By Kevin Wilson
There were more Es than a scrabble tournament as Eastern New Mexico University kicked, bobbled and booted away its three-game winning streak.
The Greyhounds committed 10 errors Tuesday, helping visiting Wayland Baptist hold on for a 17-12 win at Greyhound Field.
The fielding debacle came on the heels of committing just one error in their three-game sweep of nationally ranked St. Mary’s over the weekend.
“I don’t know if there’s any way to explain it other than that’s how things went,” Greyhound coach Phil Clabaugh said of the errors. “It started with (shortstop Josh) Kuchta’s error and it just kind of snowballed.”
Wayland Baptist (25-5) took a 4-0 lead and never trailed, taking advantage of Eastern errors early and often.
After a first-inning bobble by Kuchta put Robert Mendoza on, starter David Swinconos (1-1) allowed a walk to Dan Planeta. Israel Castillo hit an infield single off Swinconos’ foot to load the bases. Mike Richardson cleared them with a triple down the left-field line. Richardson scored later on a sacrifice fly.
Richardson, who finished with six RBIs, helped put the game on ice with a two-run double in the ninth, part of three-straight hits to open the ninth against reliever Trevor Davis.
Pioneer coach Steven Quezada felt fortunate to come out of the game with a win, and could certainly understand that teams will have bad games defensively.
“Sometimes it goes into your glove, sometimes it doesn’t,” Quezada said. “I thought they battled really well. They could have checked it in after about the sixth, but they didn’t.”
Jesse Garcia-Perez and Antwhan Yazzie helped the Greyhounds climb back from a 12-7 deficit, combining for two runs in 4 2/3 innings of middle relief.
The Greyhounds (14-19) rallied back to within 13-12 on a two-run single by Bryan Moore. However, the errors came back to haunt the Greyhounds late, as a pair of miscues helped keep a four-run ninth alive for the Pioneers.
“It’s hard for me to see how we play 23 innings (against St. Mary’s) and make one error, (then) come back with the same kids in the same positions, except for Matt Elliott in left field, and we kick it around.”
Clabaugh is hopeful that his team can block out the loss quickly. The Hounds are back in action for a 2 p.m. game today against New Mexico Highlands, then return to Lone Star Conference South action with a three-game series at West Texas A&M starting Friday.