Tarleton rallies for split with Hounds

PNT staff

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Since winning 16 of its first 20 games, it’s been either feast or famine for the Eastern New Mexico University baseball team.

After scoring just six runs in a Lone Star Conference South Division doubleheader loss to Tarleton State on Friday, the Greyhounds erupted for 22 hits in a 22-5 rout in Saturday’s first game. Then they couldn’t hang on to a 5-0 first-inning lead in the nightcap and lost 16-7, settling for a split.

Since their quick getaway, the Hounds (22-26, 4-8 South) have won only six of 27 games. In those victories, though, they’ve outscored the opposition 120-52 — an average margin of 20-9.

Third baseman Derrick Kennedy led the barrage in the opener, going 5-for-7 from the leadoff spot. The Hounds hammered four home runs — including three in a span of four batters to start the eighth, by Tim Crafton, Mike McDuffie and Seth Clabaugh.

Junior right-hander Evan Courteau (6-4) was the beneficiary and gave the Hounds eight strong innings, allowing six hits and walking just one. He retired the Texans (16-30, 5-7) in order in each of the first two innings, and suddenly found himself leading 12-0 when ENMU exploded for eight runs in the top of the fifth.

Kennedy started the inning with a double to left and later in the frame added a two-run single to left-center.

Catcher Brian Green put ENMU in front with a two-out homer to right-center in the first, and the Hounds added two in the third on an RBI single by Crafton and a Tarleton error.

Crafton’s three-run double highlighted ENMU’s first-inning explosion in the second game. Left-hander Jeremy Roberts (2-0) relieved starter Dallas Rayborn with no one out in the first and allowed four hits and two runs in that inning, but gave up just more four hits and two runs in going the rest of the way to pick up his second win in the series.

Trailing 5-1, the Texans took the lead with a five-run third capped by Tyler Maytum’s go-ahead, two-run double. After ENMU tied in on Gilbert Alvarado’s run-scoring single, Tarleton erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fourth against relievers Jeff Roemer (3-3) and Keith Balderaz.

The Texans added four more in the fifth in an RBI triple by Keith Peacock, a run-scoring wild pitch and Ryan Howard’s 12th homer of the year, a two-run shot.

ENMU’s final run came in the seventh when Alvarado led off with his second homer of the season.

Crafton had two hits in the second game and finished the day 5-for-11 with six RBIs — three in each game.