TEXICO — Those big innings have been killing Texico lately.
On Saturday, the Wolverines gave up 15 runs in one inning en route to a District 3-2A doubleheader loss to Tucumcari. On Monday, it was a 14-run third which did them in during a 22-8 setback against Portales, shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
Both teams are in a busy stretch — Portales (15-4) is playing eight games in eight days while the Wolverines (7-10) have seven in seven. The teams meet again at 4 p.m. on Thursday in Portales.
“I think we did some good things,” Texico coach Ty Thatcher said. “We’re just trying to learn how to fight through that tough inning we seem to have every game.”
The Rams put together five consecutive one-out hits to score four times in the first, but Texico started to chip away with single runs in the first and second before the roof fell in.
Portales, which finished with 20 hits, batted around twice in the third inning, combining nine hits, six walks and two Wolverines errors to open an 18-2 bulge.
Junior left-hander Daniel Zapata, making his first varsity start, survived his own rocky third in which Texico took advantage of three walks and three errors to plate six runs.
Zapata went the five-inning distance, allowing nine hits and striking out six while throwing around 100 pitches.
“We didn’t play as clean a game as we’d have liked,” Rams coach Arturo Ontiveros said. “I’m hoping we’re getting some confidence hitting the ball. We hit some balls to the right side today, which helps a bunch.”
Senior first baseman Ryan Schmidt, senior shortstop David Rodriguez and freshman catcher Matt Martinez all had three hits for Portales. Rodriguez and junior designated hitter Zach Blaeser each drove in three runs, while senior Brandon Lovato knocked in four with a two-run double, a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly.
Eleven players had at least one hit for the Rams.
“Portales is a good ballclub,” Thatcher said. “You have to play well to beat them.”
Second baseman Jonah Walls and right fielder Mitchell Pinnell each went 2-for-3 for Texico.
Both teams have 4 p.m. outings on tap today — the Rams hosting Roswell Goddard in a non-district twin bill, while the Wolverines play a single district game at Clayton.