USAF ACADMEY, Colo. – The University of New Mexico baseball team dropped a 5-0 decision to Air Force Saturday afternoon at Falcon Field.
The Falcons scored a two-out run in the first and added two more with two down in the fourth to take a quick 3-0 lead. Single runs in the sixth and the seventh finished out the scoring.
The Lobos had several chances to break the ice, getting two men on in the third and fourth, but a double play ended each threat. In the eighth UNM get two men on with two outs for Chase Harris. He smashed a pitch that easily cleared the wall in left, but it was well foul. Two pitches later he hit a hard liner, but it was right at the Falcons’ shortstop who snagged it for the final out.
Things also got interesting in the ninth. UNM loaded the bases with two down for pinch hitter Lane Milligan. He worked the count full before hitting a hard grounder to the hole between first and second. Air Force’s second baseman made a nice play and threw over to first just ahead of the diving Milligan to end the game.
Air Force's Griffin Jax was excellent in the complete game for the Falcons. He walked just one and struck out six while throwing 87 of his 126 pitches for strikes. He was a 12th-round selection in last year's MLB Draft and somebody the Lobos wanted out of high school.
"That kid is a great pitcher," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. "We lost the recruiting battle to Air Force and we knew it would come back to bite us, and it did."
Aaron Siple had a solid day for the Lobos. He recorded one of UNM’s four hits, made five putouts in center, including a number of fine running catches, and threw out a runner at the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Alex Real, John Pustay and Danny Collier recorded the other three hits for the Lobos, who saw their streak of 78 straight games with at least six hits come to an end. It also ended UNM’s streak of 10 straight games with 10 or more hits, and Sam Haggerty saw his team-high 13-game hitting streak come to an end as well.
Starter Colton Thomson allowed five runs, all earned, on five hits and three walks in 6.0 innings. He struck out three. Tyler Gibson held the Falcons scoreless in two innings of relief.
The rubber match will be at noon Sunday. Senior righty Josh Walker will get the start on the mound in search of career win No. 23. Fans can watch the game live at www.golobos.com.
Notes: Air Forces head coach, Mike Kazlausky, was ejected in the top of the ninth for arguing a call at first base.