NMMI Sports Press
The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco baseball team split Saturday's doubleheader vs. conference opponent Odessa College, to go 1-3 against the WJCAC's top-ranked Wranglers during a two-day, four-game series at the NMMI Ballpark.
After dropping both games on Friday, 9-2 and 11-3, NMMI's pitching and defense found a way to slow down the hot bats of Odessa on Day 2.
They lost a close 4-3 contest in Saturday's opener, then saw their own offense get hot, pounding Wrangler pitching for nine hits and eight runs to win the nightcap, 8-0.
Starting pitcher Tyler Hardwick got the complete-game shutout win for the Institute, earning his fourth 'W' of the season, tallying six strikeouts over seven innings in Game 4.
"We pitched it well enough to win both games today," said head Bronco coach Chris Cook.
"Odessa is hitting over .400 as a team. And [Jadon] Archuleta didn't pitch a perfect game, but he pitched well enough to eliminate the damage," explained coach Cook about NMMI's Game 3 starter. "They didn't score more than one run in any inning."
Archuleta went five innings on the mound, giving up five hits and three runs – two of which were earned – with one strike out and one walk.
"Hardwick gave up just four hits, two of which were big-hop singles," said Cook. "So he pitched a heck of a game, against one of the best offensive teams in the country."
"All-in-all, outside of one or two innings, I thought we pitched extremely well this weekend," continued Cook. "But on the flip side, they did the same back to us. We just didn't get as many two-out or two-strike hits as they did, especially with runners in scoring position. So they were able to take three of the four games."
Cook was also pleased with how his team battled at the plate. "We didn't have a ton of hits this weekend, but he had some guys have some quality at-bats that hadn't been getting a lot of reps. We're dinged up quite a bit offensively, so we've got a lot of new bodies in the lineup, moving guys around.
"Horn is just a hitter," continued Cook about his freshman outfielder who went 3-for-9 this weekend with four RBIs, including a solo homerun in Game 3.
Sophomore DH JoJo Escarsega hit .600, 3-for-5 at the plate with a double; and sophomore first baseman Michel Hinojos also had a trio of hits (3-for-7) with two runs and an RBI.
"I'm hoping that the Game 4 win helps us get some momentum as we go into another home series against Frank Phillips next week," finished Cook. "Hopefully we can build from there and keep playing better as the season moves towards its end."