March 24, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico Baseball team lost a hard fought game to TCU by a score of 5-4 in front of 1,934 fans at Isotopes Park Saturday afternoon. It was the second-straight one-run game between the two teams in the series.
The Horned Frogs and Lobos entered the ninth inning with the score tied at 4-4. Bobby Mares was on the bump for the Lobos in the inning. The Horned Frogs ended up scoring a run in the inning even though Mares ended up striking out the side. The inning was odd in that sense because Mares had the leadoff runner reach first base due to a wild pitch on the third strike. And, unfortunately for Mares that runner would score the winning run off a bunt single by TCU’s Brett Johnson.
Even though the Lobos lost in the ninth, head coach Ray Birmingham believed the game was lost early on.
“The game was lost in the first part of the game,” Birmingham said. “They didn’t have many hits and they had four runs. It was all walks and stolen bases.”
The Lobos had the bottom of the ninth to make a comeback bid like they did the night before, but it wasn’t in the cards, as UNM went down in order.
Lobo starter Austin House had trouble finding his rhythm early, but the La Cueva High School product settled down and ended up turning in a respectable afternoon on the mound for the Lobos. House let two runs cross the plate in the first inning when TCU’s Kyle Von Tungeln was driven in on a Josh Elander groundout, and Jason Coats scored on a wild pitch. The Horned Frogs also added a run in the second to up their lead to 3-0.
“Austin got a little fired up about this game and quit paying attention to the base runners and tried to trick them with some change ups and gave up four in the first three innings,” Birmingham said.
UNM didn’t let the early deficit linger, however, as the Lobos struck back in the second when Mitchell Garver blasted a two-run homer into left to bring the Lobos within one of the Horned Frogs, 3-2. Garver finished the day going 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs.
“That’s a good team and everyone knows it,” Garver said of TCU. “I think we showed today that we can compete with these guys and that we are as good, if not better.”
After TCU extended its lead to 4-2 in the fourth, the Lobos struck back once again – this time to tie the game up at four all. UNM got RBI singles form both Alex Allbritton and Kyle Stiner to get itself back into the game.
The Lobos just couldn’t find an answer after scoring their fourth run. TCU used three relief pitchers to shut UNM out the rest of the way. Nick Frey, Justin Scharf and Kevin Allen ended up throwing six shutout innings for the Horned Frogs to effectively defeat the Lobos.
UNM and TCU are now tied atop the Mountain West standings with identical 4-1 conference records. The Lobos fall to 9-11 overall with the loss.
Tomorrow’s rubber match will have a 1 p.m. MT start and will feature senior lefty Rudy Jaramillo on the mound for the Lobos.