March 13, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Lobos lost a tough game to the New Mexico State Aggies by a score of 6-2 Tuesday night in front of 1,635 fans at Isotopes Park.
The game was a story of who could take more advantage of what was given to them by the other team. And, unfortunately for the Lobos, the Aggies were the team that took advantage. Despite having 17 men reach base, including each starter, the Lobos couldn't get that clutch hit that to help them win the game.
The final three innings told the story for the Lobos. They had the leadoff man walk in each frame, but couldn't manage a single hit.
"I thought our hitters were very undisciplined," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said.
UNM opened the scoring in the first. Ben Woodchick led off with a walk and stole second. He advanced to third on an infield single by John Pustay. After Pustay was caught stealing, DJ Peterson knocked in Woodchick with an infield single to third.
Woodchick walked three times and also stole another base, giving him six on the season, which is a new career high. He only had four career steals coming into the season.
The Lobos second run came in the third. Peterson led off with a walk. Josh Melendez singled to right, sending him to third. After a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Stiner, Mitchell Garver grounded to third. Peterson, who was running on contact, was thrown out at home on a perfect play by Aggie third baseman Robert Lecount. With Ryan Padilla at the plate, Garver stole second and Melendez stole home on a double steal. It was the second time Melendez has stolen home this season, doing so against UTSA on Feb. 25.
Aggies' starter, Casey Collins, shut the Lobos down the rest of the way. He wasn't over-powering, but he was effectively wild. He allowed only two hits over the next four innings, despite walking seven men overall. Scott Coffman pitched the final two innings without allowing a hit to earn his third save.
"They locate the ball pretty well," Garver said. "They kept us off-balance with their off-speed, and we didn't do what we usually do, which is hit to the opposite field."
The Lobos best chance came in the seventh when they loaded the bases with three walks and had only one out. Melendez, though, hit a sharp groundball right at NMSU second baseman Parker Hipp, and the Aggies turned a slick double play to end the threat.
After UNM starter Jake McCasland allowed three runs, two earned, in only one and one-third innings, the bullpen kept the hot-hitting Aggies at bay for most of the game as Bobby Mares, Will Mathis, and Alexis Garza combined to throw six shutout innings. Gabe Aguilar and Brandon Ward-Hersee, however, couldn't keep it up as the NMSU came through with some clutch hitting.
"New Mexico State is a great offensive team," Birmingham said. "We pitched, at times, well, but we have to have those guys to pitch.
"Pretty much everybody did what they were supposed to do except a couple of kids."
In the eighth the Aggies had an identical situation that the Lobos faced in the bottom of the seventh: bases loaded and one out. But Tanner Rust came through with a two-run double to right-center to increase New Mexico Stat's lead to 5-2 and making the outcome all but official.
The Lobos open Mountain West play this weekend as San Diego State comes to Isotopes Park for a three-game set. Game one is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m.
"We're looking forward to this weekend and trying to sweep San Diego State," Garver said.