By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
The Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds kept their postseason hopes alive, winning the first two games of a four game weekend series against Tarleton State at Greyhound Field Saturday 16-12 and 8-5.
But the Hounds had to come from behind in the second game, spotting the visiting Texans a 5-0 lead through four innings. The home team scored two runs in the fifth inning before exploding for six runs in the sixth, highlighted by a three-run scoring triple by senior catcher Gerald Juarez.
After allowing five runs on nine hits through the first three and one-thirds innings, Troy Vaughan and Keith Balderas held the Texans to one hit the rest of the game.
The Hounds opened the first game with a 6-0 lead through three innings, energized by a five-run first inning as Tyler Hayes, Derrick Kennedy and Mike McDuffie all brought in runs in the Greyhounds opening inning of the series.
The Greyhound defense committed three errors and handed the lead back to the visitors as the Texans scored seven runs in the top half of the fourth — six of which were unearned.
ENMU scored seven of the next nine runs to lead 13-9, but the Texans fought back again in the top of the eighth. After allowing two walks and a single, ENMU sophomore right-hander Tyler Doughty gave up a three-run shot to left field to Tarleton State’s Charles Desmariaso to bring the Texans to within one run, 13-12.
“We were up by four,” Clabaugh said. “Those are tough things to do, but (Doughty) didn’t walk enough guys for them to tie the game. So even though he didn’t throw real well, I was happy that we came out of that inning with the lead.”
But ENMU sophomore Clayton Young allowed breathing room in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-run scoring triple, and the Hounds won 16-12.
“If we don’t win this series, we’re out of (the playoff hunt),” Clabaugh said.
Tarleton State head coach Trey Felan was upset about the Texans’ pitching.
“We scored 12 runs and we can’t win the ball game,” Felan said. “We scored 12 runs and didn’t have the lead 90 percent of the ball game.”
ENMU (19-24, 4-4) and Tarleton (21-24, 3-7) are both still alive in the Lone Star Conference playoff race. The Greyhounds are two games back of division leader Abilene Christian (6-2) and one game behind Angelo State and Texas A&M-Kingsville (5-3).
The two squads square off again today, starting at 1 p.m.