ACU sweeps twin bill, takes series from Hounds

CNJ staff

ABILENE, Texas — Left fielder J.R. Roland hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth and Abilene Christian completed a Lone Star Conference baseball doubleheader sweep of Eastern New Mexico University on Saturday with an 8-4 win.

The Wildcats pulled away in the seven-inning opener, breaking a 1-1 tie with a three-run fifth en route to a 5-2 victory. ACU won the series after the Greyhounds (9-24, 6-18 LSC) took Friday’s series opener 10-5.

ENMU worked its way back from a 4-0 deficit in Saturday’s finale, scoring single runs in the fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings to pull even. The Hounds left the go-ahead run at third, though, when reliever Zach Sneed (5-3) struck out Daniel Patching and got Luis Quinones on a fly ball to end the eighth.

Andrew Martin, who pitched four shutout innings in relief until the eighth, gave up a leadoff single to Sky Valenzuela before getting designated hitter Will Calhoun to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. That, however, was followed by a walk to Cameron Watton and a double by Abe Williams before Roland singled up the middle to give the Wildcats (21-15, 14-10) a 6-4 lead.

Another run scored on a wild pitch, and Cameron Bankston followed with an RBI single.

Williams finished 4-for-4 with two doubles and a two-run single in the third for Abilene Christian. Blake Thomsen led ENMU’s nine-hit attack, going 2-for-3.

In the opener, Sneed earned his third save of the season, working the final two innings in relief of starter Brent Bray (4-1).

Trailing 1-0, the Hounds tied it on third baseman Joe Jones’ two-run triple down the right field line in the fourth to score Patching from first base.

ENMU had the lead run at third in the fifth after a double by catcher Brandt Guyer and a sacrifice by Quinones. Bray escaped by getting Alex Schultz on a groundout and Joe Huwer on a fly ball.

Catcher Ian Tomkins started ACU’s fifth against Tyler Vance (1-2) with a single to left, then took second on a sacrifice. With two out, Tomkins took third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by leadoff man Duncan Blades, who started the bottom of the first with a home run off Vance.

Valenzuela followed with a two-run homer to left, his third of the season, to make it 4-1.

ENMU scored an unearned run off Sneed in the sixth, but the Wildcats got it right back on Tomkins’ RBI single to center.