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Coombes, Carter notch collegiate firsts


Last updated 2/25/2020 at 4:04pm

PORTALES — It took Eastern New Mexico University sophomore right-hander Ethan Coombes more than a season to get in the win column.

And to finally do it on Saturday, it took a stellar performance by the Roswell High product.

Coombes (1-3) had dropped his first 10 decisions as a collegian, but he made limited production by the Greyhounds’ offense stand up for an impressive 2-1 victory over Tarleton State in the opener of a Lone Star Conference baseball doubleheader at Greyhound Field.

It was ENMU’s only win in the four-game set. After dropping Friday’s series opener, the Hounds (2-12, 2-12 LSC) lost Saturday’s nightcap 13-2, then saw the Texans rally in the final two frames to notch a 13-8 win on Sunday.

Coombes threw a seven-inning complete game, allowing just four singles with three walks and eight strikeouts. He had Tarleton (8-6, 8-6) blanked until the final frame, but stranded the tying and go-ahead runs on base after the Texans managed to push one across on an RBI groundout.

ENMU, which also finished with four hits, scored unearned runs in the second and sixth innings, the former without benefit of a hit and the latter coming on a squeeze bunt by freshman left fielder Jude Perea.

Tarleton senior Hunter Thomas (0-1) had a no-hitter until giving up a pair of hits in the bottom of the fifth.

In the nightcap, the Texans opened a 7-0 lead with a six-run second. Senior first baseman Blake Burns went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a pair of RBIs, while four others each contributed two hits to a 14-hit attack.

Right-hander Luke Baley (3-1) worked four innings before right-hander Jon Law earned a three-inning save with hitless relief.

On Sunday, the Hounds trailed 7-2 before erupting for six runs in the bottom of the seventh, coming on bases-loaded walks to designated hitter Jude Perea and third baseman Ross Montoya before freshman left fielder Blake Carter belted a grand slam home run on a 3-2 pitch. It was Carter’s first collegiate home run.

But the Texans stormed back with four runs in the top of the eighth and added two more in the ninth off ENMU’s Liam Sabiston (0-1).

Junior right-hander Joel Torres threw five solid innings for the Hounds, allowing two hits and two runs with one walk and five strikeouts.

Senior Malcolm Smith belted a two-run homer for ENMU in the fifth to tie the game 2-2. Meantime, Burns again went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs as Tarleton outhit the Hounds 13-7.

ENMU returns to action on Friday when it begins a four-game LSC series at Arkansas-Fort Smith with a 2 p.m. contest.


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