Hounds sweep St. Mary’s

Eastern New Mexico University shortstop and Clovis High graduate Josh Kuchta rolls one of three double plays turned by the Greyhounds in Saturday’s opener against St. Mary’s at Greyhound Field. Photo by Kevin Wilson

By Kevin Wilson

PORTALES — Brett Scherer had a week to remember, and his teammates pitched well enough Saturday to wrap it up on a solid note.

Scherer and the middle of the Greyhound order went 6-for-10 with seven RBIs, and Eastern New Mexico beat St. Mary’s 14-5 to cap off a doubleheader sweep at Greyhound Field.

Combined with the 7-5 win in the opener, ENMU (13-18) scored 22 runs on 20 hits in the non-conference twin bill. Still, Phil Clabaugh credited starting pitchers Ian Thurman-Kelly (3-1) and Jesse Garcia-Perez (3-3) for doing a lion’s share of the work.

“That was a team that was 29-5 when they came in here,” Greyhound coach Phil Clabaugh said. “It all starts and finishes with pitching. Ian threw pretty well, although he didn’t have his best fastball.”

Garcia-Perez probably allowed more runs that he would have liked, Clabaugh felt, but a 12-1 lead after four innings put the Greyhounds in a position where they gladly traded outs for runs.

The Greyhounds started off with four runs in the first, highlighted by an RBI triple Boyd Erickson. Erickson came a homer short of hitting for the cycle, adding an RBI double in the second and a single in the fourth.

Scherer went 1-for-4 with three RBIs, capping off a week that could put him in the running for the Lone Star Conference South Division’s hitter of the week. The junior catcher from Ingram, Texas, batted .571 (12-for-21) this week with eight RBIs and raised his season average by 70 points (.260 to .330).

What’s more important to Scherer, though, is the Greyhounds have won five of their last six heading into today’s 1 p.m. game against St. Mary’s.

“We’re on a little bit of a roll right now,” Scherer said. “We’ve just got to keep on keeping on.”

While the Hounds were keeping on, the Rattlers couldn’t seem to keep up on offense. The Greyhounds sealed the victory with a six-run fourth, including two-run singles from Scherer and Josh Kuchta.

Left fielder Jared Natho went 2-for-3 with an RBI in a losing effort for the Rattlers.

St. Mary’s coach Charlie Migl gave the Greyhound pitchers and hitters credit for the win, but realized that his team’s defense helped ENMU six times on the day with errors.

Case in point: Rattler starter Derek Nelson (4-2) lasted just 1 2/3 innings, but only two of his six runs were earned.

“I’ve always prided us on being a pretty good defensive team,” Migl said. “Earlier in the year, we were making errors but our hitting made up for it. Lately, we’ve had some trouble hitting the ball and now those errors are catching up with us.”

Sunday’s another day for the Rattlers, though, and they bring up the top of their pitching rotation with southpaw Jeff Wigdahl.

“We’ve seen him before,” Clabaugh said. “He’s got a really good curveball, a really good screwball and he throws pretty hard.”

First game
ENMU 7, St. Mary’s 5
Erickson broke a 5-all tie with a one-out single to score Bryan Moore, and Thurman-Kelly came one out away from a complete game victory.

Thurman-Kelly allowed five runs on eight hits before giving way to Trevor Davis. Davis recorded the save, getting center fielder Steve Driffill to fly out with a pair of runners on.

Erickson went 2-for-4, while Tyler Hayes had an RBI triple and a pair of walks for Eastern.

Shortstop Ryan Hill went 2-for-3 and hit his sixth homer of the year, a solo shot with two outs in the first, for the Rattlers.

First game
ENMU 7, St. Mary’s 5
St. Mary’s 102 002 0 — 5 8 3
ENMU 022 012 x — 7 7 1
Kehr Schulz, Jacob DeLoach (5), Otto Staudt (6) and Jerry Verastegui; Ian Thurman-Kelly, Trevor Davis (7) and Brett Scherer. W — Thurman-Kelly (3-1). L — DeLoach (3-1). Sv — Davis (1). DP — St. Mary’s 1, ENMU 3. LOB — St. Mary’s 5, ENMU 7. 3B — ENMU: Tyler Hayes. HR — St. Mary’s: Ryan Hill (6). T — 2:10. A — 85.

Second game
ENMU 14, St. Mary’s 5
St. Mary’s 100 031 0 — 5 8 3
ENMU 420 602 x —14 13 0
Derek Nelson, Staudt (2), Tommy Vrzal (4) and Versastegui, Manuel Reyes (6); Jesse Garcia-Perez, Davis (7) and Scherer. W — Garcia-Perez (3-3). L — Nelson (4-2). DP — St. Mary’s 1, ENMU 1. LOB — St. Mary’s 5, ENMU 6. 2B — ENMU: Bryan Moore, Boyd Erickson, Mark Wallace, Joey Aguilar. 3B — St. Mary’s: Ian Grigar. ENMU: Erickson. T — 2:40. A — 100.