April 25, 2008
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--The University of New Mexico baseball team kept it close through eight against No. 16 UC Irvine, but couldn't pull out the victory, falling 5-3 Friday night at Isotopes Park. The Lobos are now 27-17 on the season, while the Anteaters improve to 26-10.
"The kids busted their butt. They did a super job. They should have beat the No. 16 team in the country. I will take all the personal responsibility for the loss. It's my fault and it won't happen again," Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham said. "As a new Division I coach, I learned a lot from that ball club today. We had a chance to score more runs. Right now the breaks aren't going our way and we want to win really bad, but you just have to keep plugging. I am not ashamed of the kids. The loss hurts, but Irvine is a very good club and it made me a better coach tonight.I will come out and be a better coach tomorrow."
Senior southpaw Bobby LaFromboise had a shaky first inning, surrendering two runs, but settled down to blank the Anteaters until the seventh when Eric Deragisch tied the score at 3-all with an RBI single. LaFromboise, who didn't factor into the decision, pitched seven strong innings, allowing 10 hits and two earned runs while fanning six.
The Anteaters jumped on the board early, plating two in the first with a Ben Orloff RBI double and a sacrifice fly courtesy of Francis Larson.
The Lobos responded with two of their own in the bottom of the frame. Second baseman Mike Brownstein poked a single up the middle to lead off the inning. Ian Hollick reached on an error in an attempted sacrifice bunt to give the Lobos runners on first and second with no outs. Matt Hibbitts followed suit with a bunt of his own, also to be misplayed by the Anteaters to plate Brownstein and cut the score to 2-1. Brian Cavazos-Galvez loaded the bases for the Lobos with a bunt single, bringing up Kevin Atkinson, who scored Hollick on a fielder's choice groundout to knot the score at 2-2 after one.
Both LaFromboise and UC Irvine starter Scott Gorgen (8-2) would cruise through the next three innings before the Lobos added another run in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead. Designated hitter Drew McDonald singled to start the inning, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Scott Gracey, and came around to score on a single to right by Hollick.
After shutting down the Anteaters on 11 pitches in the eighth, closer Clinton Cox (2-1) struggled in the ninth, giving up three consecutive singles and an RBI double to give the Anteaters a 5-3 lead.
The Lobos had opportunities to take the lead before the ninth, but crafty defense from the Anteaters ended two potential threats. In the seventh with two outs and a runner on third, Hollick lined the ball right at UC Irvine shortstop Ben Orloff, who snagged it to rob Hollick of an RBI single. One inning later, in the bottom of the eighth, the Anteaters pulled off the hidden ball trick to get Hibbitts, the go-ahead run, out at third with one down.
Gorgen earned the win pitching eight innings with six hits, three runs, two earned, and four strikeouts. Eric Pettis entered in the ninth to retire the Lobos 1-2-3, earning his 10th save on the season.
Hollick, Hibbitts and Atkinson provided the Lobo RBI, while all six Lobo hits came from six different starters.
The Lobos and Anteaters will square-off again tomorrow, Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. at Isotopes Park. Senior lefty Jacob Norton (5-2) will toe the slab for UNM against Bryce Stowell (4-2).