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Courteau Throws Eight Scoreless Innings, as Greyhounds Defeat 4th-Ranked ACU, 4-0
Wildcats Split Double-Header with 6-1 Win in Game #2

Box Score - Game #3 - ENMU 4, ACU 0
Box Score - Game #4 - ACU 6, ENMU 1

PORTALES, N.M. — Junior pitcher Evan Courteau (RHP, Minneapolis, MN/Rochester Community and Technical College) threw eight scoreless innings against 4th-ranked Abilene Christian University on Saturday, April 22 and Keith Balderaz (So., RHP, Monahans, TX/Monahans HS) shut down the Wildcats in the ninth inning, as ENMU defeated ACU, 4-0, in the first game of a Lone Star Conference double-header at Greyhound Field. Abilene Christian won the second game, 6-1, as the Wildcats improved to 37-12 overall, 11-5 in the LSC South. ENMU ended the double-header with a 23-29 record, including 5-11 in the LSC South.

Courteau, who upped his record to 7-4 on the season, allowed just five singles during his eight innings of work. He registered two strikeouts and allowed five walks. His seven wins lead the ENMU pitching staff. Balderaz faced just four batters in the ninth, forcing a fly out to open the inning, before Minor Alexander singled. Another fly out and a ground out followed, as Balderaz completed the shutout.

The first game was scoreless through six and a half innings, as Courteau and ACU starter Ben Maynard (6-3) held the offensive units in check. Each team managed just four hits in its first six at bats, with Justin Gee (Sr., RF, Clovis, NM/Clovis HS) of ENMU earning the only extra-base hit during those innings, on a double to left field in the sixth.

In the bottom of the seventh, Eastern sent seven batters to the plate and recorded four hits. Brian Green (Sr., C, Fountain Hills, AZ/Central Arizona College) opened the stanza with a double and Jeff Roemer (Jr., 1B/P, Woodbury, MN/Rochester Community and Technical College) followed with a single. The next batter, shortstop Clayton Young (Fr., Canyon, TX/Canyon HS), hit a sacrifice bunt, but Green was thrown out at home on a delayed steal. The double play virtually ended Eastern’s threat, leaving Roemer at second base as the only runner.

ENMU still cashed in during the inning. Ryan French (Sr., CF, Carlsbad, NM/Trinidad State JC) and Gilbert Alvarado (Sr., LF, Roswell, NM/New Mexico State University) walked to load the bases, then Derrick Kennedy (So., 3B, San Antonio, TX/G.W. Brackenridge HS) hit a double down the right field line to score Roemer and French. Gee added a two-run single through the left side, as he brought home Alvarado and Kennedy for a 4-0 lead. Gee was thrown out stealing second base to end the inning, but the Greyhounds entered the eighth stanza with the game’s first lead.

ACU threatened to score in the eighth, as the Wildcats opened the inning with a single, a walk and a sacrifice bunt. Roemer made a solid play at first to hold the runners at second and third while making an unassisted on a hard grounder by Danny Williams. Ruben Rivera walked to load the base, but Courteau caused pinch-hitter Matt McGuire to strike out and end the threat.

Eastern held a slim 8-6 edge in hits during the game. Doubles by Kennedy, Gee and Green were the only extra-base hits for either team. Gee and Roemer each recorded two hits for ENMU. Alec Sowards was 3 for 3 with a walk for Abilene Christian.

In the first inning of Game #2, ACU took advantage of a leadoff error, plus another error, to build a 2-0 lead. Trey Watten benefited from the first error, stole second, and scored on a single by Alexander. Alexander scored later when a base hit by Joel Wells was misplayed in right field.

The Wildcats tacked on two runs in the fourth inning, plus another pair of runs in the sixth, as ACU increased its lead to 6-0. Alexander and Johnny Zepeda each recorded an RBI in the fourth inning, then added an RBI apiece in the sixth.

Eastern tallied its only run in the bottom of the sixth. French smacked a double down the left field line to open the stanza. Two outs later, Gee singled, moving French to third. Tyler Brown (Sr., DH/C, Aurora, CO/Arapahoe CC) provided another single to drive French across the plate.

ACU outhit the Greyhounds, 12-5, during the game. The Wildcats did not make an error, while Eastern had three miscues. Zepeda was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Alexander finished the game 2 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs. Kennedy led Eastern with two hits in three at bats.

The winning pitcher was ACU starter Jason Kennedy, who went five innings and allowed just two hits. He improved to 6-1 this spring. Kelly Crain (Sr., RHP, Gordon, TX/Gordon HS) took the loss for ENMU. He allowed six runs in six innings, but only three runs were earned. Crain dropped to 5-6 on the season.

Eastern will conclude the season at Texas A&M University-Kingsville on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29, in a pair of LSC South double-headers. Both double-headers are scheduled to start at 2 p.m. MDT.