The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Rams blank Lovington


Tony Bullocks

Portales freshman Chandon Neece makes the catch in center field for the out in the top in the first inning of Tuesday evening's game against Lovington at Ram Field.

PORTALES — A trio of first inning runs is all that starting pitcher Josiah Lucero and his Rams needed in a 6-0 shutout victory over Lovington baseball on Tuesday. Lucero went the distance, striking out nine and allowing just five hits.

"Josiah did a good job the entire game, but I think it was really big for us to score the three runs in the first inning," Portales coach Dusty Nusser said. "It kinda got us a little bit of momentum going, because we knew there weren't gonna be a whole lot of runs scored with the wind blowing in.

"Josiah did a great job on the mound today. I think he threw all three pitches for strikes today, he did a good job of throwing fastball, curveball and changeups for a strike." After Lucero quickly managed the Lovington (2-11) lineup in the top of the first inning, the Rams (8-6) did their part to jump on the Wildcats in the bottom of the inning.

Jordan Garcia led off the inning with a walk, before Lucero's single past first allowed Garcia to advance to third base. Joel Legarda then followed with an RBI single to center field, putting the Rams on the board, 1-0.

An Isaac Gomez bunt was perfectly executed down the third-base line, loading the bases for Luciano Rodriguez. Rodriguez' fielder's choice to second base brought home courtesy runner Josiah Tellez, and eventually, a dropped ball in center field brought home a third Portales run.

The Rams would go on to add three more runs in the bottom of the fourth, after an RBI-double to deep centerfield by Legarda, along with a bases loaded drawn walk by Logan McDaniel, and finally, a Baylor Diaz broken up double play that brought home a sixth run.

For Lovington, who beat Portales, 5-0, back on March 20, Tuesday represented a total 180. "We just didn't execute," Wildcats coach Robert Riggins explained. "If you don't execute, you're not going to win a lot of ballgames. (Lucero) did a good job of keeping our guys off-balance and mixing stuff up."

Tony Bullocks

Portales senior Josiah Lucero delivers a pitch in the top of the fourth inning. Lucero had nine strikeouts in the Rams' 6-0 victory.

As for Portales, it has now scored 40 runs during its current four-game winning streak, as the Rams now head into a 10-day layoff. Nusser said that his squad will perform community service this week, and will help out with the annual Kids Camp hosted this Thursday through Saturday.

Following that, the Rams will take time to get healthy, before returning to practice next Monday. From there, Portales will have a crucial three-game series at Hope Christian, beginning next Friday, as part of a seven-game road swing.

"That's gonna be huge for us," Nusser said of the upcoming series against the Huskies. "We've done what we've needed to do so far in district, beating Ruidoso, three games to zero. That'll be a huge matchup for us, I think they're ranked No. 1 in the state right now. We beat them last year in the state championship, so that's gonna be a really big series for us."


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