Rams hand Lovington 5-1 setback

May 4—LOVINGTON — Portales High's baseball team got just what it needed with a strong pitching performance from senior Kaiden Gutierrez on Thursday night.

Gutierrez also did all right at the plate in sparking the Rams' 5-1 District 4-4A victory over Lovington.

The teams entered their regular-season-ending weekend series tied for the cellar at 0-6 in the four-team district, but the Rams (10-11) are hopeful an overall good showing against the struggling Wildcats (4-18) will be enough to lift them into this week's 16-team Class 4A state tournament. PHS was ranked 15th in 4A coming into the series by MaxPreps.

The teams were to wrap it up with a doubleheader on Friday night at Ram Field.

While he scattered eight Wildcats hits, Gutierrez went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, a run scored and a run batted in.

"We've been on the cusp of getting some wins," Rams coach Arturo Ontiveros said after the game. "It was nice to get one at their place. Hopefully, we can take that momentum into tomorrow."

Portales took a 3-0 lead with a pair of runs in the second, then pulled away with a two-run sixth.

Senior Zane Mayberry was 2-for-3 for the Rams and scored twice. Gutierrez, who gave up Lovington's lone score in the fifth, finished with one walk and five strikeouts.

Sophomore Jayden Gutierrez went 3-for-4 for Lovington, including an RBI single. Junior Mika Pando and sophomore Fidencio Lujan both posted 2-for-3 outings.

Pairings for the state tournament will be announced today by the New Mexico Activities Association. Next weekend, the top eight seeds will host best-of-three series before the remaining single-elimination event moves to Rio Rancho and Albuquerque the following week.