Hounds, Zias set to play at home

by Dave Wagner

So far, Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball season has been pretty much a win-one, lose-one proposition.
The Greyhounds (6-6) have neither won nor lost more than two in a row as they prepare for a four-game Lone Star Conference crossover series against Northeastern State (7-8) this weekend at Greyhound Field. The teams play doubleheaders at 1 p.m. today and at noon on Saturday, with all games scheduled for seven innings.
Meantime, the ENMU softball team (10-9) hopes to surpass its win total for all of last season (11-36) when the Zias entertain first-year program College of the Southwest at 1 p.m. Saturday at Zia Softball Field.
ENMU baseball coach Phil Clabaugh is concerned that his depth-thin pitching staff might be pressed even further against NSU. Sophomore reliever Keith Balderaz is scheduled to miss the series due to a rib cage injury while senior Brett Scherer (1-1), the likely starter in today’s second game, has been battling flu-like symtoms this week.
Junior Kelly Crain (2-2) will open the series today, while Clabaugh said he is unsure of his first-game starter on Saturday after sophomore Josh Brazell (0-2) has been rocked his last couple of outings.
Senior Trevor Davis, the LSC South pitcher of the week twice in the first three weeks of the season, will be used in save situations and is the scheduled starter in Saturday’s finale.
“No. 1 is we’ve got to get good pitching,” Clabaugh said. “It all kind of starts with Kelly, and we just have to work off whatever happens with him.”
Crain, ENMU’s top pitcher last season, had struggled in a couple of early starts but pitched well in a 7-3 win at East Central on Saturday.
“He pitched a little better,” Clabaugh said. “If the starters can give us five quality innings in a seven-inning game, then we’ve got a chance.”
Like the Hounds, NSU has gone 3-5 in crossover games. The Redmen swept the first of two doubleheaders at Tarleton State two weeks ago, but have since lost five of six, including three of four at home last week against Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“They can hit,” Clabaugh said of Northeastern. “I really don’t know much about them, but I know they swing it pretty good.”
ENMU’s softball team came away with a 2-2 split last weekend in the LSC’s First Pitch Tournament at Irving, Texas..
College of the Southwest (2-4) is playing softball for the first time since 1989 under former ENMU interim coach Ron Landschoot. ENMU swept the Lady Mustangs 8-1 and 10-0 in Hobbs on March 16.
“I’m hoping (playing) on our field will be an advantage,” ENMU interim coach Amber Daniel said. “I don’t think we’ve had a week of practice (as good as) we’ve had this week.”
Daniel said she plans to use junior Patricia Gonzales (3-4) in the circle in one of Saturday’s games while giving junior Natasha Lindsey (0-1) a start in the other contest.

LSC Standings
South Division
Div. All
Abilene Christian 0-0 10-6
Angelo State 0-0 5-4
Eastern New Mexico 0-0 6-6
Texas A&M-Kingsville 0-0 6-6
Tarleton State 0-0 6-8
West Texas A&M 0-0 4-8
North Division
Central Oklahoma 0-0 7-3
Southeastern Oklahoma 0-0 6-4
East Central 0-0 7-7
Northeastern State 0-0 7-8
Cameron 0-0 3-4
Southwestern Oklahoma 0-0 5-7

South Division
Div. All
Texas A&M-Kingsville 0-0 19-3
Angelo State 0-0 14-3
Texas Woman’s 0-0 6-3
Abilene Christian 0-0 13-8
Eastern New Mexico 0-0 10-9
Tarleton State 0-0 7-9
North Division
Southeastern Oklahoma 4-0 19-3
Central Oklahoma 2-0 9-3
Midwestern State 2-0 13-8
Cameron 0-0 2-14
Northeaseten State 0-2 6-10
Southwestern Oklahoma 0-2 4-10
East Central 0-4 4-9