For Eastern New Mexico University, it was a promising start to the baseball season.
For Adams State College, well, the Grizzlies almost pulled one out in their first competition in more than 35 years.
Adams State shortstop Jaron Dorchinez hit a game-tying, two-out grand slam in the seventh inning of Saturday’s seven-inning opener, pulling the Grizzlies even with ENMU. But junior third baseman Rafael Romo delivered a one-out RBI single in the bottom half to give the Greyhounds a 9-8 win at Greyhound Field.
ENMU pounded 20 hits en route to a 19-4 victory in the second game, shortened from nine innings to 6 1/2 by the 10-run rule. The teams complete their season-opening four-game series with a noon twin bill today.
On a blustery day, center fielder Brooke Brooks went 5-for 8 with six runs scored and four RBIs for ENMU in the doubleheader, while catcher Peter Creamer was 5-for-8 with a home run, four runs scored and five RBIs.
“It was definitely an eventful day,” ENMU coach Chris Terry said. “The field plays so big, and if you add the wind to it, it really makes it tough.
“I was happy with the way our guys battled (the conditions) today. It was just a tough day to play baseball.”
For Adams State coach Jim Capra, who is also an alum of the school, his team was able to get its rejuvenated program going.
“Hopefully, we can do it some other way than to lose,” he said. “We battled pretty well in the first game. We expect to win, but with our freshmen it’s going to take a little bit of time to understand the game.”
The Grizzlies jumped on ENMU starter Ben Monticello for three runs in the second inning of the opener, but left the bases loaded and the Hounds chipped away with two in the bottom half and one in the third. ENMU took a 6-3 lead with a three-run fourth keyed by Brooks’ two-run, opposite-field single through the left side, and Creamer added a solo homer in the fifth.
With two out and a runner at second in the seventh, ENMU reliever Brian Kennedy issued a walk and gave up a wind-blown, pop-fly infield hit. That set the stage for the left-handed-hitting Dorchinez, who got one up into the wind the opposite way to tie it up before Romo won it in the bottom half.
In the second game, third baseman Andres Enriquez capped a four-run first with a bases-loaded triple, and the Hounds added runs in each of the next four innings.
Enriquez drove in two more runs with a single in the fourth, while Daniel Binz went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Josh Cunningham drove in four runs with two singles and a bases-loaded walk.
Right-hander Brett Humphries went five innings to get the win, striking out five and walking two.
Terry said the pitchers had a hard time throwing breaking pitches in the windy conditions.
“Monticello, I think, threw pretty well except for the one inning where he got the ball up a little bit,” Terry said. “Brett can get away with just his fastball more because his fastball moves.
“We hit the ball well today, and I was happy we hit the ball well with runners in scoring position.”
This is Adams State’s first team since 1976, when Capra was a player on the team. He said Saturday’s second game is part of the learning process.
“We’re going to have games like that,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep them to a minimum.”