBIs. Peoples led four Texas hitters in the tournament's top ten.

Rice finished the tournament 2-2 with losses to Tech and TCU and wins over the Cougars (9-3) in the opener and A&M in the finale 6-2.

With five of seven teams in the conference now at 2-2, (only Tech at 3-1 is faring better, with Houston sitting at the bottom at 1-3) the league is up for grabs heading into conference play.

Visit The Daily Cougar