(NCTC’s Clay Stevens slides safely into second for a stolen base in Game 3 before NMMI shortstop Rudy Solis can apply the tag. Photo courtesy of Shutternut)
Peter Dindinger – NMMI Sports Press
For the second weekend in a row, the New Mexico Military Institute Broncos were able to come up with another series split.
After suffering a brutal 10-0 loss in five innings to the North Central Texas College Lions in Game 3, NMMI turned the tables in Game 4 after overcoming an 8-8 tie to hold on for a 13-10 win.
The Lions (4-2) are projected to finish fourth in a competitive North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference.
“We’re not ecstatic about the split. They made us pay on some mistakes just like yesterday,” said NMMI head coach Chris Cook. “We needed to come up with a few more hits. We could’ve expanded the lead in Game 4.
“We got to their bullpen by getting their pitch count up early. There’s no shame in splitting early in the season.”
NMMI (4-4) tallied only two hits in Game 3. The NCTC pitching staff combined for seven strikeouts in the shutout victory.
NCTC cut the deficit to one run, but NMMI later extended its lead after a two-run home run by Hunter Roquemore in the third.
The game then turned into a home run derby as Kalen Clark hit a solo shot for the Lions in the fourth. Rance Rosas then hit a solo homer in the fifth to cut the deficit back down to one run.
A throwing error by the NCTC catcher allowed Jesh Leckey to score in the sixth to give the Broncos a two-run lead.
Cody Seltzer gave the Lions an 8-6 lead in the top of the seventh with a three-run home run.
NMMI rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Leckey gave his team a 9-8 lead with a sacrifice fly that brought in Cody McGaha.
Holding on to a 10-8 lead, the Broncos added some insurance runs by scoring three in the bottom of the eighth. To highlight the inning, Victor Jimenez had a blooper that fell in for a RBI single and Josh Crabtree drove in McGaha on a sacrifice fly.
NCTC tried to make things interesting in the top of the ninth as Kaddin Mikulik hit a two-run home run to cut the deficit to three.
Jose Cabanillas got the start for the Broncos in Game 4 allowing five hits and striking out five batters in 5 1/3 innings.
Crabtree finished 2 for 4 with a single, double, two walks and an RBI while Martin went 3 for 5 with three singles.
McGaha scored twice after finishing 2 for 3 with a single, double, two walks and an RBI. Paulino reached base four times going 1 for 3 with a double, two walks and two RBIs.
NMMI narrowly outhit the Lions, 13-10.
The Broncos travel to Albuquerque next weekend where they will play four games in three days beginning with Dodge City Community College at 2 p.m. Friday.
“We’re going to need to get quality outings out of our starters because we’re going to play another four games in three days in tough conditions,” Cook said. “Weather wise, I’m expecting it to be pretty chilly. We’re gonna have to get up there and compete.”