ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – All season the UNM pitching staff has worked at minimizing damage, but Saturday against the San Jose State Spartans the Lobos (15-8-1, 5-3) were unable to work their magic as they saw their six-game winning streak come to an end with an 8-5 loss.
"You can't take one pitch off, and we had guys take pitches off today," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said.
The Spartans (7-17, 4-7) recorded nine of their 16 hits while behind in the count as they scored three in both the second and sixth innings, and a single run in the third and seventh frames. Hitting only .239 as a team coming into the game, SJSU set a new season high for hits in a game as Lobo pitchers were just unable to finish the Spartan hitters.
"I told (the team) yesterday that it was going to be a war today, and we helped make it that," Birmingham said.
After falling behind 4-0 after three, the Lobos rallied to tie the game with a single run in the fourth and three in the fifth.
Danny Collier and Chase Harris led off the fourth with singles. Collier scored on Alex Real’s fielder’s choice to get UNM on the board.
The fifth also started with back-to-back singles, this time by Jared Holley and Andre Vigil. Aaron Siple then drove Holley in with a sacrifice fly to center. Sam Haggerty followed with a single to right to send Vigil to third. Collier walked to load the bases for Harris, who smoked the first pitch he saw to right for a two-run single that tied the game.
The Spartans, though, retook the lead for good the very next inning as they chased starter Colton Thomson (2-3), who allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings.
"He left the ball up too much, and he got crushed," Birmingham said.
Trailing 8-4 in the seventh, Collier drove home Siple with a double down the left-field line, but with two men on Real was thrown out at first by a step to end the threat.
The Lobos then had a glorious chance to crawl closer in the eighth inning, but with the bases loaded Haggerty popped out to second in shallow center to end the frame.
"We didn't do the things today that we've been doing for the last (six) games in a row," Harris said.
Harris led the Lobos with three hits and two RBIs while Collier, Vigil and Jack Zoellner all had two hits apiece.
The rubber match will be Sunday afternoon at 1 at Lobo Field. Fans are asked to please park in the Baseball South dirt lot and admission will be free for everyone attending. The game will be streamed live at GoLobos.com and broadcast by ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team. Senior Josh Walker will get the start on the mound for UNM.
"We've got Walker on the bump, and he's going to do his thing," Harris said. "We're going to come out and fight like we normally do. It's just frustrating when we don't come out like that every game."
Notes: Collier’s double was his second of the season … Thomson and relievers Jake Cole and Tyler Gibson combined to not walk a single batter as they threw 101 of their 134 pitches for strikes.