Freedom New Mexico
Senior right fielder Ethan Wagner, hitless for the day to that point, doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning Saturday and Eastern New Mexico University edged Central Oklahoma 8-7 to salvage a split of their Lone Star Conference baseball doubleheader at Greyhound Field.
The Bronchos won the opener 10-7. Both games were seven innings.
ENMU (20-21, 18-17) will try to take three of four in the series when the teams meet in today’s 1 p.m. finale, scheduled for nine innings.
With ENMU trailing 7-6, freshman center fielder Luis Quinones hit his second triple of the game to lead off the sixth, and scored the tying run on a single to right by Sean Cruce. After a sacrifice, Wagner — who had been 0-for-6 in the two games — doubled to center field on a 1-0 pitch.
Anthony Smith (4-2) got the final four outs in relief of starter Justin Cotten for the win.
Quinones, who went 3-for-4 in both games, belted a bases-loaded triple to left-center and scored on a groundout by Cruce to give the Hounds a 5-1 lead in the second. The Bronchos (12-23, 9-22) eventually tied it in the sixth on Luke Yost’s two-run double, and Brady White followed with an RBI single to center for a 7-6 lead.
White finished 3-for-4 for UCO, which outhit the Hounds 14-10.
In the opener, ENMU erased a 5-0 deficit in the first inning, but the Bronchos took a 7-5 lead in the fifth off Jerry Manning (6-1) on a run-scoring single by Jason Monko and an RBI fielder’s choice by Kade Kauk.
White hit a run-scoring single in the sixth to make it 8-5, and the Bronchos added two in the seventh off reliever Chris Martinez.
Cruse whacked his first homer, a two-run shot to right, in the bottom of the first to get the Hounds started back. Garrett Cook’s sacrifice fly in the second made it 5-3, and Jereme Johnson hit a two-run, bases-loaded single with two out in the bottom of the fourth to tie it.
Kale Murphree (2-5) labored through 127 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and got the win despite allowing 11 hits and six walks. Austin Baker retired ENMU’s Chris Eaton with the bases loaded to end the bottom of the sixth and went on to get his first save of the season.
Johnson and catcher Ryan Pruitt each had two hits for the Hounds. White went 3-for-4 for UCO and drove in a pair of runs.