Junior catcher Chad Highberger made a big splash in his Eastern New Mexico University baseball debut on Friday at Greyhound Field.
Highberger, a junior college transfer from Concord, Calif., homered and drove in four runs while senior right-hander Ben Monticello pitched seven strong innings to lead the Greyhounds to a season-opening 7-2 victory over Adams State.
Highberger delivered an RBI double in the second and a three-run homer just inside the left field foul pole in the third, staking the Hounds to a 7-1 lead. Meantime, Monticello needed just 76 pitches in his stint, allowing eight hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
Designated hitter Drew Wells hit a two-out home run in the first for the Grizzlies (1-3), who dropped two of three in their season-opening series at Lubbock Christian. Adams State added a run in the fifth on three consecutive two-out singles off Monticello, with Wells’ knock through the middle plating left fielder Drew Wold.
The Hounds promptly tied the score in the bottom of the first on a leadoff home run by center fielder Matthew Burks off Tanner Wiemers (0-1), who gave up seven runs — six earned — on six hits through four innings. ENMU took the lead in a three-run second that included Highberger’s RBI double and run-scoring singles by Brett Ackerman and Colton Sims.
Senior left-hander Aaron Anderson finished up for Monticello, throwing two hitless innings and working around three walks. He struck out four.
Burks and Ryan Forkel also had two of ENMU’s 10 hits. The Hounds stole six bases, two by Burks, in seven attempts.
The teams have a 1 p.m. doubleheader on tap today before wrapping up the four-game series with a 1 p.m. single game on Sunday.