Hounds blow ninth-inning lead, drop twin bill

PNT staff

KINGSVILLE, Texas — Even a standout performance by Eastern New Mexico University freshman left-hander Seth Clabaugh couldn’t save the Greyhounds on Friday.

Clabaugh, who came in with an 0-5 record, was in line for his first collegiate win after throwing eight innings of three-hit ball in the opener of a Lone Star Conference South Division baseball doubleheader against Texas A&M-Kingsville. But the Javelinas, who were ranked in Division II for much of the year but came in with five consecutive losses and eight in their previous 10 games, erased a 4-1 deficit with four unearned runs against closer Keith Balderaz in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 victory.

Kingsville went on to take the nightcap 9-2, keeping its slim hopes of an LSC postseason tournament berth alive. The teams end the regular season with another twin bill at 11 a.m. (MDT) today.

Balderaz (3-2), a sophomore right-hander who hadn’t had a save opportunity since tying the school’s single-season record with his eighth on March 4, issued two walks to start the ninth before getting Andrew Sweet on a fly ball to left.

He then got Steve Yaden to hit a potential game-ending double play ball, but ENMU shortstop Matt Hinojosa’s throw to second sailed into right field to allow one run to score and set up a first-and-third situation.

Balderaz got Taylor Richards on a sacrifice fly to left for the second out, but issued another walk and gave up back-to-back infield singles to tie it. Javs freshman Will Alexander then punched an RBI single to right field for the victory.

Kingsville’s Chris White (9-2) labored through 165 pitches and 11 ENMU hits to gain a complete-game win. ENMU stranded 12 runners in the contest, leaving two on in five innings.

The Hounds took a 3-0 lead in the third when Justin Gee was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Mike McDuffie delivered a two-run single. Sweet’s one-out homer in the seventh broke up Clabaugh’s shutout bid, but the Hounds regained a three-run margin in the ninth on Derrick Kennedy’s leadoff single and McDuffie’s one-out RBI double to left-center.

The Hounds (23-31, 5-13 South) were never a part of the seven-inning second game. Kingsville (34-18, 8-10) jumped on senior left-hander David Swinconos (0-7) for three runs in the first, and Raul Trevino (3-5) blanked ENMU until giving up two unearned runs in the seventh.

Kennedy, who went 3-for-4 in the opener, added a pair of hits in the nightcap while Clabaugh had a single and a double in three trips as the second-game designated hitter. The Javs collected nine hits, including a solo home run by shortstop J.M. Devarie.