The Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds lost ground in the Lone Star Conference South baseball standings on and off the field.
On Friday, Tarleton State came away with an 11-8 win in the opener before the second game was suspended by rain after five innings with the score tied 7-7.
The teams intended to resume the contest on Saturday morning and then play the series finale, but overnight rains left the field unplayable. It’s unlikely the games will be made up.
With the squads jockeying for third place in the division and needing a late charge to catch Texas A&M-Kingsville and Abilene Christian in the battle for the two South berths in the conference tournament, the inclement weather didn’t really help either team’s chances.
The Hounds came into the weekend with nine wins in their previous 12 games, including back-to-back, three-game weekend sweeps of St. Mary’s and West Texas A&M.
“We didn’t play real well,” ENMU coach Phil Clabaugh said. “In the last two weekend sweeps, we had really good starting pitching. We didn’t play as well as we have been defensively, but we didn’t get good starting pitching this time.”
TSU (20-25-1, 8-10-1 South) jumped on ENMU starter Ian Thurman-Kelly (3-2) for 10 runs — nine earned — and 12 hits in just 2 1/3 innings in Friday’s seven-inning opener. The Greyhounds (17-21-1, 6-9-1) battled back, but left two runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings.
Junior right-hander Trevor Davis kept the Hounds in the game with three innings of shutout relief, allowing one hit and striking out four.
In the second game, the Texans erased a 4-0 deficit after three innings, taking a 7-6 lead with four unearned runs off Jesse Garcia-Perez in the top of the fifth. ENMU tied it in the bottom half when Justin Gee reached on a leadoff error, took second on a sacrifice and came around on back-to-back, two-out wild pitches by reliever Jarrad Burcie, who earned his third save of the season in the opener.
Clabaugh said the Hounds hadn’t been able to practice on the field since completing a sweep at WT April 2-3, adding that the players had to work hard to get the field ready.
“We hadn’t seen a live pitch since last Saturday, and it showed,” he said. “All year we haven’t played very well after working on the field, but that’s part of it in college baseball. You don’t have grounds crews.
Tarleton third baseman Chad Nixon went 4-for-7 in the doubleheader, driving in four runs in the opener with a single and a triple. Designated hitter Alex Apolinar also had a pair of two-hit outings for the Texans, driving in three runs in the second game.
For ENMU, junior first baseman Mark Wallace drove in three runs in the nightcap and finished 5-for-6 in the doubleheader.