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Bandits Collegiate Spotlight: Niner Aces Big 12 Competition

May 18: Junior Willie Rueda has bounced back from surgery in a big way. “Niner” had three hits and scored three runs to lead Texas Tech to a 12-5 win over Baylor. The Red Raiders finished their Big 12 year with a 25-30 record and went 9-18 in conference play. Rueda led the Red Raiders in hitting with a .361 average, 14 doubles and in stolen bases, swiping 27 of 34 to rank No. 1 in the conference. His average also ranks among the top 20 overall in the league, and his .448 on-base percentage is eighth best in the Big 12. Willie is in line to receive Big 12 All Conference honors at some level.

He’s put up those numbers while taking over the leadoff role for the Red Raiders, who tried several different players at the top of the order before Rueda asserted himself about a month ago. He went 1-for-2 and drew three walks in the series finale at Kansas on April 18 and has occupied that role ever since.
His 33 RBIs this season are more than the past two years combined and he’s had ten of his 15 multi-hit games in that span. But he’s had just as much an impact defensively, leading a Red Raider unit that is second in the Big 12 with a .965 fielding percentage.

April 22: Junior Dillon Smith started for the New Mexico State Aggies in their game against Texas Tech and fellow Bandit Willie Rueda. Tech won 12-2. The game was played in Lubbock. Rueda went 1X4 with two stolen bases upping his season total to 22. Smith tossed the first 4 innings for the Aggies. Rueda is now batting lead off for the Red Raiders and continues to lead the team in batting average. The two teams square off again today but in Roswell.

Junior Anthony Martinez is hitting .400 with a .600 slugging percentage in limited action for the Mountain West Conference University of New Mexico Lobos. After sweeping New Mexico State and fellow Bandit Junior Dillon Smith the Lobos are now 11-8. Smith remains part of the regular rotation of pitchers for the Western Athletic Conference Aggies who drop to 6-7 in 2008.

Junior Jared Schrom has a 3.75 ERA in 5 appearances and a 0-1 record for the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in the Southland Conference. Due to the newly adopted compacted schedule all Division I schools are following (everyone started on Feb. 22), he is one of 6 pitchers the ‘Jacks are using in starting and middle relief roles.

March 12: Bandit vs. Bandit – – – Texas Tech defeated the University of New Mexico 8-6 to square their season series at one game apiece. Junior Willie Rueda went 1X2 with 2 walks and scored 3 runs to pace the Red Raiders. Rueda has boosted his batting average to .333 with a .500 on base percentage and is playing center field, second base and taking some hacks as the designated hitter. Junior Anthony Martinez did not see action in the rematch. Both teams are ironically now 8-6 in 2008. Tech starts Big 12 Conference play this coming weekend against Texas A & M.