Hounds rally to salvage split with Southeastern

CNJ staff

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team avoided suffering its first doubleheader loss of the season on Friday, but the Greyhounds certainly had to work hard to do it.

Southeastern Oklahoma’s Adam Bennett blanked the Hounds 3-0 in the opener of their Lone Star Conference crossover twin bill at Greyhound Field before ENMU survived 10 innings and a 45-minute delay for a light failure to pull out a 10-9 win in the nightcap on pinch-hitter Tim Crafton’s run-scoring single.

The split leaves the Hounds at 14-4 this season, while the Savage Storm stands 3-4. The teams complete their four-game series with another doubleheader at noon today.

Southeastern had just gone ahead 6-5 on a two-out RBI single by Jeremy Barber in the top of the sixth when two banks of lights went out. All the lights at the field were eventually turned off in what proved to be a successful effort to bring them back.

When play resumed, Aaron Upshaw hit a two-run double for the Savage Storm. ENMU then took the lead with a four-run rally in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by second baseman Mike McDuffie’s go-ahead two-run single, but McDuffie made two errors in the seventh to allow Southeastern to tie the game.

The Hounds stranded five runners over the next three innings before breaking through in the 10th. Justin Gee led off with a walk and took second on McDuffie’s sacrifice before Crafton, hitting for first baseman Casey Bigham, singled through the middle off reliever Jordan Semore (1-1) to drive in Gee.

Sophomore Keith Balderaz lost a chance for his eighth save of the season with the unearned run in the seventh, but got the Hounds through the ninth. Junior Jeff Roemer (3-0) earned the win after working a perfect 10th.

Southeastern outhit ENMU 14-13, led by a 5-for-5 performance from first baseman Mason Parham and a 4-for-6 showing by Barber. Designated hitter Kelton Hayes had three hits and two RBIs and McDuffie finished 2-for-3 and drove in three runs for the Hounds.

The first game was a pitchers’ duel that went to Bennett (2-1) after the Savage Storm broke through for three runs in the fifth after the first two hitters were retired. Chase Langley drove in the first run with a bloop double and Colby Oller followed with a two-run single.

Bennett spun a four-hitter for Southeastern, walking four and striking out nine.

Senior right-hander Kelly Crain (3-1) allowed nine hits in a route-going effort. He walked one and struck out seven.