Feb. 25, 2012
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - It was a tale of two games for the University of New Mexico baseball team Saturday, as the team split a doubleheader at the University of Texas-San Antonio, winning the first game 14-7 and losing the second 3-2. The Lobos terrorized UTSA pitching in game one with 19 hits, but were kept at bay in game two and managed only six.
Despite the split, Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham saw some bright spots. He was impressed by the work of some of his younger players: sophomore Josh Walker (two and a third scoreless innings of relief in game two), sophomore DJ Peterson (6-10 on the day with two home runs, three RBIs and four runs scored), and freshman Ryan Padilla(3-5 in game one with a double, two RBIs and a run).
In game one, the Lobo bats were on fire. Every starter had a hit by the fourth inning, and the team just kept hitting. Seven of the nine starters had at least two hits, and Kyle Stiner, Peterson, and Padilla all finished with three apiece. Stiner, Peterson, and Josh Melendez each scored three runs, and Mitchell Garver drove in three runs to add to his team lead. As a team, the Lobos scored seven of their 14 runs with two outs. The offensive output supported senior Rudy Jaramillo'sfirst start, and win, of the season.
After falling behind early in a loss to the Roadrunners on Friday, the Lobos made sure they were not put in a similar situation by scoring three times with two outs in the first inning.
Peterson got the scoring started with his first solo home run of the day, and the team's first home run of any kind this season. Melendez was next and he walked. Garver then followed with a single, and an error on the play allowed Melendez to advance to third. Garver then stole second, and Melendez stole home in a successful double steal. It was the first time a Lobo has stolen home in almost two years. Alex Allbrittonwas the last to do so, swiping home against Northern Colorado on Feb. 28, 2010.
An infield single by Padilla moved Garver to third. Padilla then stole second, and a throwing error by UTSA catcher Colby Braddock allowed Garver to come home with the third run of the inning. The Lobos added four more runs in the third and two in the fourth to effectively put the game out of reach.
After UTSA scored twice in the seventh to cut the lead to 9-5 and chase Jaramillo, the Lobos struck back for five in the top of the eighth. Jaramillo allowed five runs on 13 hits in six-plus innings, but was successful at limiting the damage and wiggling out of trouble. Perhaps most importantly, he was on target. He threw 61 of his 86 pitches for strikes and did not walk a single batter. Brandon Ward-Herseepitched the final three innings and earned his first save for the Lobos after setting the NJCAA save record for Lamar Junior College.
Game two, however, was all about pitching for both teams. After allowing two hits and a run in the first, Lobo pitcher Sam Wolff settled in and didn't allow another hit for four innings. It wasn't enough, though, because Blake Denman, the starter for the Roadrunners, went seven innings and allowed only six hits to earn his first victory of the season.
The Lobos scored their runs in the fourth and fifth innings, but in very different ways.
In the fourth, Peterson tied the game at one with one swing of the bat with his second solo home run of the day. In the fifth, the Lobos managed to score without the benefit of a hit. With one out Trey Porras reached on an error. He then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by UTSA catcher P.D. McIntyre.
The Roadrunners countered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, however, to retake the lead. After the Lobos had the first two men reach in the top of the eighth, reliever Matt Sims came in and didn't allow another baserunner the rest of the game to earn his first save of the season.
The Lobos will try to earn a split of the four-game series tomorrow at 12 p.m.