SAN ANGELO — The No. 24 UCCS baseball team's season comes to a close as the Mountain Lions fell to No. 5 West Texas A&M University in a close 7-6 loss in the NCAA Baseball South Central Regional Tournament on Friday.
UCCS got off to a slow start in the third game of the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament as the Buffs struck first with two runs off of UCCS starter Daniel Silva as a hit by pitch and three singles resulted in the 2-0 deficit.
The Mountain Lions offense could only be silenced for so long as UCCS tied up the ballgame with a four-run sixth inning. Third baseman Jaeden Hegman reached base by way of fielder's choice as the smooth hitting Evan Richards single to right field to put runners on first and second base with one out.
Designated hitter Aaron Faragallah came up to rope an RBI single for the Mountain Lions' first run of the game to setup runners on first and second.
A Buffs balk then put two runners into scoring position for Matt Berg who was determined to get two runs in. After fouling off four straight, Berg jumped on an inside pitch to drive down the left field line for a standout double as he cut the deficit to just one-run, 4-3. Berg was able to take advantage of a wild pitch to put him 90-feet away from a tied ballgame as Michael Bennin recorded an infield single to tie it up 4-4.
In the top of the eighth, West Texas A&M captured their second lead of the game by scoring two runs after a pair of singles and a UCCS miscue in the outfield gave the Buffs a 6-4 lead.
Facing a two-run deficit for the second time in the game, the Mountain Lions generated momentum once again but was then halted by a 30-minute lightening delay, which was the second delay of the game.
A Jake Anderson and Matt Berg walk plus an Aaron Faragllah single gave the Mountain Lions bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the eighth right before the delay began.
Coming out of the delay, WTAMU was able to force a pop up and fly out to get out of the inning as UCCS stranded three base runners. They Buffs would add another insurance run in the 9th.
But a team that was no stranger to battling back, the Mountain Lions started off the home half of the ninth with back-to-back Walker Rumsey and Matt McDermott walks to quickly put two runners on.
A groundball out followed as Rumsey and McDermott both advanced into scoring position with one out. After working a hitter's count, Evan Richards hit a ball to the right side of the infield to plate Rumsey and cut the deficit down to two runs, 7-5.
With now two outs, Anderson kept the game alive by driving in McDermott with an infield RBI single to put the Mountain Lions down by just one run.
But with three pitches, West Texas A&M recorded the last out to end the game 7-6.
The 2021 season was one for the history books as the Mountain Lions (30-13, 22-10 RMAC) finished with the most wins (30), highest winning percentage (.698), and most conference wins (22) in program history.
This year's team also won the program's first ever RMAC Baseball Tournament Championship to play in their first NCAA South Central Regional Tournament.