Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mule Baseball vs. Abernathy & Tulia (4-8 & 12-14)

Mule Baseball vs. Abernathy & Tulia (4-8 & 12-14)

The Mules have won their last three baseball games to improve their district record to 4-3 in just eight days. They defeated Dimmitt to get the streak started and then dropped the district leading Abernathy Antelopes 5-1. The Mules traveled to Tulia and also defeated the Hornets 5-1.

Abernathy appeared to be loaded for bear on Tuesday but the Mules knocked the starting pitcher off the mound in the first two innings by scoring five runs. Abernathy’s only run came in the sixth inning but the Mules added two more runs in the bottom half of the sixth.

Nacho Elizalde pitched a complete game and gave up one run on seven hits and stranded six base runners. He struck out 12 batters, walked one and hit no batters. Elizalde only gave up more than one hit in an inning in the sixth when the Lopes scored their run.

Wes Clarkson took the hill at Tulia and pitched six complete innings. He gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven and walked only one. Elizalde relieved him in the top of the seventh inning and hit the first batter he faced. He then struck out three in a row with the last batter going down on a called strike.

The first Abernathy batter got a base hit and then went to second on a wild pitch. Elizalde stuck out the next three to strand the runner at second.

Matt Barron dropped the first pitch he saw into shallow center field for a Texas Leaguer. Nathan Rejino bunted down the third baseline to sacrifice Barron to second. Dustin Smith walked after taking the count full. Barron stole third and Smith took second on a double steal. Danny Campos doubled to left field to score both Barron and Smith to put the Mules on top to stay.  

Elizalde gave up a base hit to the first Lope of the second inning and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second. The next batter walked to Lopes on first and second with one out.

A pop fly did not have to be caught by the Mules as the “Infield Fly Rule” was enforced for the second out. Rejino fielded a ground ball and tossed it to Smith at first for the third out to end the Lope threat.

Elizalde singled to right field in the bottom of the second inning and Clarkson walked on four pitches. Barron’s ground ball through the hole between second and third seemed to have eyes and brought Elizalde home. 

Rejino lined a single to left field to score both Clarkson and Barron to put the Mules up 5-0.

The Lopes scored one run in the top of the sixth inning on back-to-back base hits. It was the only time during the game Abernathy threatened.

The Mules struck first in Tulia on Saturday with Barron reaching on an error by the shortstop. He stole second base on the first pitch to Rejino. Rejino sacrificed Barron to third with a bunt down the third base line. Barron scored on a second error on the shortstop that allowed Smith to reach first base.

Clarkson struck out the first batter with three straight strikes. A pop fly was caught by Mule catch, Smith. Clarkson struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Tulia tripled in the bottom of the second inning and scored on a base hit to tie the game at 1-1 at the end of two innings.

Barron again reached first on an error by the shortstop. Plate interference was called on Rejino when he attempted to bunt and failed to get out of the way of the catcher as he attempted to throw to second on a steal by Barron. Barron was sent back to first base.

An third error on the short stop permitted Beto Diaz to get to first and Barron to go to second. A double to right field by Smith put the Mules in front to stay when both Barron and Diaz scored.

Tulia tried to mount a threat in the bottom of the third inning with a deep fly ball to center field. Elizalde saw the ball come off the bat, turned his back to the plate and raced out toward the fence.

About 10 feet short of the fence he turned around, again found the ball, made an adjustment because of the wind and made a leaping catch. He went to ground but immediately held up his glove with the ball. That snuffed out the Tulia threat.

The Mules tacked two insurance runs in the top of seventh inning. Keagan Gonzales made it to first on an error by the second baseman. A second error by the second baseman put Mules at first and second.

Rejino advanced the runners with a sacrifice ground ball. Smith slashed a ground ball just out of the reach of the first baseman for a single to score both Gonzales and Barron.

The Mules will put their 4-3 district record on the line Thursday when they host the Littlefield Wildcats. The game was scheduled for Tuesday but had to be rescheduled for Thursday because of the Region I Golf Tournament. The Mules are back in action at home on Saturday when the Olton Mustangs visit.   

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