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Cowboys dash past ‘Runners

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Winning three of four over the weekend against Metro State in the regular-season finale pushed New Mexico Highlands’ baseball team over the coveted 30-win threshold.

It’s become a common milestone for Steve Jones-led teams.

Bigger prizes await for this one, which finished the regular season 31-18 overall, 28-11 in league play and 16-7 at Brandt Park.

The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament begins this week in Grand Junction, Colo.

Cowboys 9, Roadrunners 8
Highlands never trailed in this nine-inning battle after putting three runs up in the first inning on Friday.

But the Cowboy faithful on hand at Brandt Park were in nailbiting mode anyway after Metro hit a pair of solo home runs in each of the last two innings to pull within one run.

Tyler Hayes hit 3 for 3 with a double, and five fellow Cowboys had two hits apiece.

Matthew Chavez accounted for three runs batted in, including an RBI triple that got the NMHU offense started for what turned out to be a productive weekend.

That helped starter Blake Harrison improve his pitching record to 6-2. Harrison, who worked seven innings, struck out six but also allowed six earned runs on 15 hits and two walks.

Darryl Baca and Gavin Purvis each went 4 for 5 to pace the Roadrunners.

Roadrunners 2, Cowboys 0
Ryan Baca’s lights-out pitching performance was the story in Friday’s nightcap.

Baca scattered four hits and two walks over seven complete innings in shutting out the prolific Cowboy offense.

Nick Gonzales accounted for half of Highlands’ four hits.

This one stayed scoreless through four frames. Metro’s Zac Baldini scored on a sacrifice fly by Baca in the top of the fifth to end the stalemate. The Roadrunners added a run courtesy of Baca’s RBI double in the sixth.

Greg Hansen fell to 7-4 after holding the visitors to six hits.

Cowboys 11, Roadrunners 10, 9 innings
Gonzales darted home and Hayes reached thanks to a Metro miscue, and it gave the Cowboys a walk-off win after a nip-and-tuck thriller.

Metro had led 4-0 midway through the fourth before Highlands rallied with five runs in the bottom of the frame.

Metro reclaimed the lead with two scores in the top of the fifth, before Highlands answered with two for a 7-6 edge.

The Roadrunners tied it 7-7 when Chris Spirek made it home off a Baldini sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh.

Back-to-back RBI triples by Jarred Middleton and Jordan Goliat helped put the Cowboys ahead 10-7 in the eighth.

Metro extended the game, however, exploiting a throwing error after a grounder to the pitcher and rallying for three runs.

Chavez was 3 for 4; Goliat had four RBI.

Cowboys 6, Roadrunners 2
A five-run second inning that included RBI doubles by Justin Rodriguez and Cole Davis, gave NMHU all it needed on offense.

Erick McRae (3-3)went the distance on the mound, allowing seven hits and two earned runs.

Metro State fell to 14-29, 12-26.