Hounds’ bats key sweep

Eastern New Mexico University’s Justin Gee accepts congratulations from teammates after scoring during a 10-run fourth against West Texas A&M on Friday. (Freedom Newspapers: Jesse Wolfersberger)

Freedom Newspapers

Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team may have been struggling recently, but the Greyhounds certainly broke out on Friday night.

Sophomore third baseman Derrick Kennedy led a 29-hit barrage in the opener with six consecutive hits, including a triple and a two-run homer, and ENMU had four innings of five or more runs in a record-setting 33-14 Lone Star Conference South Division rout of West Texas A&M at Greyhound Field.

ENMU then completed the sweep with four runs in the bottom of the sixth in the nightcap, highlighted by Gilbert Alvarado’s tiebreaking two-run single to right with two out and the bases loaded, for an 11-8 victory. The teams wrap up the series with another doubleheader today, beginning at 3 p.m.

ENMU (21-20, 3-3 South), which entered the day with 16 losses in its previous 19 games, set a school record for runs in a game and tied the school mark for hits. Kennedy’s effort broke the previous school single-game record of five hits by a player, accomplished six times.

The Hounds left the bases loaded in the first, but tied the game 2-2 on Kennedy’s second homer of the season in the second, a shot to right-center with two out after WT starter Ruben Bautista (3-4) plunked shortstop Matt Hinojosa with a pitch.

The Buffaloes (18-20, 3-3) regained a 5-2 lead on designated hitter Brady Ribinskas’ three-run homer off Kelly Crain (5-4) in the third. From that point, though, it was almost all Eastern.

Jeff Roemer’s two-out, bases-loaded triple to right-center tied the game in the bottom of the inning, then Hinojosa gave the Hounds the lead for good with a run-scoring single and rode home on Kennedy’s triple.

Leading 7-6, ENMU chased Bautista (3-4) and sent 15 batters to the plate in a 10-run fourth that included a pair of two-run singles by senior catcher Brian Green and another two-run single by Hinojosa. The Hounds piled on with six runs in the seventh and eight more in the eighth.

All told, 14 Hounds had at least one hit. Green finished 3-for-6 with five RBIs, while Roemer was 2-for-5 and drove in six.

Right fielder A.J. Knight led WT, going 4-for-5 and driving in four runs. Catcher Tyler Glynn finished 3-for-4 and also had four RBIs.

Crain was lifted after 6 1/3 innings and 120 pitches. All five runs against relievers Evan Orsak and Casey Bigham were unearned as ENMU easily survived five errors.

Mike McDuffie went 3-for-4 with a double, triple and homer in the second game for ENMU. With the Hounds trailing 8-7, he led off the sixth with a triple and scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

A single and two walks loaded the bases with two out, and Alvarez punched an 0-1 pitch the opposite way to plate Casey Bigham and Green. Tim Crafton then hit a bloop single to left to drive in Kennedy from second.

Justin Gee also went 3-for-4 for ENMU, which outhit the Buffs 14-11. Closer Keith Balderaz (3-0) worked the final 1 1/3 innings to pick up the win.