Article Written by: Jason Farmer NEWS-SUN
Photo Taken by: Tony Baker NMTXsports.com
When the wind is blowing out at Ray Birmingham Field, good things can happen. Friday afternoon, the New Mexico Junior College baseball team blasted seven home runs as it beat Clarendon College 10-8 in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, the T-Birds won 13-10 to sweep the doubleheader.
All 10 of the T-birds runs were scored via the home run. NMJC hit four solo shots and three two-run shots. Ryan Whetsel and Levi Dixon hit a pair of home runs while Eddy Vasquez, Gavin Johnson, and Colton Buckner also each hit one out.
"We got them in the air," NMJC skipper Jimmy Durham said. "And you know how the win is. Both teams were playing under the same conditions. We will take it. We were lucky we got it."
Bucker got things started in the second wiht a solo shot to tie the game at 1-1. Four batters later, Dixon hit a two-run shot to give NMJC a lead. Clarendon tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the third, but the T-Birds retook the lead in the home half of the inning on Whetsel's first homer of the day. The T-Birds extended their lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fourth on a solo homers from Johnson and Vasquez.
Clarendon scored once in the fifth and four times in the sixth to take an 8-6 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Whetsel hit his second blast of the day, a two-run, walkoff blast.
"We are lucky the wind was blowing out today," Durham said. "Some balls we hit well, but that last home run was wind-aided obviously."
Dylan Bein started the game, but got a no decision. Bein threw 100 pitches over 5.2 innings of work. He allowed 12 hits and all eight runs, though only seven were earned. He did not walk anyone and struck out seven, including the side in the fifth.
"Dylan is usually better than that," Durham said. "He has usually got more command of his breaking stuff. He had it at times, it was just sporadic at times."
Braeden Holub took over with tow outs in the sixth and gave up a hit to the first batter, but got the next one to end the inning. In the seventh, Holub loaded the bases, but got out of it unscathed upon thanks to some good defense.
Overall, Holub pithced 1.1 innings, allowing two hits and hitting one batter to get the win.
"He will take (the win), I am sure. He is quite the vulture," Durham said. "He has been like that all year for us. He is a stike thrower that can spot up his fastball and spins it OK. He is just a strike thrower and commands both sides of the plate with his fastball."
In the nightcap, NMJC again fell behind quickly as Clarendon scored twice in the top of the first. However, the T-Birds responded with a four-spot in the bottom of the second to take the lead.
While NMJC never trailedagain, its lead was never safe either.
Clarendon scored twice in the top of the third to tie the game, but NMJC retook the lead in the bottom of the frame with two runs of its own. The Bulldogs tied the game for a second time in the fourth, but the T-Birds answered back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, raking a 9-6 lead. Clarendon scored twice in the fifth, cutting NMJC's lead to 9-8, but that was as close as the Bulldogs would get.
The T-Birds scored once in the fifth and sixth, while plating a pair of runs in the seventh to go up 13-8. Clarendon got its final tow runs in the top of the eighth.
New Mexico Junior College collected 11 hits in the second game, only one of which was a homer. After homering twice in the first game, Dixon belted his third home of the day in the second game. Dixon also scored three times and drove in four.
Four T-Birds had multiple hits. Jake Dickerson was 3-for-5 with a triple, a double, a triple, two runs scored, and an RBI while Peterson had a double a drove in two.
Anthony Montoya started the game, but didnt make it out of the fourth inning. Montoya allowed six runs on six hits and four walks. He sruck out five while 73 pitches.
Chris Jefferson came on in relief and threw 3.1 innings. He allowed two unearned runs on three hits and two walks. Jefferson struck out two. Leitha Pitched the final two innings. He allowed two runs on two hits and three walks while striking out one.
With the sweep, NMJC improves to 30-19 on the season and 22-8 in WJCAC play. The T-Birds have won nine straight and will be back on the diamond today in another doublheader with Clarendon (15-15 WJCAC, 24-24). First pitch is at noon.
"It is very imperative (that we win out)," Durham said. "But, you can't play the game like that. You had to play it one pitch and one inning at a time. Just take care of the process and take care of what you can do and what happens, happens."