March 21, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- Junior Adam Courcha belted a two-run homer to deep center field in the bottom of the seventh in Game Two, breaking a 6-6 tie and lifting the Lobos to a doubleheader sweep over Northwestern (4-13) Saturday at Isotopes Park. The Lobos broke two ties in Game Two, scratching out a 10-6 win. UNM nabbed the lead in Game One and never looked back, securing a 16-12 victory to improve to 21-3 on the season. The record ties the best start since the 1973 team debuted with a 21-3 record through 24 games.
New Mexico trailed 4-0 in Game Two before waking up the bats for a four-run second inning. Courcha, left fielder Justin Howard and second baseman Mike Brownstein pieced together three straight RBI singles to make it 4-3. Max Willett collected an RBI on a fielder's choice to knot the score at 4-4.
The Lobos plated two more in the bottom of the third only to have Northwestern even it up at 6-6 with two in the top the of the fifth.
First baseman Kevin Atkinson led off the top of the seventh with a walk before Courcha, who made the start behind the dish, took a 1-1 offering with one out to give the Lobos a lead they would not relinquish, 8-6.
New Mexico added a pair in the bottom of the eighth with RBI singles to left off the bats of Atkinson and Rafael Neda to cap the scoring at 10-6.
Lefty sophomore Kenny Toves picked up his first win of the season, entering with one out in the top of the fifth in place of starter Bobby Moore. Toves (1-0) pitched 2.2 innings of one-hit ball, stifling the Northwestern offense. Daniel Grubbs pitched the final two innings, also allowing only one hit.
Brownstein, the reigning Mountain West Conference player of the week, finished Game One 4-for-5, with four singles, a stolen base and two RBI. Howard chipped in three RBI.
After jumping to a 5-1 lead in Game One, the Lobos plated nine runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the lead seemingly out of reach for Northwestern. The Wildcats managed 11 runs over the next three innings, however, to make it close.
The Lobos had five home runs in the game, the first from Atkinson with two outs in the bottom of the first. Atkinson smashed his second homer in as many days to left center to score Dane Hamilton and put UNM up 3-0. Hamilton reached with a run-scoring single two batter earlier. Northwestern cut the score to 3-1 with a single tally in the fourth, but the Lobos responded with two more runs courtesy a two-run single from Daniel Gonzalez.
The Lobos sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. Atkinson got things going with his second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left. The Lobos added seven more runs with two outs, using back-to-back home runs from Max Willett and Hamilton as well as three triples to up their advantage 14-1.
Starter Travis Dirk (4-0) went six innings with five strikeouts, five hits and three runs for his fourth win of the season.
Atkinson finished 3-for-4, collecting a single in addition to the two long balls, with three RBI and four runs scored. Cavazos-Galvez added four hits and four RBI while Brownstein went 4-for-6.
The Lobos conclude the series on Sunday, March 22, at 12 p.m. at Isotopes Park.