April 24, 2012
ALBUQUERUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico baseball team saw its five-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday night in front of 1,596 fans at Isotopes Park. The Lobos (22-19) fell 9-5 to the visiting Texas Tech Red Raiders (23-20), who won for only the third time on the road this season.
The loss dropped the Lobos to 1-6 on Tuesday games.
“It’s a difficult thing, mid-week games for the home team,” UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. “But we still could’ve pitched a lot better.”
Rudy Jaramillo suffered the loss to drop to 4-3. He allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits in four and one-third innings. Four of those runs came in the third after the Lobos had taken a one-run lead in the bottom of the second.
Every time the Lobos scored a run and closed the gap it seemed like the Red Raiders had an answer for it. UNM scored one run in each of the second through fifth innings, and four times Texas Tech answered back with at least one run in the very next half-inning.
The Red Raiders managed to do all of their damage with the top of their lineup. Each of the first five hitters had two hits, with their six hitter, Stephen Hagan, also chipping in with a big two-run double in the seventh. The bottom three hitters in their lineup were a combined 0-11, but the Red Raiders didn’t need them to contribute on this night.
Five Lobos had at least two hits, and the team pounded out 15, but they couldn’t get that clutch hit when they needed it most and get a big inning.
“Guys took at bats off,” Birmingham said. “They got big when they should have stayed short. When they stayed short they hit the ball really hard, and then their next at bat was a different approach at the plate.
“We’re going to swing the bats. We got 15 hits tonight, we just didn’t get any when we needed them.”
Mitchell Garver and Trey Porras each went 3-4 with a run scored, and Garver hit his fifth home run of the season and added two RBI. Ben Woodchick, DJ Peterson, and Alex Allbritton were the others with two hits for the Lobos.
“It was good to get some pitchers in there, like (Alex) Estrella, (Jake) McCasland, and Hobie (McClain),” Garver said. “That’s what was important to see those guys come in and throw strikes and get the job done because we’re going to need them when it comes down to a conference game.
“When it comes down to the conference we’re going to be a lot more experienced.”
Garver started his 13th game of the season as the leadoff hitter. In those games he is batting .393 (24-61) with 12 runs, five doubles, a home run, eight RBI, and a .456 on-base percentage.
Injuries to players such as Josh Melendez and Woodchick forced Birmingham to put Garver there out of necessity, but his star catcher is thriving.
“I love it, it’s a great position to be in,” Garver said. “It’s kind of a good mix as I can hit for power, I can hit for average, and I can run a little bit as a catcher.”
Garver has multiple hits in seven of his past eight games, and he believes his new spot in the lineup is partially responsible.
“You’ll get more fastballs in an at bat, and it kind of changes the opponent’s mentality of how they pitch to you as a leadoff batter,” he said. “But we’ve got eight guys behind me who can hit the ball.”
The two teams meet Wednesday afternoon at Isotopes Park for their fourth and final meeting this season. The Lobos will look to win the season series with junior Sam Wolff on the mound. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. (MT) and fans can listen to the game live on ESPN 101.7 The Team.