Peter Dindinger – NMMI Sports Press
Behind six hits, the New Mexico Military Institute Colt baseball team did just enough to edge out the Ruidoso Warriors, 6-3, on Monday afternoon at NMMI Ballpark.
The Colt pitching staff tallied 13 strikeouts while allowing four hits.
NMMI starter Jose Carranza struck out eight batters in three innings of work, allowing just two hits. Luke Taylor came in for relief allowing two hits with five strikeouts.
“We’re pleased, I think. We’re real proud of pitching. Carranza did a great job, Taylor pitched a 180 from Hatch,” said NMMI head coach Charlie Ward. “We knew the senior (Taylor) would step up.
“We’re playing decent defense. We got sloppy in the end, but you got to give credit to Ruidoso making those plays right there.”
NMMI (3-0) pushed across four runs in the bottom of the first after Jose Barcelo hit an RBI single and Martin Ayon drove in two runs with a triple.
Ayon later scored on a ground out to short by Caleb Eisenhower to complete the rally.
The Warriors didn’t tally a hit until the top of the third when David Klein-Kinnick singled. Ruidoso left eight runners stranded in the game.
After four scoreless innings, the Warriors finally got on the board in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Dalton Trapp.
NMMI added on two insurance runs in the bottom half of the frame after Barcelo drove in Carranza on a sacrifice fly to right and Ayon hit and RBI ground out to bring in Taylor.
Ruidoso (0-5) threatened in the final inning by scoring two runs on an error by the first baseman and an RBI ground out by Gage Guardiola.
Ayon finished 1 for 3 with a triple and three RBIs while Barcelo went 1 for 2 with a single and two RBIs.
Caleb Eisenhower tallied a single and an RBI to go 1 for 3 and Alejandro Barcenas hit a single and a double to finish 2 for 4.
Ruidoso’s Xavier Otero finished 2 for 3 with two singles. Kinnick and Trapp each went 1 for 4 with a single.
Although it may be early in the season, but the Colts have shown some strong qualities. They hope to continue their positive momentum Thursday as they host Capitan at 4 p.m.
“It shows being able to set the tempo. We expect to win. We got it done today,” Taylor said about winning at home. “Hopefully on Thursday versus Capitan we get the same job done.
“There’s always room to work. We need to hit the ball more. We’re a good team together and we bond together. We communicate and that’s the main thing about baseball.”
NMMI won its season opener over Hatch 11-2 and 18-10. The expectations are high, just like always, for Colt baseball. There’s still a lot of room for improvement as the season gets deeper.
“We’re excited after winning our first two games at Hatch. We won our first game at home,” Ward said. “It’s just getting better and better, learning each other. It’s gonna be a fun group.
“We’re only gonna get better. We got a lot of work still.”