March 14, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- The University of New Mexico baseball team opened conference play with a doubleheader sweep over the Air Force Falcons, 6-3 and 12-5, Saturday at Isotopes Park. The Lobos jump to 14-3 and 2-0 in Mountain West Conference play, while Air Force falls to 5-8 and 0-2 in the MWC.
The Lobos faced a fiercer Falcon team than in 2008. In Game One, Air Force came back three times to tie the score before UNM claimed a final 6-3 victory.
With Air Force up 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the Lobos pieced together a three-run rally in the frame. Right fielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez and first baseman Kevin Atkinson led off with back-to-back singles to give the Lobos runners on first and second. Pinch hitter Cameron Smith followed with a fielder's choice, when Falcon pitcher Alex Truesdale misplayed the ball allowing Cavazos-Galvez to score. Atkinson and Smith would score on sacrifice flies by Daniel Gonzalez and Mike Brownstein for a 6-3 UNM advantage.
Both starters gave solid outings as Truesdale (2-2) took a hard loss, throwing a complete game and allowing only two earned runs. Lobo lefty John Hesketh tossed 5.2 innings, with six hits, one run and four strikeouts. Reliever Cole White inherited runners on second and third with two outs to relieve Hesketh. White used three pitches to strike out pinch hitter Ben Ausbun and end the Falcon threat.
UNM plated a run in the first to jump to an early 1-0 lead. Hot-hitting left fielder Ryan Honeycutt led off the bottom of the second with a single to right. After advancing to second on a balk and third on an Atkinson groundout, designated hitter Justin Howard pushed him across with an RBI single to left.
Air Force responded with one in the top of the fourth thanks to an RBI single from center fielder Daniel Walker.
Catcher Rafael Neda was plunked by a pitch to start the fourth for the Lobos and Atkinson doubled to right center to bring him home and reclaim the Lobo lead, 2-1.
The two teams exchanged single tallies in the seventh, before Air Force went ahead with a run in the top of the eighth only to be countered with UNM's three-run eighth. Brownstein, Honeycutt, Cavazos-Galvez and Gonzalez each finished with two hits.
Air Force held a 4-2 lead entering the sixth inning of Game Two before UNM erupted for a seven runs in the bottom of the frame to make it 9-4. After third baseman Dane Hamilton singled and catcher Adam Courcha walked, Cavazos-Galvez shot a single up the middle to plate Hamilton. The Lobos would collect four consecutive hits, including a two-run single by Atkinson, a two-run double off the bat of Gonzalez and a two-run homer to left field from Brownstein to cap the scoring.
After the Falcons pushed across a run in the eighth, the Lobos tacked on three insurance runs to make it 12-3.
Starter Travis Dirk (3-0) pitched six innings en route to his third victory. Dirk went three innings before allowing a hit and fanned three. Jason Oatman and Will Kerr supplied three innings of relief.
Hamilton, Howard and Brownstein finished with three hits each in Game Two/
Lefty Bobby Moore is set to pitch as the Lobos wrap up the series on Sunday, March 15, at 12 p.m. at Isotopes Park.