By Dave Wagner, Freedom New Mexico
Awaiting his start in the second game of Eastern New Mexico’s Lone Star Conference baseball doubleheader with Southeastern Oklahoma on Saturday at Greyhound Field, junior right-hander Ismael Solis wondered if maybe the Greyhounds were saving any runs for him.
As it turned out, he didn’t have to worry. ENMU followed up a 23-13 rout of the Savage Storm with a 12-6 victory behind Solis’ complete-game performance in the seven-inning nightcap. The opener, scheduled for nine innings, was called in the bottom of the seventh by a new 10-run rule after seven enacted this season by the LSC.
The teams complete their four-game series with a 1 p.m. nine-inning contest today.
Solis (2-0), who earlier this month pitched a 2-0 shutout at Colorado School of Mines, survived a rocky start in this one. After giving up six runs on eight hits in the first three innings, he blanked the Savage Storm on just two singles over the final four frames.
“I struggled with the way the wind was blowing,” said Solis, a transfer from New Mexico Military Institute. “After the first two or three innings, I adjusted to what they were swinging at.
“I had a great defense behind me, too, and that made me more confident.”
The Hounds (8-3, 2-1 LSC) didn’t exactly need shutdown pitching. Held to five hits by Southeastern ace Luis Estralla on Friday, they scored in all but one inning in Saturday’s sweep and pounded out 39 hits, including 26 in the opener.
Both of Southeastern’s Saturday starters were chased in the first inning.
“We just swept a pretty good team,” ENMU coach Phil Clabaugh said. “Knowing the quality of their program and the quality of (longtime coach) Mike Matheny, it was a big day for us.”
Everyone in ENMU’s batting order had at least one hit by the fourth inning in the nightcap. The teams traded the lead through the first three innings, but the Hounds opened a 10-6 lead with a three-run fourth that included RBI singles by Derrick Kennedy and Seth Clabaugh.
Solis threw 95 pitches, 64 for strikes.
“After the third, I just got in a zone,” Solis said. “We kept on getting some runs support, and I knew the defense was backing me up.”
Phil Clabaugh said both Solis and first-game starter Thomas Green (1-0), who gave up 10 runs and 13 hits in six innings but left with a three-run lead, did a good job of battling the elements. He credited catcher Freddy Carmona’s work behind the plate as well.
“Tom Green did a great job of keeping himself steady,” Clabaugh said. “He didn’t walk a soul, and they hit some out, but he did what he had to.
“Ismael throws really slow. Everybody thinks you have to throw 94 mph to win, but he shows them that you don’t.”
Carmona singled home two runs and Seth Clabaugh added a two-run triple in ENMU’s five-run first in the opener. Carmona went 5-for-6 in the game, and both players drove in five runs while lacking only a home run of hitting for the cycle.