Highlands erupts late to knock off Hounds

PNT staff report

Eastern New Mexico University’s struggles continued Tuesday night.

The Greyhounds carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning, but New Mexico Highlands scored four runs without hitting a ball out of the infield and the Cowboys went on to an 8-3 victory at Greyhound Field.

Highlands improved to 21-14 with its second win in eight days over the Hounds (19-20), who have lost 16 of their last 19 games and fell below .500 for the first time this season.

Junior right-hander Jeff Roemer, shelled in his previous start on Saturday against Angelo State, worked five strong innings before departing. The only run against him came on a two-out single to center by Francisco Hernandez in the fifth, scoring Kyle Larsen from second.

Earlier in the inning, ENMU’s Justin Gee cut down a Highlands runner trying to score from second on Larsen’s single with a strong throw from right field.

In the sixth, though, Marcos Castillo bunted for a single against Seth Clabaugh (0-4) and took second on a wild throw. It was the Cowboys’ only hit of the inning.

The Hounds committed two more errors in the inning and took advantage of two walks, a third-strike passed ball which allowed Jonathan Dees to reach base, and two wild pitches. Three of the runs were unearned.

Highlands made it 6-2 in the seventh on Larry Aguino’s pinch-hit RBI single, and Castillo added a two-run double in the eighth.

ENMU scored twice in the first. Derrick Kennedy led off with a single and took third on a two-base throwing error by Highlands starter Dean Stucker before Gil Alvarado was hit by a pitch.

Mike McDuffie’s fielder’s choice grounder drove in Kennedy. McDuffie then stole second and came home on a two-out single by Kelton Hayes.

But the Hounds managed only four hits and no runs over the next seven innings against Stucker and four relievers. In the ninth, facing Chris Chavez, Kennedy’s two-out single to right drove in Clayton Young before Chavez got McDuffie on strikes to end it.