March 21, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team fell to the Utah Utes 9-8 in 10 innings today at Isotopes Park. The Lobos took an 8-5 lead into the top of the ninth inning but gave up three runs to tie the game at eight. In the top of the tenth Utah squeezed in its ninth run of the game to take the lead for good. The Lobos drop two out of three games in the series and fall to 14-7 on the season and 1-2 in Mountain West Conference play. Utah is now 9-8, 2-1.
"I'm proud of the fight in our kids," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "They never panic and they never give up. No matter what happens they put themselves in the situation to try and win ballgames. We were one pitch or one base hit away from winning that game. The fight in this young team is important to me. It's still a long season and we can't let this affect us."
Down 5-4, with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Lobos got four runs to take the lead 8-5. Three Utah pitchers combined for five straight walks to give the Lobos the 6-5 lead. Brock Duke, who started the eighth inning, got senior Justin Howard to pop up to the shortstop and fanned junior Rafael Neda to give the Lobos two outs. Duke then walked junior Ryan Honeycutt, senior Cameron Smith and freshman John Michael Twichell to load the bases. Utah relief pitcher Zach Adams issued a bases-loaded walk to senior Max Willett to score sophomore Ben Woodchick, who pinch-ran for Honeycutt. Adams was pulled for Tyler Andersen, who issued a bases-loaded walk to Lobo freshman Alex Allbritton that scored Smith from third. Daniel Gonzalez put the final touches on the four run bottom of the eighth with a hard-hit double down the left field line that scored Willett and freshman Devon Conley, who pinch-ran for Twichell and made the score 8-5.
Utah would answer the call in the top of the ninth and got three runs to tie the game at eight. Michael Beltran led off the ninth with a double to center. Nick Kuroczko singled in Beltran to make the score 8-6. The Utes cut the lead to one run with a C.J. Cron double to center that plated Kuroczko. With the bases loaded, Lobo relief pitcher Gera Sanchez issued a walk to Utah's nine-hole hitter Zach Jones that scored the tying run.
The Lobos threatened in the bottom of the ninth and had the winning run on second base but were not able to convert.
In the top of the tenth, Utah had the bases loaded when Josh Reed laid down a squeeze bunt that scored Beltran to make the score 9-8.
Junior Richard Olson pitched six solid innings giving up one run on nine hits, while striking out five batters.
Sanchez (1-1) picks up his first loss of the season and pitched 1.2 innings giving up one run on four hits.
Willett and Allbritton each went 1-for-3 on the day, each with three RBIs. Gonzalez had two RBIs in a 1-for-5 performance at the plate. Senior Justin Howard extended his hit streak to 21 games this season and 22 over all since May 21, 2009 with his 2-for-5 day at the plate. Junior Kenny Held went 2-for-3 on the day.
The Lobos travel to Tucson, Ariz., to play a midweek series with the Arizona Wildcats on March 23-24. For more information, visit www.GoLobos.com.