By Dave Wagner
If he didn’t already know it, Eastern New Mexico University’s Trevor Davis found out Saturday he can pitch effectively without his best stuff.
After earning a win and a save in relief on Friday, the senior right-hander helped ENMU to a Lone Star Conference South Division series victory with a complete-game 3-2 win over Tarleton State at Greyhound Field in the seven-inning finale. TSU won Saturday’s opener 4-3.
Davis (11-4), who earlier in the week set the single-season school record for wins, broke Geoff Irwin’s career mark (19 from 1994-96) with his 97-pitch effort in the finale.
Meantime, junior right fielder Justin Gee drove all three runs with a two-run double in the second and an RBI single in the fourth, both coming with two out off TSU left-hander Brandon Gowins (0-3).
“It took a while for me to realize I didn’t have my fastball,” said Davis, who earned a win as the Hounds took Friday’s opener 4-3, then got a save in their 4-2 second-game victory. “I just concentrated harder and tried not to overthrow.”
Both teams played well all weekend, and runs were hard to come by. ENMU (25-23, 9-7 South) saw its six-game, 55-inning errorless streak end in Friday’s second contest but turned six double plays in the series, while the Texans (22-30, 6-10) didn’t make any fielding miscues over the final three games.
“If you like baseball, that’s the way it’s supposed to be played,” TSU coach Trey Felan said. “I don’t know if they charged (admission), but if they didn’t they should have.”
The Texans spoiled a strong outing by Kelly Crain (6-7) in Saturday’s nine-inning opener. They got the deciding run in the eighth when ENMU second baseman Bryan Moore couldn’t come up with a hard grounder for an error, allowing Brandon McGuire to score from second.
Jose Collazo, one of three left-handed starters used by TSU in the series, pitched well until the seventh before issuing bases-loaded walks to Derrick Kennedy and Mark Wallace to tie the score. Tim Wallis (2-2) got out of it by retiring Ryan French on a fly ball to center and earned the win with 2 1/3 innings of one-hit work.
French, who reached six times in seven plate appearances on Saturday, walked ahead of Gee’s hits in the second game. Gee’s double to left-center scored Wallace and French for a 2-1 lead, and his RBI single sent French home from second to make it 3-1.
“Like coach (Phil) Clabaugh said, those guys play just like us,” said Gee, who went 6-for-14 in the series and collected seven outfield putouts in Friday’s second game. “(Gowins) kept throwing me pitches down the middle today, and I thought, ‘OK.’ I felt pretty good today, and I’m just glad we won.”
TSU first baseman Mark Broussard hit his 12th homer, a towering shot just inside the left field foul pole leading off the sixth, but Davis managed to work around three singles and an error the rest of the way.
“We played good,” Clabaugh said. “We didn’t swing it (hit well), but that might’ve had something to do with their pitching and the left-handers they threw.
“Gee had a great game today, and he played a great right field yesterday.”
ENMU needs two wins in five games this week — a single game Tuesday at New Mexico Highlands and doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday at South-leading Abilene Christian — to clinch its first winning season since 2000 and the fourth since Clabaugh came in to resurrect the program in 1992.
Due to conflicts with finals at several schools, the LSC will not have a postseason baseball tournament this season.
ENMU 4-4, TSU 3-2 (Friday) — Moore’s two-out, ninth-inning single to center scored Gee from second with the game-winner in the opener. He then drove in three runs in Game 2 with a single and a fifth-inning leadoff homer.
Moore was held to one hit in each game on Saturday, but extended his hitting streak to a school-record 20 games. He went 6-for-16 for the weekend and, at .430, is three points off the school single-season batting average mark set in 2003 by Dallas McMann.
ENMU senior right-hander Brett Scherer pitched seven strong innings in the opener, while junior left-hander David Swinconos (4-3) blanked TSU until the sixth in the nightcap.