Although in a sense it may have had a bit of a hollow ring, Dylan Nault was a hero for the second day in a row on Saturday.
Nault delivered a one-out, pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting Eastern New Mexico University past Angelo State 7-6 for a split of their Lone Star Conference doubleheader, giving the Greyhounds a series victory in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Nault had a game-winning RBI single in the 10th on Friday to give ENMU another 7-6 win in the series opener.
The Hounds finished in a tie for fourth with Angelo in the six-team LSC, each with identical records of 26-24 overall and 15-20 in the league. But because the Rams won four of the seven head-to-head meetings, including Saturday’s 9-4 victory in the opener, ASU earned the final spot in next week’s LSC tournament.
Senior Jorge Quezada (3-1) worked four innings in relief to get the win in the nightcap. Meantime, right fielder Ryan Forkel went 3-for-4 and shortstop Brett Ackerman and designated hitter Sam Hedrick were both 3-for-5 as the Hounds pounded out 15 hits.
ASU took the lead in the top of the 10th on catcher Cameron Massengill’s RBI single, but Brown — the Rams’ sixth pitcher of the game — was unable to hold it.
Brown worked 3 1/3 innings in relief and, although he allowed seven hits, did not give up a run until senior second baseman Colton Sims’ run-scoring single tied it in the 10th and set the stage for Nault.
Angelo ensured itself a spot in the tournament by taking the opener behind a seven-inning, complete-game seven hitter from right-hander Blake Bass.
Massengill belted his first homer of the season with one out in the second to stake the Rams to the lead, and they jumped on ENMU starter Ben Monticello (5-5) for five runs (three earned) and eight hits in three innings.
The Hounds pulled to 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double by Matthew Burks and a two-run single by Brett Cooper, but ASU scored an unearned run in the sixth and left fielder David Coggin hit a two-run single in the seventh to break it open.
The second-game win ensured the Hounds the program’s fourth winning season in 23 years, and first since 2000.