CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Southeastern Oklahoma baserunner Blake Gentry slides into second with a stolen base as the throw gets between ENMU shortstop Alex Schultz and second baseman Daniel Patching in the fifth inning of Saturday’s opener at Greyhound Field.
Freedom New Mexico
After a long weekend in a tough season, Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team showed a bit of spunk Saturday at Greyhound Field.
Sophomore left-hander Tyler Vance worked a career-long 6 1/3 innings for the win and senior right-hander Anthony Smith earned the Greyhounds’ first save of the season as ENMU held off Southeastern Oklahoma 6-5 to salvage the finale of the three-game Lone Star Conference series.
In Saturday’s seven-inning opener, the Savage Storm (19-11, 15-6 LSC) scored multiple runs in all but one inning in cruising to a 19-3 win.
Vance, pressed into starting duty because ENMU coach Phil Clabaugh wanted to rest Smith this weekend due to a “tired arm,” pitched three perfect innings before giving up a three-spot in the fourth. He recovered, though, and left with a 4-3 lead after the Hounds (8-21, 5-16) took a 4-3 lead when right fielder Brandon Devries capped a four-run fifth with a two-run single off Southeastern left-hander Heath Wyatt (1-3).
The Hounds added single runs in the seventh and eighth, but the Savage Storm’s Justin Miller hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Joe Jones to make it 6-5. Smith, who had eight saves last season but has been mainly a starter in 2011, then allowed a single before getting Eric Walker on a flyout and inducing a 6-4-3 double-play grounder from cleanup hitter Zach Ragsdale.
Vance allowed four hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Devries led a seven-hit ENMU attack, going 3-for-4.
In the opener, the Savage Storm built a 5-1 lead through two innings. They failed to score in the third, but added three four-run innings the rest of the way to put the game completely out of reach.
Jimmy Johnson (6-2) worked five innings for the win. The top four players in Southeastern’s lineup combined to go 13-for-22 with Miller, who also homered in that game, and left fielder Blake Gentry each going 4-for-6.
Third baseman Chris Eaton went 3-for-3 for the Hounds and drove in all of their runs on a first-inning single and a two-run single in the seventh.