Feb. 25, 2011
Sophomore catcher Mitchell Garver drove in all three runs for the University of New Mexico, but it wasn't enough as UNM dropped a 4-3 decision to Creighton in the opener of a four-game weekend baseball series at Isotopes Park.
UNM is 0-5 for the first time since 2001 when it lost its first six games. Creighton improves to 4-1.
Tied at 3-3, the Bluejays pushed across the decisive run in the sixth when LF Erik Mattingly reached UNM starter Gera Sanchez (0-2) for a two-out, two-strike double down the right-field line to score SS Jimmy Swift from third.
Sanchez allowed four runs over seven innings.
Creighton starter Ty Blach (2-0) got the win, yielding three runs in five innings. Blach was bolstered by a stellar Bluejays' bullpen as three relievers held UNM to just two singles over the final four innings.
Reese McGraw picked up his first save of the season by pitching around PH Quay Grant's leadoff single in the ninth. McGraw fanned 1B Trey Porras then coaxed CF Sam Wilson into a game-ending double play.
The Lobos jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on Garver's 2-run triple to right center that scored 2B Kyle Stiner and 3B DJ Peterson. DH John Michael Twichell walked to put runners on first and third with one out, but Blach struck out 1B Jacob Nelson and got SS Alex Allbritton on a grounder to short to end the inning without further damage.
UNM had runners on second and third with two outs in the second, but Peterson struck out to end the inning. The Lobos stranded six, all in the first five innings.
"We lost the game in the first three innings," said UNM head coach Ray Birmingham. "We had the lefty (Blach) on the ropes early, but guys started betting big swings. We only had five strikeouts, but they were big ones."
Sanchez cruised through the first four innings, facing just one batter over the limit. He was helped by inning-ending double plays in the second and third.
The Bluejays, however, finally got to Sanchez in the fifth.
Mattingly walked to start the inning, and scored on a double by 2B Alex Staehely. Sanchez fanned CF Mike Gerber, but 3B Chance Ross tied the score at 2-2 with a triple to the gap in deep right center. The Bluejays took the lead when Ross scored on a one-out groundout by C Anthony Bemboom.
The Lobos tied it at 3-3 in their half of the fifth when Garver knocked in Peterson with a double to left center. However, a potential scoring opportunity was lost when Garver was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
Garver went 2-for-4 on the afternoon while Peterson scored two runs. Staehely had two hits for Creighton.
The Lobos and Bluejays play a doubleheader Saturday at Isotopes Park starting at 12 noon. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team.