Freedom Newspapers: Kevin Wilson
Justin Gee slides and prepares to place his hand on home plate as the relay throw gets past catcher Tanner Dewald in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader at Greyhound Field in Portales.
By Dave Wagner
PORTALES — A second-game loss put only a slight tinge on Eastern New Mexico University baseball coach Phil Clabaugh’s accomplishment.
The Greyhounds gave Clabaugh his 400th win in 18 seasons as a college coach on Sunday with a 7-3 win over Southwestern Oklahoma at Greyhound Field. Then the Bulldogs avoided a four-game series sweep by ekeing out a 6-5 victory in eight innings in the nightcap.
Senior right-hander Trevor Davis gave up three runs in the first inning of the opener, then held Southwestern hitless until permitting three singles in the seventh. But he escaped with no damage when the Bulldogs’ Lincoln Hatfield bounced into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
“I’m really pleased to win the series,” Clabaugh said. “The kids played hard and played well. We’ve got to take this and build on it.
“If you’re going to win in this league, you’re going to earn it. Everybody’s got some guys who can beat you.”
The Hounds (11-13) led 1-0 in the second game and were in position to earn their first four-game sweep since April 1999 against Cameron when Southwestern (9-15) erupted for a four-run fifth against senior right-hander Brett Scherer.
ENMU rallied back with four of its own in the bottom half, capped by senior first baseman Mark Wallace’s two-run homer to left field. But Southwestern’s Levi Garrett tied it with a two-out solo shot to left off freshman Kellen Smith in the top of the sixth, and the Bulldogs strung together three one-out singles for a run off Josh Kuchta (0-1) in the eighth
“We had a chance (to sweep); if we get another hit (in a key situation), we win all four,” Clabaugh said. “But winning the series is big. We pitched awfully well all weekend.”
Davis (5-3) gave ENMU a strong outing in the opener. He walked two and struck out six, throwing 83 pitches.
“I made one bad pitch that I left up and they made me pay for it,” he said of a two-out, two-run double by Southwestern’s Garion Davenport in the first. “My fastball felt pretty good today, but my slider took a little while to get going.
“I just had to get a groove.”
Bulldogs right-hander Landon Scales (2-3) retired the first seven hitters before giving up a run in the third on a single by Justin Gee, an infield out and Bryan Moore’s RBI single.
Then Southwestern’s defense fell apart, committing four errors over the next two innings as the Hounds took control.
“That’s been typical of our season,” Southwestern coach Charles Teasley said. “We made so many errors behind (Scales).”
Third baseman Bill Burcham booted Mike McDuffie’s two-out grounder in the fourth, allowing the tying runs to score. Then Gee, who finished 3-for-3, sent McDuffie home with a ringing double to the left-center field gap.
“I thought in the first game we made some good adjustments (to Scales),” Clabaugh said. “Part of the reason their defense hurt them was because our kids played pretty hard and maybe forced them to hurry some plays.”
ENMU added three runs on four hits in the fifth, with two runs scoring on Bulldogs throwing errors.
Southwestern managed to pull out the second game when Mark Cole’s single scored Wes Bamburg in the eighth. Dustin Cornelius (2-2) tossed three hitless innings in relief of starter Dustin Anderson.
“We feel real fortunate,” Teasley said. “They (Hounds) have an excellent ballclub; they’re disciplined and they make you earn what you get.
“Maybe this last game is something for us to build on, because we’ve really been struggling.”