Hounds win tight series from Tarleton

Brian Green slides in for a triple as Tarleton State third baseman Chad Nixon is late on the tag in the first game of Saturday’s Lone Star Conference South Division doubleheader at Greyhound Field. Photo by Kevin Wilson

By Dave Wagner

PORTALES — If he didn’t already know it, Eastern New Mexico University’s Trevor Davis found out Saturday he can pitch effectively without his best stuff.

After earning a win and a save in relief on Friday, the senior right-hander helped ENMU to a Lone Star Conference South Division series victory with a complete-game 3-2 win over Tarleton State at Greyhound Field in the seven-inning finale. TSU won Saturday’s opener 4-3.

Davis (11-4), who earlier in the week set the single-season school record for wins, broke Geoff Irwin’s career mark (19 from 1994-96) with his 97-pitch effort in the finale.

Meantime, junior right fielder Justin Gee drove all three runs with a two-run double in the second and an RBI single in the fourth, both coming with two out off TSU left-hander Brandon Gowins (0-3).

“It took a while for me to realize I didn’t have my fastball,” said Davis, who earned a win as the Hounds took Friday’s opener 4-3, then got a save in their 4-2 second-game victory. “I just concentrated harder and tried not to overthrow.”

Both teams played well all weekend, and runs were hard to come by. ENMU (25-23, 9-7 South) saw its six-game, 55-inning errorless streak end in Friday’s second contest but turned six double plays in the series, while the Texans (22-30, 6-10) didn’t make any fielding miscues over the final three games.

“If you like baseball, that’s the way it’s supposed to be played,” TSU coach Trey Felan said. “I don’t know if they charged (admission), but if they didn’t they should have.”

The Texans spoiled a strong outing by Kelly Crain (6-7) in Saturday’s nine-inning opener. They got the deciding run in the eighth when ENMU second baseman Bryan Moore had an error off a hard grounder, allowing TSU’s Brandon McGuire to score from second.

Jose Collazo, one of three left-handed TSU starters in the series, pitched well until the seventh as he issued bases-loaded walks to Derrick Kennedy and Mark Wallace to tie the score. Tim Wallis (2-2) got out of it by retiring Ryan French on a fly ball to center and earned the win with 2 1/3 innings of one-hit work.

French, who reached baseas six times in seven at-bats Saturday, walked ahead of Gee’s hits in the second game. Gee’s double to left-center scored Wallace and French for a 2-1 lead, and his RBI single sent French home from second to make it 3-1.

“Like coach (Phil) Clabaugh said, those guys play just like us,” said Gee, who went 6-for-14 in the series and collected seven outfield putouts in Friday’s second game. “(Gowins) kept throwing me pitches down the middle today, and I thought, ‘OK.’ I felt pretty good today, and I’m just glad we won.”

TSU first baseman Mark Broussard hit his 12th homer, a towering shot just inside the left field foul pole leading off the sixth, but Davis managed to work around three singles and an error the rest of the way.

“We played good,” Clabaugh said. “We didn’t swing it (hit well), but that might’ve had something to do with their pitching and the left-handers they threw.

“Gee had a great game today, and he played a great right field yesterday.”

ENMU needs two wins in five games this week — a single game Tuesday at New Mexico Highlands and doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday at South-leading Abilene Christian — to clinch its first winning season since 2000 and the fourth since Clabaugh resurrected the program in 1992.

Due to conflicts with finals at several schools, the LSC will not have a postseason baseball tournament this season.

ENMU 4-4, TSU 3-2 (Friday) — Moore’s two-out, ninth-inning single to center scored Gee from second with the game-winner in the opener. He then drove in three runs in Game 2 with a single and a fifth-inning leadoff homer.

Moore was held to one hit in each game on Saturday, but extended his hitting streak to a school-record 20 games. He went 6-for-16 for the weekend and, at .430, is three points off the school single-season batting average mark set in 2003 by Dallas McMann.

ENMU senior right-hander Brett Scherer pitched seven strong innings in the opener, while junior left-hander David Swinconos (4-3) blanked TSU until the sixth in the nightcap.

Friday
First game
ENMU 4, Tarleton State 3
Tarleton State 000 300 000 — 3 9 3
ENMU 021 000 001 — 4 10 0
Dustin Holland and Roland Robles; Brett Scherer, Kellen Smith (8), Trevor Davis (9) and Brian Green. W — Davis (10-4). L — Holland (5-5). DP — Tarleton State 1, Eastern New Mexico 2. LOB — Tarleton State 7, Eastern New Mexico 7. 2B — Tarleton State: John Broussard, Paul Muse. Eastern New Mexico: Bryan Moore. 3B — Tarleton State: Muse. Eastern New Mexico: Scherer. T — 2:20. A — 80.

Second game
ENMU 4, Tarleton State 2
Tarleton State 000 002 0 — 2 9 0
ENMU 120 010 x — 4 8 3
Aaron Craver and Robles; David Swinconos, Davis (6) and Tyler Brown, Green (7). W — Swinconos (4-3). L — Craver (4-3). Sv — Davis (4). DP — Eastern New Mexico 1. LOB — Tarleton State 8, Eastern New Mexico 5. 2B — Tarleton State: Chad Nixon. HR — Eastern New Mexico: Bryan Moore (2). T — 1:38. A — 80.

Saturday
First game
Tarleton State 4, ENMU 3
Tarleton State 000 010 210 — 4 11 0
ENMU 000 100 200 — 3 8 1
Jose Callazo, Tim Wallis (7) and Robles; Kelly Crain, Smith (9) and Green. W — Wallis (2-2). L — Crain (6-7). DP — Tarleton State 1, Eastern New Mexico 1. LOB — Tarleton State 10, Eastern New Mexico 9. 2B — Tarleton State: Jonathan Miller, Robles, Heath Owens. 3B — Tarleton State: Brandon McGuire. Eastern New Mexico: Green. T — 2:12. A — 180.

Second game
ENMU 3, Tarleton State 2
Tarleton State 010 001 0 — 2 10 0
ENMU 020 100 x — 3 6 1
Brandon Gowins and Robles; Davis and Green. W — Davis (11-4). L — Gowins (0-3). DP — Eastern New Mexico 2. LOB — Tarleton State 7, Eastern New Mexico 5. 2B — Tarleton State: McGuire, Gabe Ramirez. Eastern New Mexico: Justin Gee. HR — Tarleton State: Broussard (12). T — 1:40. A — 200.