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Balderaz Sets ENMU Record with Ninth Save, as Greyhounds Outlast Texas A&M-Kingsville, 8-7, in 12 Innings
KINGSVILLE, TEXAS — Sophomore closer Keith Balderaz (RHP, Monahans, TX/Monahans HS) recorded the final two outs of the game and earned his ninth save of the season to set an Eastern New Mexico University record, as the Greyhounds defeated Texas A&M University-Kingsville, 8-7 in 12 innings, on Saturday, April 29. TAMU-Kingsville was eliminated from LSC Tournament contention with the loss. In the second game, TAMUK won 3-2, as both teams had six hits, but ENMU finished the game with nine runners left on base. ENMU ended the season with a 24-32 overall record, 6-14 in the LSC South. Kingsville moved to 35-19, 9-11 in the LSC South.
In the first game, Mike McDuffie (Jr., 2B, Albuquerque, NM/Sandia HS) opened the 12th inning with a double and scored the winning run one out later on a double by Brian Green (Sr., C, Fountain Hills, AZ/Central Arizona College). Both teams earned 17 hits during the game, but the Hounds didn't achieve an extra-base hit until the pair of doubles in the 12th. Reserve shortstop Stephen Lopez-Barela (Fr., Alamogordo, NM/Alamogordo HS) played errorless defense, went 4 for 6 at the plate and recorded the final assist of the game.
Earlier this season, Balderaz tied Steve Montoya (1996) for the save record when he achieved his eighth save of the year in a 7-4 win over Southeastern Oklahoma State University on March 4. In Saturday's game at TAMU-Kingsville, he entered the game with one out and a runner at second base. He faced just two batters, as he registered a strikeout, then got a grounder to Lopez-Barela to end the game.
Eastern trailed 3-1 in the opener, after TAMU-Kingsville put up a trio of runs in the third inning. Will Alexander grounded out to begin the stanza, but the next five Javelinas hit singles. Matt Emerson drove in the first run with a hit to center field and Steve Yaden forced in the second run with a single to right. The third run scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Richards.
The Greyhounds bolted to a 6-3 lead with five runs in the top of the fifth. The most productive hit of the offensive outburst was a two-run single to center field by Gilbert Alvarado (Sr., LF, Roswell, NM/New Mexico State University). Tyler Brown (Sr., C, Aurora, CO/Arapahoe CC), Lopez-Barela and Ryan French (Sr., CF, Carlsbad, NM/Trinidad State JC) each hit an RBI single during the inning.
TAMUK countered with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to move in front, 7-6. Emerson doubled to start the inning, then Adam Sweet hit a two-run homer. Yaden made it back-to-back homers with a long ball to right field. Alexander drove in the other run with a single up the middle.
Eastern tied the game in the sixth, when Green scored on a single by Lopez-Barela. The inning included a one-out single by Green and two-out singles by Brown and Lopez-Barela.
Neither team scored again until Eastern's decisive at bat in the 12th inning. ENMU left one runner on base in the seventh, ninth and 10th innings, and left two runners on base following a two-out rally in the eighth. Kingsville may have had the best change to move in front in the bottom of the seventh, when the Javelinas loaded the bases with one out, but Richards was caught off third base and was thrown out stealing home. The inning ended when Dustin Brooks flied out to center field.
ENMU starter Evan Courteau (Jr., RHP, Minneapolis, MN/Rochester Community and Technical College) allowed seven runs in seven innings. Reliever Evan Orsak (Fr., RHP, Andrews, TX/Andrews HS) threw 4 1/3 innings and allowed just two hits, before leaving the game with one out in the 12th inning. Orsak improved to 1-1 with the win.
Three TAMUK pitchers fanned 17 batters, as the Greyhounds set an ENMU record for strikeouts in a game. ENMU also stranded 17 runners to finish just short of the school record (18), recently set on April 21 in a 9-3 loss to Abilene Christian University. Even so, reliever Zach Gordon sufferred the loss for the Javelinas and fell to 3-3. TAMUK also struggled with plating runners, as the home team finished with 11 players left on base.
Each team managed just six hits in the second game. Emerson pitched the first five innings for TAMUK and earned the win to go to 2-3 this spring. Chris Delaney threw 1 1/3 innings of relief for the Javelinas and Chris Nabors earned his first save of the season by striking out two batters to end the game.
Kelly Crain (Sr., RHP, Gordon, TX/Gordon HS) of ENMU struck out four batters and walked two, while pitching a complete game and falling to 5-7 on the season. Crain lost four games when the opponents scored four runs or less.
Kingsville tallied the first three runs, with one run in the first inning and two more in the third. Brooks hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the first and later scored on a two-out infield hit by Sweet. In the third, both runs scored on a single by Emerson.
Eastern scored both of its runs in the fifth inning. Casey Bigham (Fr., 1B, New Deal, TX/New Deal HS) walked to start the inning, then moved to second when Lopez-Barela grounded out to shortstop. French followed with a double and Bigham advanced home. With two outs, Derrick Kennedy (So., 3B, San Antonio, TX/G.W. Brackenridge HS) drove in French by placing a single up the middle.
The Greyhounds threatened in the top of the seventh, when Seth Clabaugh (Fr., DH, Portales, NM/Portales HS) walked with one out and Kennedy singled through the right side. Kennedy was the first batter faced by Nabors, who struck out Justin Gee (Sr., RF, Clovis, NM/Clovis HS) and McDuffie to preserve the win.
| Department of Athletics
ENMU Station 15
1500 S Ave. K
Portales, NM 88130
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