Clovis High’s baseball team had its hands full with struggling Alamogordo most of the way on Saturday at Bell Park.
The Wildcats held on, though, to win the opener 4-3, then finally erupted with a 12 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the second game on the 10-run rule with a 12-2 victory.
Senior center fielder Sebastian Flores went 5-for-6 in the doubleheader as the Cats (5-4) collected 22 hits, but didn’t put the Tigers away until late in wrapping up a season-opening nine-game homestand.
“We could look in the mirror and see them,” CHS coach Greg Hill said of the Tigers (1-8), who have been blown out in several of their early games. “But our kids are coming around. We just don’t need to regress now.”
Senior left-hander Brandon Gilliard threw a complete-game five-hitter in the opener, stranding the tying run at third in the seventh with his 14th strikeout of the day. Meantime, Flores’ one-out RBI triple in the sixth gave Clovis a 4-2 lead and proved to be the winning run.
“I knew I had to help my team some way,” said Flores, who generally bats eighth or ninth in the order and is known more for his glovework in the outfield. “I was just trying to put the ball in play.”
Emery Sierra had a game-tying RBI single in the first and Jordan Hill doubled home a run in the second to make it 2-1. Parker Wood singled in the third and eventually scored on a passed ball.
In the nightcap, Tigers sophomore right-hander Ethan Hurt pitched four shutout innings, but unraveled in the fifth after an infield single by Jordan Jacobs and a double by Matt Marez put runners in scoring position with no outs.
The Cats ended up sending 15 men to the plate, helped by three Alamo errors, and ended the game on Wood’s two-run double to left-center. Wood and Flores each had two hits in the inning.
Tigers coach Leo Garcia said his team can build on the outings.
“The kids came together,” he said. “We played well. The first game we had them on the ropes, and the second game I don’t know what hit us.
“I guess they (Cats) hit us,” he quipped.
Senior Lane Drake threw five solid innings for the win, allowing five hits and one earned run with one walk and five strikeouts.
“Our pitching was really good; they made very few mistakes today,” Greg Hill said of Gilliard and Drake. “Both of them competed and battled, and that’s what you have to have.”
Jacobs went 2-for-3 in both games, and had a triple in each one.
The Cats face one of Class 5A’s top teams, Rio Grande, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the of the Sal Puentes Invitational at Rio Rancho, and the sweep gives them a little boost.
“I honestly think we can beat anybody,” Flores said. “We’ve just got to be disciplined and keep working hard.”