Hounds’ bid for winning record falls short

CNJ STAFF

ABILENE, Texas — Eastern New Mexico University’s bid for its first winning season since 2000 came up just short.

After earning a Lone Star Conference South Division split with NCAA Division II fifth-ranked Abilene Christian on Friday with a 5-0, three-hit shutout from junior left-hander David Swinconos, the Greyhounds went down twice on Saturday, losing 11-3 and 12-4 to finish 26-27 (10-10 South).

ACU first baseman Ryan Barker went 8-for-8 on Saturday — four singles in the opener, four doubles in the nightcap.

The Hounds held the high-scoring division champion Wildcats (41-14, 16-4) in check in the first twin bill. ACU came in averaging nine runs a game, but needed two-out RBI singles from pinch-hitter Chris Walsh and catcher J-Bob Thomas in the eighth to break a 4-4 tie and take the nine-inning opener.

ACU right-hander Ben Maynard brought a 9-1 record into the contest, but settled for a no-decision after giving up four runs on seven hits over seven innings.

Then Swinconos (5-3), who came in with a 7.71 earned run average, pitched his second shutout of the season and handed the Wildcats only their second shutout loss in the seven-inning nightcap. ENMU handed Ben Brockman (10-1) his first loss, collecting nine hits and five earned runs off the right-hander in six innings.

Swinconos breezed through the first six innings before ACU put runners at second and third with no one out in the seventh. A one-out walk loaded the bases, but Swinconos slipped a called third strike past pitch-hitter Matt Jackson and then induced Cody Cure to roll into a game-ending forceout.

The Hounds got a run-scoring groundout from Bryan Moore and an RBI single from Brett Scherer in the third, then broke it open on an RBI single by Ryan French and a two-run single by Tyler Brown in the sixth.

On Saturday, ACU chased Hounds starter Kelly Crain (6-9) in the opener with a six-run sixth, breaking open a 1-0 game. The Wildcats’ No. 3 pitcher, Brandon Moore, improved to 9-0 for the season by allowing seven hits over 7 2/3 innings.

The Wildcats rocked ENMU ace Trevor Davis (11-5) in the second game, collecting 17 hits and 12 earned runs off him in four innings. The Hounds took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on RBI triples by Brett Scherer and Mark Wallace and a run-scoring single by Justin Gee, but the Wildcats responded with five in the bottom of the inning — capped by Johnny Zepeda’s two-run homer.

ENMU senior second baseman Bryan Moore, trying to break Dallas McMann’s two-year-old single-season school batting average record (.433), went 4-for-16 in the series and finished the year with a .413 average.

Friday
First game
Abilene Christian 6, ENMU 4
ENMU 120 000 100 — 4 8 0
Abilene Christian 200 110 02x — 6 14 0
Brett Scherer, Kellen Smith (8), Trevor Davis (8) and Brian Green; Ben Maynard, Kade Simmons (8) and Alec Sowards, J-Bob Thomas (8). W — Simmons (3-0). L — Smith (1-1). DP — Eastern New Mexico 2, Abilene Christian 1. LOB — Eastern New Mexico 7, Abilene Christian 6. 2B — Abilene Christian: Joel Wells, Sowards. 3B — Eastern New Mexico: Ryan French. HR — Abilene Christian: Brenan Herrera (4). T — 2:38. A — 412.

Second game
ENMU 5, Abilene Christian 0
ENMU 002 003 0 — 5 9 1
Abilene Christian 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
David Swinconos and Tyler Brown; Ben Brockman, Coy Polk (7) and Thomas. W — Swinconos (5-3). L — Brockman (10-1). DP — Abilene Christian 2. LOB — Eastern New Mexico 4, Abilene Christian 7. 2B — Eastern New Mexico: Justin Gee. Abilene Christian: Herrera. T — 2:00. A — 200.

Saturday
First game
Abilene Christian 11, ENMU 3
ENMU 000 000 030 — 3 8 0
Abilene Christian 001 006 13x —11 14 2
Kelly Crain, Kellen Smith (6), Mark Wallace (7), Micah Bernhardt (8) and Green; Brandon Moore, Simmons (8) and Sowards. W — Moore (9-0). L — Crain (6-8). DP — Eastern New Mexico 3, Abilene Christian 1. LOB — Eastern New Mexico 9, Abilene Christian 5. 2B — Eastern New Mexico: Wallace, Gee. Abilene Christian: Johnny Zepeda. 3B — Eastern New Mexico: Green. T — 2:47. A — 300.

Second game
Abilene Christian 12, ENMU 4
ENMU 300 000 1 — 4 8 0
Abilene Christian 533 100 x —12 17 0
Davis, Bernhardt (5), Wallace (5) and Green; Justin Whitlock, Polk (7), Andrew Dillman (7), Jason Kennedy (7) and Thomas. W — Whitlock (6-3). L — Davis (11-5). DP — Eastern New Mexico 2, Abilene Christian 1. LOB — Eastern New Mexico 5, Abilene Christian 7. 2B — Eastern New Mexico: Scherer. Abilene Christian: Cody Cure, Ryan Barker 4, Herrera, Thomas. 3B — Eastern New Mexico: Scherer, Wallace 2. Abilene Christian: Dane Marcouill. HR — Abilene Christian: Johnny Zepeda (3). T — 2:08. A — 201.