RIO RANCHO — Things were going pretty well Thursday for the Clovis High baseball team — until the bottom of the fifth.
Rio Grande erupted for 11 runs in that inning, turning a 6-4 deficit into a 15-6 win in the first round of the Sal Puentes Invitational, hosted by Rio Rancho. The game ended on the eight-run rule when the Raven’s Kenny Giles belted a grand slam home run — still with no one out.
The Wildcats (5-5) are scheduled to face Eldorado (6-5), a 7-4 loser Thursday to Artesia, in an 11 a.m. consolation semifinal today.
Clovis jumped on top with three runs in the first on a two-out single by Parker Wood, an RBI double by Emery Sierra and a two-run homer to left-center by Ricky Sanchez.
The Ravens (8-2), ranked second in Class 5A, got two in the first and two in the second off senior left-hander Branon Gilliard. The Cats regained the lead in the fourth on a double by Jake Burrell, a Rio Grande error, Derrick Bennett’s sacrifice fly, a single by Sebastian Flores with both runners moving up on an outfield error, and a two-run single by Jordan Hill.
Gillard faced three men in the fifth and took the loss. He allowed seven runs — two earned — on eight hits, with three walks and six strikeouts.
“Brandon threw an exceptional game, but we had four errors behind him,” CHS coach Greg Hill said. “We haven’t learned how to play a complete game yet.”
Christian Garris picked up the win for Rio Grande in relief of starter Hector Nevarez.
Sal Puentes/Rio Rancho Invite
Rio Rancho 8, Roswell High 0
Santa Fe High 9, St. Pius 1
Rio Grande 15, Clovis 6
Artesia 7, Eldorado 4
Roswell High vs. St. Pius, 8:30 a.m.
Clovis vs. Eldorado, 11 a.m.
Rio Rancho vs. Santa Fe High, 1:30 p.m.
Rio Grande vs. Artesia, 4 p.m.