Freedom New Mexico
MIDLAND, Texas — On Sunday, the Eastern New Mexico University baseball team needed a near-miracle to pull out a split in season-opening the UT-Permian Basin Classic.
Monday’s games? The Greyhounds would like to bottle the formula.
Four ENMU pitchers combined to throw two shutouts as the Greyhounds beat New Mexico Highlands 7-0 and Sul Ross 5-0.
It marked the first time the Hounds have posted back-to-back shutouts since 2001.
ENMU (3-1) opened the season in dramatic fashion on Sunday morning by scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth after the first two hitters were retired to edge Highlands 9-8. The Hounds then lost to host Permian Basin 15-3.
Junior right-hander Russell Campbell threw seven innings of six-hit ball Monday against Highlands, with Doug McIntyre mopping up with a pair of hitless frames. Then senior right-hander Matt Aragon allowed three hits over seven innings against Sul Ross, and senior Evan Orsak finished the five-hitter.
ENMU collected 12 hits in both games. The Hounds broke through for three runs in the second against Highlands, all scoring on Chris Young’s two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded and an outfield error on the play.
Right fielder Jeremy Johnson went 3-for-4 and scored three times, while Young was 3-for-5.
Against Sul Ross, Kevin Thompson and Young broke up a scoreless tie with run-scoring singles in the top of the fourth. ENMU then made it 5-0 in the fifth on an RBI double by catcher Paden Vendrely and a two-run single by right fielder Ethan Wagner.
The Hounds have home-and-home doubleheaders on tap this weekend, hosting the Pioneers at Greyhound Field in a 1 p.m. start on Friday and then playing at noon (MST) on Sunday in Plainview, Texas.
Sunday’s games — ENMU’s stunning rally came after two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases and Wagner banged a three-run double to pull the Hounds to 8-7. After Ryan Pruitt was hit by a pitch, Chris Eaton hit a game-tying RBI single to center before Kevin Thompson’s single chased Pruitt home with the game-winner.
Hounds senior Ismael Solis allowed 10 hits and four runs — three earned — over six innings. Orsak picked up the win despite giving up three hits and two runs — one earned — in the top of the ninth.
In the nightcap, Permian Basin took a 5-2 lead after one inning and then erupted for a 10-run third, chasing ENMU starter Tyler Doughty. The Falcons’ Drew Kendrick allowed four hits and three runs over five innings to pick up the win.