Sunday afternoon was one for rallies that fell just short.
New Mexico Highlands baseball and softball teams both erased sizable deficits with late-game heroics only to come up shy.
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Coach Steve Jones’ Cowboys (7-8 overall, 3-5 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) spotted Nebraska-Kearney an 11-0 lead through two innings, then battled back to eventually make it a one-run margin at 13-12 going into the ninth.
But the Lopers — one of Highlands’ main rivals in the RMAC postseason in recent history — added an insurance run before holding the Cowboys scoreless in the bottom of the ninth.
The loss gives NMHU an even split of the four-game series. UNK won the series opener 14-4 on Friday, and the Cowboys swept Saturday’s doubleheader 1-0 and 4-2.
Andrew Haake led the Lopers, going 4 of 6 with one RBI and two runs. Patrick Oliver went 3 for 5 with three RBI and two runs.
Luis Saenz, one of 11 men to hit safely for NMHU, was 2 for 2 and drove in four runs.
Jason Sirak, who was RMAC Pitcher of the Week last week, fell to 1-2 after allowing six earned runs on six hits in one-third of an inning.
The Cowboys fell behind 9-0 through the first frame. They scored five in the third, one in the sixth and three each in the seventh and eighth.
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Highlands’ Cowgirls (4-17, 1-11 RMAC) trailed Adams State 8-3 before scoring four runs in their final at-bats, the bottom of the seventh inning.
Grizzly pitcher Sarah Lindquist (10-2 on the mound this year) and teammates managed to prevent the tying run when Roxanne Avalos flied out to right field.
Natasha Reyes led Highlands, going 4 for 5 with two runs and one RBI. Amanda Beauchamp and Kristy Partridge collected two hits apiece, and Avalos and Ashley Paiz drove in two runs each. Paiz was tagged with the pitching loss.
Lindquist helped her own cause, hitting 3 for 5 with one run and three RBI; fellow Grizzly Katelyn Lovato was 3 for 5 with two runs and one RBI.
Earlier Sunday NMHU lost 5-0, as Lovato held the Cowgirls to four hits — two by Samantha Butler. The Grizzlies swept the four-game series to improve to 14-7 overall and 8-4 in league play.