Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team will need either a series sweep of Angelo State this weekend or some help to reach next week’s Lone Star Conference baseball tournament.
ENMU (24-23, 13-19 LSC) currently stands fifth in the six-team league, but with a sweep of the fourth-place Rams (25-22, 14-18) could go as high as third place if league-leading Texas A&M-Kingsville can win at least two of three at third-place Tarleton State (24-21, 14-17).
If the Hounds win two of three, they would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rams, who won three of four March 28-30 at San Angelo, Texas, and not go higher than fourth. In that case, Kingsville would need to sweep Tarleton.
The three-game set begins with a 6 p.m. nine-inning game today and concludes with a 1 p.m. twin bill on Saturday — first game scheduled for seven innings, second for nine — at Greyhound Field.
Senior right-hander Ben Monticello (5-4, 4.44 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight’s clash for ENMU, with junior right-hander Matthew Artalejo (6-5, 3.89) and junior left-hander Rusty Edwards (4-3, 3.92) going on Saturday.
ENMU lost the first three games at Angelo in walkoff fashion before taking the Sunday finale 7-5 with two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. ASU leads the all-time series 28-12 and is 9-6 at Greyhound Field.
The Hounds, who started 10-2 and have been under .500 only once this spring (15-16 after the third game at Angelo), are looking to finish with a winning record for the third time in the 23-year history of the program, and first time since 2000. In the past 13 years, ENMU has posted a pair of .500 marks (2008 and 2009) and finished one game under .500 once (2005).
The Rams come in on a four-game losing streak after they were swept in three games last weekend at Kingsville.
Kingsville (33-14, 23-9) has a three-game lead over West Texas A&M (32-15, 20-12), and needs either one win over TSU or one WT loss at last-place Cameron this weekend to clinch the regular-season title and home field for next week’s tournament. The Buffaloes hold a 4-3 season-series edge over the Javelinas in the tie-breaker.