As April turns to May, teams across the country are fighting for position in the standings. Only a few weeks remain in the regular season, with coveted invitations to the postseason on the horizon. In this pressure-packed atmosphere, future Bombers have become key contributors, particularly at the plate and out of the bullpen.
No single player demonstrates this more than Temple’s Ryan Weber, who is one of the Owls’ top bats and now also a part-time closer. Weber went 8-for-19 (.421) in helping the Owls to a 2-2 week and their first series win in three weeks. On Friday night Weber went 1-for-4, but his impact was greater on the hill. With the bases loaded and Saint Louis in the midst of a six-run eighth inning rally that closed them to within two runs, Weber took the mound and coaxed a double play to end the threat. He then pitched a perfect ninth inning for his third save of the season. Friday and Saturday saw him go a combined 5-for-10 with 4 runs scored, helping Temple close out their first series win since an early April visit to Dayton. Weber began the week with a 2-for-5 night in a midweek loss to Big 5 rival Villanova. With a .351 average, Weber ranks among the Atlantic 10’s hottest hitters. He is especially dangerous when it counts, in conference games, when he is batting .387.
Jess Buenger’s Rice squad had a productive week, going 4-0 and solidifying their position at #4 in Baseball America’s national poll. Buenger continued to swing a hot bat, batting safely in all four contests to run his hitting streak to nine games, the second-longest current streak on the Owls. Buenger collected 2 RBI in Rice’s midweek win over Sam Houston State. Over the weekend, he added 2 runs and drove in 5 in the Owls’ sweep of UAB, including a 2-for-5, 3 RBI performance on Sunday.
Missouri’s Scooter Hicks continued to display his efficiency by making the most of short outings. On Friday, Hicks halted a ninth inning Texas Tech rally by recording two outs on nine pitches, one of them a strikeout. He picked up his fourth win of the season on just three pitches Sunday, helping Mizzou to a sweep of the Red Raiders. Hicks entered the game after Tech took the lead with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth and closed out the frame. He then saw the Tigers push two across in the bottom of the inning to steal a 6-5 victory. Hicks remains a valuable cog in Mizzou’s pen with a 4-0 record and 2.16 ERA on the season.
Will Currier made a pair of appearances this week for Duke, once as part of a dominating team performance and once to just stop the bleeding. Currier delivered two scoreless innings, striking out two, in the Blue Devils’ Tuesday 12-0 whitewash of Campbell. Three days later, he came out of the pen in the first inning to put a halt to a Wake Forest onslaught. Currier held off the Demon Deacons, who had already scored eight runs before his arrival, going 3.2 innings and giving up just an unearned run on two hits.
Elsewhere, Texas A&M’s Daman Aaron saw regular time in the outfield this week, scoring three runs as the Aggies took three of four from Stephen F. Austin and Baylor. Teammate Darby Brown, though, was felled by a wrist injury and rested for A&M’s series win over Baylor.