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Crain’s Two-Hitter in Game #1 Leads ENMU to Sweep of East Central, 10-1 and 10-6

Box Score - Game #1, ENMU 10, ECU 1
Box Score - Game #2, ENMU 10, ECU 6

PORTALES, N.M. — With a 10-0 lead going into the seventh, Kelly Crain (Sr., RHP, Gordon, TX/Gordon HS) gave up an insignificant unearned run for a 10-1 win in the opener, and a six-run sixth inning gave Eastern New Mexico University a come-from-behind win in the second game, 10-6, as ENMU swept East Central University in a Lone Star Conference Crossover double- header on Friday, Feb. 17 at Greyhound Field. With the two wins, the Greyhounds improved to 10-1 overall, extending the best start in school history. East Central remained one game over .500 with a 3-2 overall record. Crain faced only four batters beyond the minimum in the seven-inning first game. He was in complete control throughout the game, as he allowed no walks and struck out seven Tigers. Eastern took the lead for good in the first inning, scoring two runs on a double by Justin Gee(Sr., RF, Clovis, NM/Clovis HS).

The Hounds added four runs in fifth and sixth innings, respectively. In the fifth, ENMU took advantage of two errors, RBI singles by Matt Hinojosa (Sr., SS, Baytown, TX/Laredo Community College) and Mike McDuffie (Jr., 2B, Albuquerque, NM/Sandia HS), and a sacrifice fly by Gee for a 6-0 lead.

A wild pitch in the sixth inning by reliever Kevin Peoples got Ryan French (Sr., CF, Carlsbad, NM/Trinadad State Junior College) across the plate to start the scoring. Derrick Kennedy (So., 3B, San Antonio, TX/G.W. Brackenridge HS) hit a RBI single and McDuffie followed with a double to drive in Kennedy from first base. Eastern’s fourth run of the sixth came on a single by Kelton Hayes (Jr., DH, Guthrie, OK/Norhtlake Community College) to get McDuffie home. In the seventh, the Tigers needed an error and a wild pitch to score their only run of the game.

In the second game, ENMU took an early 3-0 lead with two runs in the first and one in the second inning. McDuffie recorded his third RBI of the day in the first inning, driving in Kennedy, who had hit a two-out double. After McDuffie stole second, Seth Clabaugh (Fr., LF, Portales, NM/Angelo State University) drove him in with a double down the left field line. Tim Crafton (Jr., RF, Farmington, NM/New Mexico Military Institute) hit a double with two outs and was driven in by a French’s single in the second inning.

Greyhound starting pitcher David Swinconos (Sr., LHP, Lubbock, TX/Frenship HS) kept ECU scoreless through the first three innings. In the fourth, Swinconos gave up two runs on a RBI single by Gus Bordones and a sac fly by Greg Minter to get the Tigers to within one run. Gee came in relief in the fifth, giving up two runs on four hits, but was able to strikeout Bordones to end the inning with two Tigers left on base. Down 4-3, Eastern tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a throwing error by Tiger starting pitcher Aaron Iker, allowing Crafton, who led off the inning with a double, to score. Charlie Ward (So, RHP, Roswell, NM/Trinadad State Junior College) took the mound for the Hounds in the sixth, giving up two runs on three hits, as the Tigers took a 6-4 lead.

Eastern’s batters exploded in the sixth with six runs on five hits to give Ward his second victory against no defeats this season. Hays got the Hounds to within one run with a single to drive in McDuffie, who led off with a double. Tyler Brown’s (Sr., C, Aurora, CO/Arapahoe Community College) RBI single drove in Stephen Lopez-Barela (Fr., PR, Alamogordo, NM/Alamogordo HS) to tie the game at 6-6. Bordones had problems with the throw off a French single, allowing Micah Bernhardt (Sr., PH, Gypsum, CO/Arapahoe Community College) to score to give the Hounds the winning run. Kennedy added a RBI double down the right field line and another throwing error by the Tiger outfield got two more runs across for the Hounds and a 10-6 advantage. Keith Balderaz (So., RHP, Monahans, TX/Monahans HS) took the mound in the seventh, forcing three grounder for a 1-2-3 inning and a Greyhound victory.

Crain remains undefeated this season with a 3-0 record. McDuffie had a solid day, going 4-7 while driving in and scoring three runs. French was 4-6 at the plate, with two RBIs and three runs scored. Hayes was productive with a hit in each game that resulted in two RBIs. Prior to pitching an inning in the second game, Gee was 1-3 in the opener with three runs batted in. Kennedy was solid in the second game, going 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

ENMU will travel Tahlequah, OK for a weekend series beginning on Friday, Feb. 24 against Northeastern State University. The teams will play two double-headers, with games starting at 11 a.m. MST. on each day.