Hounds fall short of winning season

Freedom Newspapers

ABILENE, Texas — Eastern New Mexico University’s bid for its first winning season since 2000 came up just short.
After earning a Lone Star Conference South Division split with NCAA Division II fifth-ranked Abilene Christian on Friday with a 5-0, three-hit shutout from junior left-hander David Swinconos, the Greyhounds went down twice on Saturday, losing 11-3 and 12-4 to finish 26-27 (10-10 South).
ACU first baseman Ryan Barker went 8-for-8 on Saturday — four singles in the opener, four doubles in the nightcap.
The Hounds held the high-scoring division champion Wildcats (41-14, 16-4) in check in the first twin bill. ACU came in averaging nine runs a game, but needed two-out RBI singles from pinch-hitter Chris Walsh and catcher J-Bob Thomas in the eighth to break a 4-4 tie and take the nine-inning opener.
ACU right-hander Ben Maynard brought a 9-1 record into the contest, but settled for a no-decision after giving up four runs on seven hits over seven innings.
Then Swinconos (5-3), who came in with a 7.71 earned run average, pitched his second shutout of the season and handed the Wildcats only their second shutout loss in the seven-inning nightcap. ENMU handed Ben Brockman (10-1) his first loss, collecting nine hits and five earned runs off the right-hander in six innings.
Swinconos breezed through the first six innings before ACU put runners at second and third with no one out in the seventh. A one-out walk loaded the bases, but Swinconos slipped a called third strike past pitch-hitter Matt Jackson and then induced Cody Cure to roll into a game-ending forceout.
The Hounds got a run-scoring groundout from Bryan Moore and an RBI single from Brett Scherer in the third, then broke it open on an RBI single by Ryan French and a two-run single by Tyler Brown in the sixth.
On Saturday, ACU chased Hounds starter Kelly Crain (6-9) in the opener with a six-run sixth, breaking open a 1-0 game. The Wildcats’ No. 3 pitcher, Brandon Moore, improved to 9-0 for the season by allowing seven hits over 7 2/3 innings.
The Wildcats rocked ENMU ace Trevor Davis (11-5) in the second game, collecting 17 hits and 12 earned runs off him in four innings. The Hounds took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on RBI triples by Brett Scherer and Mark Wallace and a run-scoring single by Justin Gee, but the Wildcats responded with five in the bottom of the inning — capped by Johnny Zepeda’s two-run homer.
ENMU senior second baseman Bryan Moore, trying to break Dallas McMann’s two-year-old single-season school batting average record (.433), went 4-for-16 in the series and finished the year with a .413 average.