March 18, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- For the second night in a row, the University of New Mexico baseball team made its case for national recognition with a 9-6 win over No. 3 Texas A&M (13-7) at Olsen Field on Wednesday night. The Lobos, now 18-3, received votes in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll earlier this week and is expected to make a move into the other five national baseball polls with the two wins in College Station.
"We still have a long way to go, but I tip my hat to my coaching staff," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "These kids work hard and things are starting to happen. But believing that is the big thing and they are starting to believe."
After going down 1-2-3 in the first inning, New Mexico took a 4-0 lead in the top of the second on four consecutive hits by Rafael Neda, Ryan Honeycutt, Kevin Atkinson and Brian Cavazos-Galvez to get things going. Neda and Honeycutt scored the first two runs, while Atkinson scored on an Aggie throwing error and Cavazos-Galvez scored on a Daniel Gonzalez sacrifice fly to center field.
The Lobos picked up one more run in the top of the third when Neda scored a second time on a Cavazos-Galvez single, building the UNM lead to 5-0.
In the fifth inning, Atkinson scored on a Gonzalez two-out single, 6-0. Gonzalez scored one batter later on an Aggie error to put UNM up 7-0.
Lobo starter Edwin Carl held A&M scoreless for four and a third innings before being lifted for reliever Jason Oatman. Carl gave up just two hits and one walk while striking out two. Oatman (3-1) threw for two and a third innings to earn his third win of the season.
Oatman gave up three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning before giving way to Will Kerr who got the last out of the inning as A&M cut the Lobo lead to 7-3.
Stopper Cole White threw the eighth inning, starting with a walk before getting Aggies to pop up to short and strike out two batters in a row.
New Mexico picked up two insurance runs in the ninth to take a 9-3 lead. Pinch runner Cameron Monger scored on an Aggie error and pinch hitter Chris Juarez scored on a Cavazos-Galvez triple to plate the runs.
Lobo closer Clinton Cox struggled a bit in the ninth, giving up three runs, but settled down to close out the Lobo sweep of the Aggies in the 2009 series.
"This may jump us up to a national ranking," said Birmingham. "But you still have to go out every day and prove yourself."
Atkinson finished the night 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. He finished the two-game series hitting 7-for-10 with four runs, a double and three RBI. Cavazos-Galvez also finished 3-for-5 on the night with one run scored and three RBI
New Mexico returns home to face Big Ten foe Northwestern for a four-game series, March 20-22, at Isotopes Park.