Hounds rally, split twin bill

CNJ staff

EDMOND, Okla. — Ethan Wagner singled home the go-ahead run with two outs in the top of the ninth and Eastern New Mexico University edged Central Oklahoma 4-3 on Saturday, earning a split of their Lone Conference baseball doubleheader.

The Bronchos took the seven-inning opener 8-4 behind five RBIs from left fielder Ryan Schoonover, four on a tie-breaking, fourth-inning grand slam.

The split keeps ENMU (24-23, 19-19 LSC) in fifth place in the conference — one game ahead of the Bronchos (23-25, 18-20), with Southeastern Oklahoma and Tarleton State sandwiched in between. Two of the four teams are likely to advance to the six-team LSC postseason tournament in early May.

The Hounds close out their series here with a noon (MDT) twin bill today, then host rival West Texas A&M in a four-game set next weekend to finish the regular season.

Starter Ismael Solis gave the Hounds seven solid innings in the nightcap before senior right-hander Tyler Doughty (2-1) picked up the win with two perfect innings out of the bullpen.

Trailing 2-0, the Hounds pulled even on an RBI single by Jereme Johnson in the third and a run-scoring double by Kevin Thompson in the fifth. The Bronchos regained the lead in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Andrew Foshee, but the Hounds tied it again in the seventh on a single by Kevin Thompson, a walk to Freddy Carmona and a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single by Paden Vendrely.

In the ninth, Thompson led off with a single to center, took second on a sacrifice and came around on Wagner’s opposite-field hit to right.

Thompson led the Hounds’ 11-hit attack, going 3-for-5, while Clayton Young was 2-for-3.

In the opener, Johnson broke a scoreless tie with a third-inning RBI single to center, but the Bronchos countered in the bottom half on Luke Yost’s run-scoring double.

In the fourth, the Bronchos used a walk and two hit batsmen to load the bases before Schoonover hit his third homer of the season, a drive to left-center, to give UCO a 5-1 lead.

Johnson’s sacrifice fly in the fifth made it 5-2, and the Hounds closed to within a run in the sixth on Chris Eaton’s sac fly and Young’s RBI single. Schoonover drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the Bronchos’ three-run sixth, with other runs scoring on an error and on Yost’s single to center.

Brent Miller (4-0) worked four innings in relief for the win, while starter Seth Clabaugh (1-4) took the loss for ENMU. Johnson and Young each had two of the Hounds’ five hits.