Baseball season comes to Tarleton

By: Sydnie Grossnickle

Staff Writer

Tarleton State University’s baseball season is around the corner. The Texans enter their second NCAA Division I (DI) season with Head Coach Aaron Meade.

Last season was their first in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). The Texans had a 20-35 record on the 2021 season.  

Mead is more confident in the season ahead.

“Going some of those places, how they would handle it, you know. For me now, it’s like we’ve seen it, and we know what it’s like,” Meade said. “Now it’s [about] coming out and see how we get going.”

Meade’s roster is full of newcomers, but there are a handful of last year’s Texans who are back for another season. Two of these returners, London Green and Bryce Hackett, were named to Perfect Game USA’s WAC Pre-Season All-Conference Team. 

Green transferred from Weatherford College and has played with the Texans for two years. He was named to the Pre-Season All-Conference Team as a utility player. 

Green traditionally served as a right fielder last spring. He completed the 2021 season with a 0.314 batting average, 0.398 on-base percentage and a 0.468 slugging percentage. 

Hackett, the Arlington, Texas native transferred to Tarleton from Weatherford College last year, and was one of the pitchers named to the Pre-Season All-Conference Team. 

The right-hander pitched 68 innings in 13 appearances during the 2021 campaign. He completed the season with a 5.69 earned run average (ERA), 56 total strikeouts and 7.41 strikeouts per game.

Meade recommended watching out for returning infielder Kemuel Thomas-Rivera.

“Kemuel Thomas-Rivera has really grown up and matured his approaches to second-to-none right now,” Meade said. “I’ve been really impressed with him as of late. He’s got a chance to be one of the best hitters in the Conference, I think.”

Kemuel Thomas-Rivera with the Texans.
Photo courtesy: Trey Burnett

Originally from Carolina, Puerto Rico, Thomas-Rivera transferred to Tarleton last year from New Mexico. The senior ended the 2021 season with a 0.276 batting average in 44 games played. He had nine home runs, 37 runs batted-in (RBI) and an on-base percentage of 0.364.  

“We lost quite a bit last year too, so we have guys coming in with have talent,” Meade said.

Of the talented newcomers, most of them are transfers from all over. Notable transfer students are Taylor Daniell and Dylan Kurahashi-Choy Foo.

Daniell is a graduate student that transferred from the University of Central Arkansas, and is pursuing a Master’s of Science in kinesiology.

During the 2021 season with the Bears, he hit 0.294 with an on-base percentage of 0.402. Daniell had 25 hits and 15 RBIs on the season. 

Kurahashi-Choy Foo came to Tarleton from Fort Smith Community College. Hailing from Waimanalo, Hawaii, he posted an impressive 2021 season with the greyhounds. 

The infielder had a batting average of 0.446 on 202 at-bats. Kurahashi-Choy Foo had nine home runs and stole 19 bases during last year’s season. 

Kyler Mentzel is a pitcher to watch of the true freshmen arriving at Tarleton. The right-hander from Alvin, Texas, had an impressive senior high school season.

Mentzel was named 2021 All-State pitcher and hitter. He finished his senior season with a 0.663 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 63.1 innings pitched. Mentzel ranked No. 61 overall in Texas on “Perfect Game’s” prospect rankings in 2021. 

The Texans have an exciting season ahead with 32 home games. The program will play WAC foes and Power Five teams. 

The baseball season opener is Friday, Feb. 18 against the University of Texas, San Antonio. The Texans will continue a homestand with games against Incarnate Word, Eastern Illinois and PAC-12 Conference member Washington State. 

Their first away game is against SEC member, University of Missouri. The Texans will play three games at Mizzou starting on March 4. 

The Texans will go head-to-head with Texas A&M in March and No. 17 TCUs in May. 

“Playing some higher profile schools on a Friday night under the lights, it’s going to be a big-time atmosphere,” Meade said. “Our guys are going to go out, and they compete. Fans will get a chance to watch how our guys play the game. It’s going to be one where the atmosphere is just going to get better as we keep going.”

To learn more about Texan baseball, visit www.tarletonsports.com/sports/baseball

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