May 14, 2004
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The New Mexico baseball team remained in second place in the Mountain West Conference with an 8-5 victory over Air Force Friday night at Isotopes Park. The Lobos, playing at home for the first time since April 3, have now won five consecutive games at their new ballpark.
Jason Fernandez earned his team-leading seventh win of the season after throwing 7 2/3 innings. Fernandez (7-5) struck out three, scattered six hits and allowed four runs. Joe Salas got the final four outs of the game to collect his fifth save of the season.
New Mexico (20-25-1, 16-9 Mountain West) scored an unearned run in the first, but fell behind 3-1 as Air Force put up three runs in the second. The Lobos bounced back as Matt Foote doubled in a run in the second, and went ahead 5-3 with three runs - one scored on a balk and the other two were unearned - in the third.
The score remained the same until the Falcons (5-39, 0-20 Mountain West) cut the margin to 5-4 with a run in the eighth.
UNM added some insurance in the bottom half of the inning with three runs. After Chris Dabbs scored from second on a Foote bunt single, Ryan Barba scored the game's most exciting run by stealing home. The Lobos attempted to steal home in the third inning, but Dabbs was thrown out. This time, Barba hustled down the line and slid around Falcon catcher Jon Polston for Barba's third stolen base of the season. A.J. Spitaleri hit an RBI groundout to knock in Foote on the next play.
Spitaleri and Salas each collected two hits for UNM.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Isotopes Park.