TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Eastern New Mexico University baseball team put itself squarely behind the 8-ball in the race for a Lone Star Conference tournament berth.
Northeastern State completed a devastating four-game sweep of the Hounds on Saturday, routing ENMU 11-0 and 12-1 behind three-hit pitching performances by Jason Travis (1-1) and Josh Walker (4-4). ENMU (21-26, 19-21 LSC) did not manage an extra base hit all day and fell to seventh place in the LSC, behind Texas A&M-Kingsville (21-17) and Tarleton State (18-18).
The top six teams qualify for the tournament, scheduled for May 1-4 at the home of the regular-season champion. Because of weather problems, many of the LSC teams are hoping to finish their weekend series today.
ENMU closes its season with four games next weekend at rival West Texas A&M, likely needing to win three of them to give itself a chance.
Northeastern State (21-27, 18-22) whacked six home runs in the doubleheader, including four in the opener. Chris Gallegos belted his 12th homer in the opener, a three-run shot to make it 5-0 in the fourth, while David Zavala hit his first two homers of the season and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
The RiverHawks led just 1-0 after three innings on Zavala’s leadoff homer in the second, but scored 10 runs on eight hits over the next three innings.
In the second game, two ENMU errors led to six unearned runs against starter Tyler Vance (2-5). The RiverHawks took a 3-0 lead in the second on an error by second baseman Garrett Cook and a two-out, two-run double to right-center by designated hitter Noah Ringenberger.
ENMU got its only run in the fourth when Cook reached second on a throwing error by catcher Chris Sprick and scored on Ethan Wagner’s single to center, but Northeastern got a one-out homer from Eric McKinney, a two-run double by Zavala and a two-out, two-run homer by Cale Replogle to open a 9-1 lead.
Northeastern had 25 hits in the twin bill, including 10 for extra bases.