ENMU splits opening series against top-ranked Angelo

Feb. 6—Losing a series finale is always difficult.

In this case, though, Eastern New Mexico University's baseball team came away feeling pretty good — despite an 8-0 setback on Sunday — after splitting a season-opening, four-game Lone Star Conference set against top-ranked and defending NCAA Division II champion Angelo State at Greyhound Field.

That's certainly better than last year, when the Greyhounds were routed in four games by a combined score of 39-6 to open the campaign at San Angelo, Texas.

"Getting to play the reigning national champs to start the season is a win because we get to see where we're at as a group," fourth-year Greyhounds coach Riley Price said. "Splitting the series with Angelo State has only confirmed how special this team can be this year if we continue to improve and compete like I know (we can)."

Junior left-hander Alezeah Gutierrez allowed three hits in five innings for the Rams, with three walks and five strikeouts. Sophomore right-hander Johnny Stacy notched a four-inning save, giving up two hits and fanning five.

Five players had one hit apiece for the Hounds.

"Tough day at the plate for us," Price said. "We ran into a tough ASU starter who commanded the (strike) zone and kept us off-balance.

"On the mound, we gave away some free bases (seven walks and four hit batsmen) that ended up costing us, but we must score to win at the end of the day."

Sophomore catcher Blake Wilhoite tripled to right-center to drive in the game's first run in the top of the third, then came in on a single by senior designated hitter Tripp Clark. The Rams made it 4-0 in the fourth when junior second baseman Austin Beck hit an RBI triple and scored on a groundout, and they added four more tallies over the final three cantos.

ENMU used six hurlers, with freshman righty Logan Kinter working the first 2 1/3 innings and allowing three hits and two runs to take the loss.

This weekend, the Hounds hit the road for four games against Texas A&M International at Laredo, starting with a 1 p.m. (MST) clash on Friday. The Dustdevils were swept in four games at West Texas A&M over the weekend, including a 5-4 decision on Sunday.

ENMU 12, Angelo State 9 (Saturday) — After winning the nightcap of Friday's doubleheader to end a 21-game losing streak against the Rams, the Hounds pounded out 16 hits and held off a late Angelo comeback to ensure a series split — their first against ASU since 2017.

ENMU scored five runs in the fifth, stretching a two-run advantage to 11-4, on RBI singles by junior DH Juan Avila and junior second baseman Demetrio Archuleta and run-scoring doubles by junior first baseman Beau Preston and junior center fielder Tucker Gideon. Another run came home on a wild pitch.

Angelo State, though, pushed four runs across in the sixth — two on a double by junior third baseman Kamden Kelton — to make it close. Hounds junior right-hander Julian Lopez (1-0) worked 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Ruger Bravo for the win, while junior righty Josiah Estrella tossed the final 3 2/3 innings for a save, permitting four hits and two runs (one earned).

ENMU outhit the Rams 16-11, led by Archuleta with 4-for-5, junior catcher Daniel Pruitt with 3-for-4 and a pair of two-run doubles — the latter putting the Hounds in front 4-3 in the third — and Preston with three doubles in five at-bats.