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Eastern bounces back for split with Buffs

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University senior left-hander Ian Thurman-Kelly pitched a strong eight innings in just his second start of the season and the Greyhounds salvaged a double-header split with rival West Texas A&M on Sunday, routing the Buffaloes 12-1 in the nightcap of a Lone Star Conference South Division baseball doubleheader at Greyhound Field.

It was ENMU’s first win this season in four tries against the Buffs, who have won only one other game this season. WT (4-12, 2-6 South) took the opener 7-4.

ENMU (6-10, 2-3) and WT will complete their rain-delayed three-game series with a nine-inning contest at 2 p.m. today.

Thurman-Kelly (1-0), who worked four shutout innings in a 1-0 ENMU win over Cameron on March 5, retired the first two hitters in each of the first six innings before giving up an unearned run in the seventh on a walk, a bunt single and Thurman-Kelly’s throwing error.

By that time, though, the Hounds led 8-1 and they tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the seventh on just one hit — a two-run double by second baseman Bryan Moore.

Thurman-Kelly, sidelined with a shoulder problem prior to the start of the season, allowed three hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

Senior right fielder Boyd Erickson led a 14-hit attack, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Erickson broke a scoreless tie with a two-run triple off Shannon Beer (0-3) in the third, and later scored on a single by Brett Scherer.

Erickson added a two-run single in the fourth, capping a four-run inning that knocked Beer out of the game.

Moore went 3-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBIs and two stolen bases. Scherer, Mark Wallace and Justin Gee all had two hits.

In the opener, ENMU sophomore Kelly Crain (3-1) had his first shaky outing of the season and took the loss when the Buffs scored twice in the top of the fifth to erase a 4-3 deficit.

Shortstop Gilbert Curiel went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for WT, while third baseman Nick Williams drove in a pair of runs with a solo homer and a sacrifice fly.

While the top five hitters in the ENMU lineup went just 2-for-16, the bottom four hitters were 7-for-10. Center fielder Joey Aguilar and designated hitter Gilbert Alvarado, batting eighth and ninth, each drove in a pair of runs.

WT left-hander James Schroeder (3-1) went 5 1/3 innings for the win. Brad Fralick pitched the seventh to earn his first save.

First game

West Texas A&M 7, ENMU 4

West Texas A&M 110 120 2 — 7 10 0

ENMU 030 100 0 — 4 9 1

James Schroeder, Ryan Zemanek (6), Brad Fralick (7) and Benino Gonzales; Kelly Crain, Jesse Garcia-Perez (5) and Brett Scherer. W — Schroeder (3-1). L — Crain (3-1). Sv — Fralick (1). LOB — West Texas A&M 12, ENMU 7. 2B — West Texas A&M: Dan Moody. ENMU: Justin Gee. HR — West Texas A&M: Nick Williams (2). T — 2:21. A — 100.

Second game

ENMU 12, West Texas A&M 1

West Texas A&M 000 000 100 — 1 4 2

ENMU 003 410 40x —12 14 2

Shannon Beer, Kevin McKinley (4), Kosuke Fujii (7), Brandon Wright (7) and Gonzales; Ian Thurman-Kelly, David Swinconos (9) and Brett Scherer. W — Thurman-Kelly (1-0). L — Beer (0-3). DP — West Texas A&M 1. LOB — West Texas A&M 6, ENMU 9. 2B — West Texas A&M: Williams. ENMU: Bryan Moore, Boyd Erickson. 3B — ENMU: Erickson. T — 3:18. A — 65.