Freedom New Mexico
It’s been a tough season for Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team, but at least the Greyhounds were able to go out in style on Saturday.
Junior right-hander Ryan Pruitt pitched into the seventh inning and the Greyhounds rode sophomore center fielder Luis Quinones in a five-run first to a 6-3 Lone Star Conference South Division win over Northeastern State at Greyhound Field to complete a three-game series sweep of the RiverHawks.
The Greyhounds won Saturday’s opener 9-8, erasing 4-0 and 8-4 deficits and finally winning on Kevin Thompson’s bases-loaded RBI single with no one out in the bottom of the ninth.
The first game was scheduled for seven innings, so when it went to extras by conference rules the finale became a seven-inning game.
The wins were the 550th and 551st for coach Phil Clabaugh in 24 years of coaching at Western New Mexico and ENMU. He is 551-714-3 overall, including 455-579-2 in 20 seasons at ENMU.
Trailing 8-5 in the opener, the Hounds (16-28, 11-22 LSC) scratched out three seventh-inning runs off relievers Brandon Compton and Roldan Ochoa (0-5) to tie it. In the ninth, they loaded the bases on an infield hit by Quinones, a walk to Chris Eaton and an error by Ochoa on Brandon Devries’ sacrifice bunt before Thompson singled to center on a 1-2 pitch.
Marcus Terry, Brandon Espinal and Mike Stone hit run-scoring singles in NSU’s four-run first. The RiverHawks (6-33, 4-28) opened a 7-3 lead in the third with three unearned runs off left-hander Tyler Vance, all coming after the first two hitters were retired.
Senior right-hander Anthony Smith relieved with a run in, two on and no one out and ENMU trailing 8-4 in the sixth and escaped further Damage. Catcher Joe Huwer added an RBI single in the bottom half to pull ENMU to 8-5.
Smith struck out six, walked one and allowed just one hit over the final four innings to get the win.
First baseman Mitch Wolfe hit his seventh home run for ENMU leading off the third.
Quinones put ENMU in front 4-1 with his triple to left-center in the first inning of the second game, then came home on Daniel Patching’s fielder’s choice grounder. Northeastern pulled to 5-3 in the third on RBI singles by Skelly and Marcus Terry, but Chris Eaton’s RBI double in the bottom half made it 6-3.
Pruitt (3-3) was touched for 10 hits, but kept them spaced. He walked just one and struck out six before giving way to junior right-hander Andrew Martin, who got the final two outs in the seventh for his first save.