PORTALES — The Eastern New Mexico University baseball team walked a tightrope on Tuesday, and eventually it paid off in a win.
New Mexico Highlands stranded 14 baserunners through eight innings, leaving the sacks full in the first and eighth and two on three other times, and the Greyhounds broke through for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to hand the Cowboys a 6-3 loss at Greyhound Field.
ENMU (9-7) is 2-3 this season against Highlands, which has dropped two in a row after a 13-1 start.
Trailing most of the day, the Hounds pulled even at 3-3 in the seventh when junior right fielder Derek Crenshaw singled, stole second, continued to third on a throwing error and scored on an RBI groundout by senior shortstop Alex Schultz.
They took the lead in the eighth on a one-out, bases-loaded RBI groundout by junior third baseman Daniel Binz before Crenshaw lined a two-run triple to right. NMHU right fielder A.J. Alexander missed an attempted diving catch on the play, but recovered in time for the Cowboys to throw out Crenshaw at the plate and prevent an inside-the-park homer.
Crenshaw finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, also capping a two-run fourth with a game-tying sacrifice fly.
Sophomore left-hander Aaron Anderson and senior right-hander Joe Jones (1-1) combined for 6 2/3 innings in relief of starter Brett Humphries, who didn’t make it out of the second. Jones took over at the start of the sixth and allowed two hits in 3 1/3 shutout innings before sophomore Chris Bataska got the final two outs for his second save of the season.
After the Cowboys struck for two runs in the top of the second, ENMU pulled even in the fourth on a bunt single by Brooke Brooks, a single to left by Joe Huwer, Mitch Wolfe’s run-scoring double and Crenshaw’s sac fly off Highlands starter David Saiz.
NMHU regained the lead in the fifth when catcher Robbie Ingram singled home Eric Maupin, who led off with a double.
Both teams had 11 hits. Junior leadoff man Luis Quinones went 3-for-4 for the Hounds, while Wolfe also had a pair of hits.
ENMU opens Lone Star Conference play in a four-game weekend series at Greyhound Field against Tarleton State, beginning with a 3 p.m. single game on Friday.