By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
PORTALES — Phil Clabaugh would like to think his Eastern New Mexico University baseball team can build on last weekend’s season-opening four-game sweep at Sul Ross State.
On the other hand, the Greyhounds open their home slate this weekend in a four-game set against Colorado School of Mines, and their history with the Orediggers hasn’t been very good.
ENMU has played Golden, Colo.-based Mines in a series at Greyhound Field six times since 1997, and the Orediggers are 14-8 in those games. That includes 2003, when they won three of four here before going on to an 0-28 record in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
“If they make three errors this weekend and don’t get 10 hits a game, I’ll be surprised,” Clabaugh joked. “They waltz in here and beat the crap out of us. They turn into the (New York) Yankees when they come in here.”
The teams meet in a 3 p.m. single game today, a noon doubleheader on Saturday and a 1 p.m. single contest on Sunday. All are nine-inning contests except for Saturday’s seven-inning nightcap.
Clabaugh was encouraged by the sweep at Sul Ross. The Hounds scored 53 runs in the series and blasted 12 home runs — one short of their 2005 total.
“These guys are going to be considerably better than Sul Ross,” Clabaugh said. “It’s our home opener, and we’ll probably have a few more jitters than they will.”
The Orediggers opened their season last week by going 1-2 at home against York (Neb.).
Senior right-hander Kelly Crain get the call in today’s game for Eastern, Clabaugh said, with right-hander Evan Corteau and lefty David Swinconos working on Saturday.
Clabaugh’s son, Seth, is slated to be Sunday’s starter.
Coach Clabaugh said starting shortstop Matt Hinojosa is nursing a hamstring injury and is probably doubtful for at least today and Saturday. Redshirt freshman Stephen Lopez-Barela is expected to start in his place.
Softball — The ENMU softball team, coming off a sweep at College of the Southwest on Wednesday in Hobbs, is scheduled to play six games in three days in a tournament hosted by West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas.
The Zias play Colorado State-Pueblo at 11 a.m. and Adams State at 1:30 p.m. today, Regis at 11 a.m. and Oklahoma Panhandle State at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Fort Hays State at 10 a.m. and New Mexico Highlands at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. All times are MST.
The Zias (4-3) opened the season last weekend in a six-team tournament at Angelo State, finishing fourth.
“It’s a start,” ENMU softball coach Armando Quiroz said of his team’s play to this point. “I think we probably could’ve had a couple more wins, but I’m happy with the effort and spirit and desire we’ve shown.”
Quiroz said he may do some tinkering with the lineup this weekend.
“We’re trying to get better every single game. I just hope that game 6 (this weekend) is better than game 1.”