RIO RANCHO — Sometimes, numbers don’t add up.
Like three being greater than six.
Or one is better than five.
But they added up to a 7-0 Portales lead over Las Vegas Robertson through 4 1/2 innings in the Class 3A state quarterfinals at Rio Rancho High School on Thursday. Ultimately, the third-seeded Rams grabbed an 8-4 win and a spot in today’s semifinals, where they face the Cinderella of the bracket, No. 7 Sandia Prep, at noon for the right to play for the state title.
The Sundevils beat No. 2 Hope Christian 4-1 in an afternoon quarterfinal.
While Portales (23-6) managed just three hits off Cardinals starter Antonio Arguello, it exacted an ounce of pain out of Robertson with four walks, a hit batsman and five Robertson errors. By contrast, Portales had only one error.
The first two errors led to single runs in the second and fourth innings for a 2-0 lead. The fifth produced five runs on two hits, two errors and three consecutive walks by Arguello.
Arguello added to his problems with a throwing error on a pickoff attempt of Portales’ Zach Blaeser at second base. His throw bounced to second baseman Salazar, who deflected the ball to left field as Blaeser scored for 3-0 advantage.
After a flyout, Arguello issued his free passes to force in a run. Then Cardinals shortstop Ryan Tafoya couldn’t glove an A.J. Marquez liner, allowing two more runs in and make it 6-0.
“That’s just part of the game,” pitcher Jesus Acosta said. “Someone is going to make a bad throw eventually.”
Acosta was the surprise starter, as Portales coach Arturo Ontiveros elected to hold off on ace David Rodriguez. The move worked, as Acosta threw four shutout innings before starting the fifth by issuing a walk and a two-run home run to Ryan Tafoya for a 7-2 margin.
Acosta didn’t try to talk his way out of leaving after that when Ontiveros pulled him for Daniel Zapata.
“I did give up that two-run home run, so that helped with the coaches’ decision,” Acosta said.
It wasn’t a smooth start, as Robertson (18-10) managed six of its nine hits off of Acosta, and drew three walks and a hit batsman. The Cardinals also loaded the bases with one out in the second and fourth innings, but Acosta wriggled out of both jams.