Hounds notch split against No. 6 Buffs

Staff report

CANYON, Texas — Junior center fielder Matthew Burks wasted no time getting the Eastern New Mexico University baseball team off on the right foot on Saturday.

Burks slammed the first pitch of the game from West Texas A&M right-hander Joshua Weyker over the right-center field fence to give the Greyhounds a lead they would never relinquish in a 7-5 victory over the sixth-ranked Buffaloes.

The Hounds (20-19, 10-16 LSC) were in position to sweep the twin bill and win the three-game series, but WT (30-10, 18-8) broke a 5-5 tie with a five-run eighth and held on for a 10-8 win in the nightcap.

ENMU built a 7-1 lead in the seven-inning opener on designated hitter Blake Cooper’s two-run, fourth-inning homer, his eighth of the season.

The Hounds then weathered a three-run WT sixth. After starter Matthew Artalejo (6-3) hit Nick Chapman to open the bottom of the seventh, senior right-hander Kyle Kesmarki needed just two pitches to earn his first save of the season — a double-play grounder by first baseman Aaron Blair and a fly ball to center by DH Brock Schlekeway.

Third baseman Sam Hedrick went 3-for-3 while shortstop Brett Ackerman and second baseman Colton Sims each finished 2-for-4 for the Hounds. Three of the five runs off Artalajo, who allowed eight hits, were unearned.

In Game 2, the Hounds jumped in front for the third game in a row, scoring twice in the top of the second, and took a 5-3 lead in the sixth on an RBI single by Rawley Gomez and Burks’ two-run homer to left-center, his third home run of the series and seventh of the season. But Weyker, the DH in the second game, tied it with a two-run homer in the bottom half and the Buffs pounded relievers Jorge Quezada (0-1) and Dylan Montano for five runs on seven hits in the bottom of the eighth.

ENMU made it interesting in the ninth, though, loading the bases against reliever Paul Lujan (2-2) on a single, a hit batsman and an error. One run scored on Hedrick’s groundout, another on Cooper’s sacrifice fly and a third on Sims’ RBI single before Lujan, who worked three innings, got Ryan Forkel on strikes to end it.

Sims finished 3-for-5 while first baseman Rafael Romo and Gomez both went 2-for-3 for ENMU.

Weyker hit the first two homers of his WT career, while Blair and second baseman Beto Rodriguez also homered in the game for the Buffs.

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