Freedom New Mexico
It’s not often at the high school level that you can win two games with a grand total of eight hits.
Behind junior right-handers David Rodriguez and Stephen Sampson, the Portales Rams turned that trick on Saturday with a 2-0, 7-3 District 4-3A sweep of Ruidoso at Ram Field.
Rodriguez tossed a two-hit shutout in the opener, walking two and striking out five. The Rams (11-9, 5-3 district) scored the game’s only runs in the bottom of the third on an error and an RBI single by A.J. Marquez.
Ruidoso’ Kayle Frierson was also impressive, allowing just five hits in taking the loss.
In the second game, first baseman Ryan Schmidt followed a walk to Brendan Lovato with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, putting Portales ahead for good. The Rams, who had just three hits off three Warriors pitchers, took advantage of seven walks, a hit batsman and three Ruidoso errors and opened a 7-1 margin with three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth.
Sampson, filling in for the injured James Salgado, pitched into the seventh inning before giving way to Zach Blaeser with the bases loaded and no one out.
“Sampson came in an did an excellent job for us,” Rams coach Arturo Ontiveros said. “He pitched as good as he could have. It was huge for us for him to step in and get a win.”
Meantime, Rodriguez pitched his first career shutout in the opener.
“David has a chance to win every game,” Ontiveros said. “He’s got good command of his fastball.”
It was the first doubleheader sweep in the three-team district. Lovington needs to sweep Tuesday’s twin bill at Ruidoso (8-11, 2-4) to knock the Rams out of the top spot.
Meantime, Portales continues its homestand with a 4 p.m. twin bill on Tuesday against Texico.