Rams drop twin bill against Lovington

PNT staff

LOVINGTON — Portales struggled at the plate and on the mound Tuesday.

It wasn’t a good time for it, either. Facing District 4-3A rival Lovington, the Rams were handed 7-3 and 12-1 losses by the Wildcats, the latter ending in 4 1/2 innings on the 10-run rule.

The losses give Lovington the District 4-3A lead at 4-0, while the Rams (10-7, 2-2 district) fell into a tie for second place with New Mexico Military Institute. The Colts, who lost twice at Portales on Saturday, bounced back for a 6-3, 11-1 sweep against Ruidoso on Tuesday.

“We just didn’t hit the ball, and our pitching kind of let us down today,” Rams coach Arturo Ontiveros said.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 7-2 lead through three innings against Rams senior Justin Gilchrist, who gave up only three hits but struggled by walking six. Sophomore Ricky Lovato pitched three shutout innings in relief, allowing one hit and striking out five.

“Nobody but Ricky Lovato had a good outing today,” Ontiveros said of his pitchers. “We just didn’t locate the ball.”

The Rams’ three hits including a sixth-inning solo homer by Todd McBroom.

In the second game, Lovington scored five runs in both the second and third innings to open a 12-0 lead. The Rams got on the board in the fifth, when Kevin Gonzales doubled and eventually came home on a passed ball.

Mario Salazar went the first two innings on the mound for the Rams, followed by Antonio Lucio for two.

Lovington pitchers struck out 12 Portales hitters in the contest, Ontiveros noted.

“They’re pretty solid,” he said. “They have a lot of team speed, and when they get on base they can make a lot of things happen.”

The Rams return to action on Saturday, hosting Ruidoso in a district twin bill starting at 11 a.m. at Ram Field.