Struggling Hounds lose twice to Cameron

Hounds left fielder Gilbert Alvarado hacks a ball into play during the second game of Friday’s doubleheader. (CNJ staff photo: Jesse Wolfersberger)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

PORTALES — Cameron played an errorless doubleheader on Friday.

On the other hand, when Eastern New Mexico University made fielding mistakes, the Aggies made them pay for it.

ENMU pitcher Kelly Crain bobbled a sacrifice bunt in the sixth inning of a scoreless tie in the first game, opening the door for a four-run outburst that carried Cameron to a 4-0 victory at Greyhound Field.

In the nightcap, shortstop Matt Hinojosa booted a potential double play ball on the second hitter of the game and the Aggies again went to work for four runs en route to a 13-3 triumph, extending the Greyhounds’ losing streak to six after a 16-4 start.

ENMU committed five errors in the two games — all but Crain’s coming in the second contest. Only six of the Aggies’ 17 runs were unearned, but the errors were all costly and led to extra runs.

Still, ENMU coach Phil Clabaugh pointed to his team’s suddenly listless offense as the major problem.

“This team wins by hitting, and we ain’t hitting,” Clabaugh said. “It could be something to do with the (opponents’) pitching, but it doesn’t look that different to me.

“Unless we start hitting again, things are going to be tough.”

The Hounds have managed 40 hits and 17 runs in their last six games, and they’ve shown that their pitching and defense aren’t strong enough to withstand that lack of production.

Crain (3-3) gave the team a solid start, holding the Aggies (11-13) to just one hit through five innings. But he walked Wayne Pettet leading off the sixth, then failed to come up with Blake Hughes’ sacrifice bunt.

Another sacrifice moved the runners into scoring position, and first baseman John Herbert followed by lining a 3-2 pitch into right field for a two-run single.

Right-hander Kacy Groves (3-4) faced the minimum 21 batters in a seven-inning shutout, walking none and striking out two. Catcher Brian Green had two of the Hounds’ three hits.

The Aggies collected 16 hits off three ENMU hurlers and scored in all but one inning.

“We played on Wednesday (losing twice to University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma) and we didn’t play that well,” Cameron coach Todd Holland said. “We were just trying to get back into the swing of things.

“Our pitching did a good job. We made plays and we had timely hits. When you do that, things tend to go your way.”

Left-hander Ryan Totte (2-1) took advantage of the big lead in the nightcap to pitch into the sixth inning. Pettet went 4-for-4 with two walks, four runs scored and four RBIs while B.J. Cole drove in five runs with a pair of doubles and a groundout.

Trailing 11-3, ENMU had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth when Gilbert Alvarado was nicked on the hand by a 3-2 pitch. After a lengthy discussion between the coaches and umpires, Alvarado was ruled out on a checked-swing, and reliever Jason Huffaker escaped by getting Clayton Young on a pop-up to short.

“That was a tough call on Gilbert,” Clabaugh said. “We had a chance to get back in it, but it’s hard to argue with the base umpire when he said, ‘He offered (swung) at it.’”

Designated hitter Kelton Hayes led ENMU’s nine-hit attack with 3-for-4, while right fielder Justin Gee was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks.