Hounds win series opener from ACU

CNJ staff

ABILENE, Texas — Second baseman Daniel Patching led a 12-hit attack with three hits and senior right-hander Anthony Smith earned a four-inning save Friday night as Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team defeated Abilene Christian 10-5 in the opener of a three-game Lone Star Conference series.

Alex Schultz, Joe Huwer and Mitch Wolfe each added two hits for ENMU (9-22, 6-16 LSC). Junior left-hander Marcus Drake (2-0) pitched into the sixth inning, but left leading 6-4 with a run in and a runner at second with no one out.

Smith gave up a two-out RBI single to Reed Watson, but allowed only two hits over the final three innings, striking out five and walking one for his second save of the season.

The Hounds took advantage of five errors by ACU (19-15, 12-10) to score five unearned runs. Wildcats starter Will Calhoun went five innings, but reliever Sky Valenzuela (0-1) walked four and allowed two hits in two-thirds of an inning to take the loss.

With the score 3-3, the Hounds took the lead for good in the sixth after two were out. Patching and Luis Quinones walked, and Schultz hit a run-scoring single to left, with the runners advancing on an error.

Huwer followed with a two-run single to center to make it 6-3.

The Hounds regained a three-run advantage in the seventh, again with two out and no one on. Blake Thomsen walked and Patching singled to center, and both runners came around to score when the Wildcats committed two errors on Quinones’ grounder to second.

Quinones, who had a sacrifice fly in the first, drove in two insurance runs in the ninth with a bases-loaded single to left off Travis Schuetze.

ACU also had 12 hits in the game, including three each for Bryce Gerhardt and Calhoun.

The teams are scheduled to play a noon (MDT) doubleheader today.