ADA, Okla. — Eastern New Mexico University’s chances for a berth in the Lone Star Conference postseason baseball tournament took a hit on Friday.
East Central got a complete game from freshman right-hander Wes Hager and home runs from first baseman Zach Hammons and right fielder Dusty Rowland in cruising to a 10-4 victory over the Greyhounds in the opener of a four-game LSC series.
The Hounds (20-20, 13-16 LSC) entered the weekend three games behind sixth-place Texas A&M-Kingsville. The top six teams advance to the tournament in early May.
The ninth-place Tigers (16-29, 13-20) pounded out 16 hits off ENMU’s Ismael Solis (3-5) and Tyler Doughty. Four players went 3-for-5, while Hammons finished 2-for-5 and drove in three runs.
Hammons singled home the game’s first run in the bottom of the first, then followed a ledoff single by Luis Armenta with a two-run homer — his second of the season — to key a four-run in the third.
ENMU cut a 6-0 deficit to 6-3 in the fifth when Derrick Kennedy hit an RBI single, but Jared Owens greeted Doughty with a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth and Chase Watkins singled home a run in the sixth to restore the six-run margin.
The Hounds got an unearned run in the seventh, but Rowland added a two-out homer in the eighth, his third of the spring, to complete the scoring.
Clint Bowker, Tyler Pybas, Rowland and Owen all had three hits for the Tigers. ENMU second baseman Tyler Hayes reached all five times — two singles and three hit-by-pitches by Hager — while Kennedy finished 2-for-5.
Solis allowed eight runs — seven earned — on 10 hits in four-plus innings. He walked one batter, hit one and struck out four.
Hager, making only his fourth start in 14 appearances, came in with a 10.66 earned run average. He allowed 10 hits and three earned runs, with no walks and four strikeouts in pitching his first complete game.
The teams have a noon (MDT) doubleheader on tap today before finishing the series with a single game on Sunday.