Feb. 20, 2009
Friday: Texas A&M Corpus Christi 13, Lobos 3
Saturday: Noon doubleheader at Isotopes Park
Sunday: Noon single game at Isotopes Park
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- Sports people know this adage well: Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. The New Mexico Lobos baseball team was not the one holding the forks and knives Friday night at Isotopes Park as they were pounded 13-3 by Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
"That's just baseball," said Lobo third baseman Dane Hamilton. "The good thing is that at the end of the game they erase the numbers and you get to start again."
Said Lobo coach Ray Birmingham: "When you have a game like this, it's let's go home, take a shower, get this out of the way and get back in the saddle. We're a better baseball team than this."
The Lobos get another shot at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday and Sunday with games beginning at noon. The Lobos might not want another shot at the Islanders' Roy Ferdin, a lefty with a sneaky slider and nice control around the plate. Ferdin went seven innings for the Islanders allowing five hits and two runs.
"The one thing that kid did was throw a lot of strikes down in the zone," said Birmingham. "When he got ahead, he made you hit his cutter. He had command out there and that's what we didn't have."
The biggest problem for the Lobos Friday was a shaky start from pitcher Ryan Escarcega, who gave up six runs on five hits and one walk. He faced six batters. Birmingham said he was taking a gamble to see if Escarcega could become one of UNM's starters. The Lobos lost their three main starters from 2008.
"The first inning was a roll of the dice," said Birmingham. "We knew it. We took a chance. We had to find out some things early. We knew that starting pitching was our big question. I just think (Escarcega) is more of a guy who should come out of the bullpen."
Escarcega gave up the mound to newcomer Jason Oatman, who was responsible for three more Islander runs in the first inning. UNM was down 9-0 before a Lobo picked up a bat.
"That's tough," said Hamilton, who went 2-for-4 and joined first baseman Kevin Atkinson as the only Lobos with multi-hit games. The Lobos ended with six hits while TAMU-CC totaled 18 hits. "I don't think we got down. We know we have a good team, but it's just tough when you get down that much early."
Said Birmingham: "We had too many guys trying too hard. I think in the later innings we were trying to hit the 9-run homer."
The Lobos picked up two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to trail TAMU-CC 10-2. The Islanders plated a run in the fifth, sixth and eighth to go up 13-2. The Lobos scratched a single run across the plate in the bottom of the ninth to form the 13-3 final.
The Lobos are 0-1 on the young season and the Islanders are 1-0. UNM used five pitchers with Edwin Carl, Brandon Hewett and Joey Castleman coming out of the bullpen to combine to give up two runs on five hits.
"Our bullpen was fine," said Birmingham. "They (Islanders) played perfect baseball today. They had baseballs finding holes and we had baseballs not finding holes. But it's not about Ws right now. It's about figuring it out and finding a team that can win in the end."