By Kevin Wilson
The Portales Ram baseball team started hitting, and only the 10-run rule stopped them.
The Rams improved to 3-0 on the season, behind a 12-0, 19-4 doubleheader win against Las Vegas Robertson Saturday at Ram Field.
Six players hit homers for Portales Saturday, and the Rams have scored 47 runs in their first three contests — all won by the mercy rule after five innings.
“Whatever they threw up there, we seemed to hit pretty well,” Portales coach Greg Hill said.
The offense was much more productive than it needed to be, especially in Saturday’s opener. Senior left-hander Seth Clabaugh went all five innings, with 13 strikeouts against three base hits.
“For his first outing, 13 strikeouts out of 15 total outs is good,” Hill said of Clabaugh, who struck out every Cardinal hitter at least once.
Clabaugh thought having such a huge lead early — Portales took an 8-0 lead on a Sammy Hightower grand slam in the third — made it easier to pitch his first game of the season.
“If you give up a bomb or a base hit, the fact that it’s not going to hurt you is good,” Clabaugh said. “Their pitcher did a good job; he didn’t allow much until the third. He kept us off balance.”
The Rams took a 2-0 lead in the first when Kevin Cheatham homered on a 1-1 fastball on the inside. Todd Mosier added a two-run shot in the fourth to cap off the blowout.
Clabaugh ended the game by getting centerfielder Ken Ortega on a sweeping hook.
“My curveball was moving really well today. I was a little wild with my fastball, but (junior Tyler) Rutherford caught me pretty well. I couldn’t ask for a better catching performance.”
Tyler Rutherford hit his third homer of the year in the nightcap, and the Rams also got round-trippers from Nathan Brown and Jacob Lopez.
Hill thought the 3-0 start was exactly what the Rams needed after coming off of a losing season.
“I think it’s a confidence builder and the kids have been great to work with,” Hill said. “They have the desire and the fight in them this year that we lacked last year.”
The Rams return to action Thursday, when they face Lubbock Roosevelt in a tournament at Littlefield, Texas.