Hounds avoid no-hitter late in loss to Tech

CNJ staff

LUBBOCK — Things had already gone badly enough for Eastern New Mexico University’s baseball team. The last thing they needed was the ignominy of being no-hit.

ENMU senior and Clovis High grad Justin Gee whacked the first pitch from reliever Brian Cloud up the middle for the Greyhounds’ first hit with two out in the top of the ninth, breaking up Texas Tech’s would-be three-man pitching gem on Monday.

Senior Mike McDuffie followed with another single before Cloud got Mick Letofsky on a fly ball to left, ending the Red Raiders’ 16-0 rout in a game hastily added to the schedule after both teams had games canceled over the weekend.

ENMU had a Lone Star Conference crossover doubleheader against East Central canceled on Saturday because of a water main break in Portales, while the first two games of the Raiders’ three-game weekend series against St. John’s were wiped out by cold weather.

Tech (6-3) pounded out 18 hits — 14 singles and four doubles — in handing the Hounds just their second loss of the season in 12 games.

The Raiders wasted little time jumping on Hounds starter Evan Courteau (2-1), getting two runs on four singles in the first. They added two more in the third, then erupted for five runs on just three hits in the fourth against freshman left-hander Seth Clabaugh.

Tech capped the scoring with a five-run seventh against Charlie Ward. ENMU closer Keith Balderaz restored some semblance of order by working a hitless eighth.

Dustin Richardson (1-0) pitched six innings for the Raiders, walking two and striking out 10 while facing just two batters over the minimum. Another Clovis High grad, Jason Seefeld, worked the seventh and eighth — he walked one and plunked his former high school teammate, Gee, with a pitch — before giving way to Cloud in the ninth.

First baseman James Leverton went 4-for-5 for Tech with five RBIs, including a three-run double in the seventh. Left fielder Roger Kieschnick was just 1-for-4, but drove in four runs with a two-run single, a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring groundout.

All told, 12 Raiders had at least one hit.