PORTALES — It was hard work, but Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team managed to salvage the finale of its four-game Lone Star Conference series against rival West Texas A&M on Sunday.
After getting routed 13-0 in the first game of the doubleheader, senior first baseman Rafael Romo delivered a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th inning for a 6-5 victory over the Buffaloes at Greyhound Field.
Senior third baseman Sam Hedrick led off the 11th with a triple to the right-center field alley off Buffs reliever Paul Lujan (1-2). After two intentional walks loaded the bases to set up a potential force play at home, Romo foiled the strategy by lofting fly ball deep enough to center to score Hedrick.
Junior right-hander Jackson Gaskins (1-0) worked two scoreless innings for the win. Center fielder Matthew Burks and second baseman Colton Sims each had two hits for the Hounds, who were outhit 11-10.
ENMU (12-8, 2-6 LSC) took one-run leads in the seventh and eighth, only to have the Buffs (16-4, 6-2) promptly tie it each time to force extra innings.
It was the longest game for the Hounds since they went 11 innings to win at Abilene Christian 11-10 last March.
In the seven-inning opener, WT’s Joshua Woyker threw a one-hitter and retired the final 11 and 19 of the last 20 ENMU hitters. Hedrick’s two-out single to center in the first was the Hounds’ only hit.
WT pounded four ENMU hurlers for 17 hits, with outfielder Nick Chapman going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and left fielder Tyler McKnight driving in three runs with a pair of hits. Chapman went 6-for-7 in the twin bill.
ENMU hosts Texas A&M-Kingsville in a four-game series next weekend, beginning with a 5 p.m. contest on Friday.