May 3, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- Mike Brownstein's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth forced extra innings, knotting the score at 11-all, but UNLV's Ryan Thornton smashed a two-run shot in the top of the 10th as the UNLV Rebels (25-23, 9-9 MWC) took a 13-11 extra-inning win over the University of New Mexico baseball team (32-16, 12-8 MWC) Sunday afternoon at Lobo Field.
Trailing by as much as seven runs at one point, the Lobo offense slowly came back, but couldn't find a way to get the go-ahead run. After Brownstein's tying hit, the Lobos loaded the bags with two outs, but a terrific catch from Rebel left fielder Jesse Wight ended the walk-off win opportunity. UNM wound up in the same situation in the bottom of the tenth, loading the bases with two outs, but instead UNLV closer Marc Baca coaxed Daniel Gonzalez into a game-ending pop-up. Baca (3-0), who pitched out of the jam in the ninth, picked up the win.
New Mexico found itself in an early 8-1 hole after UNLV roughed up starter John Hesketh and reliever Will Kerr over the first two innings. After jumping to a 2-1 lead, the Rebels used six singles and two walks to score six runs in the top of the second.
The Lobos slowly chipped away, using a Ryan Honeycutt two-run homer and a Justin Howard RBI single in the bottom of the third to cut the Rebel lead to 8-4. UNLV would tally a run in the fifth, sixth and seventh, but the Lobos responded with six of their own over that span to trail 11-10 entering the ninth. Howard and Adam Courcha teed off for back-to-back home runs in the fifth for three runs. Rafael Neda doubled in Max Willett in the sixth and Browstein laced a two-run single in the seventh as the Lobos scratched their way back.
In the bottom of the ninth, with runners on the corners, Brownstein came through in the clutch again sending home pinch-runner Cameron Monger with his base hit to left center. After a walk to Willett, the shoe-string catch by Wight off the bat of Honeycutt prompted extra innings.
Lobo closer Cole White (3-2), who quelled a Rebel threat in the top of the ninth by recording two strikeouts with two runners on, surrendered the Thornton shot to left center in the tenth to collect his second loss in as many days. UNM used a total of eight pitchers who issued a combined 10 walks and served up 19 hits.
The Lobos matched UNLV with 17 hits of their own with Kevin Atkinson, Howard and Brownstein collecting three each. Brownstein had a team-high three RBI.
The Lobos close out their regular season with seven games on the road. UNM will travel to Stanford for a three-game series beginning Friday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m. MDT.