March 26, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE - The Lobos came out on top in a back-and-forth affair with the UNLV Rebels, winning the game by a score of 7-6.
UNM starter Bobby Mares, who came into the game with a slim 1.55 ERA, struggled early in the game. The Rebels shook up Mares in the top of the second inning as UNLV's left fielder Marvin Campbell led off with a triple to center field. Campbell was brought home by Richie Jimenez's RBI single to right. Shortstop Danny Higa drove in another two runs later in the inning, with Hunter Beaty following with an RBI single of his own. The Rebels came out of the top of the inning with a 4-0 lead when all was said and done.
"Some of my mechanics were off," Mares said. "I wasn't striding out far enough. Coach (Dave) Martinez noticed it when I came in (after the inning)."
The Lobos answered in the bottom of the second as sophomore catcher Mitchell Garver scored on a throwing error by UNLV's catcher Ryan Scott. Scott was trying to throw out John Twichell at second, as he was trying to advance on a wild pitch from Joe Robinson. The ball went into the outfield, scoring Garver and cutting the lead to 4-1. Center fielder Sam Wilson brought in one more run in the inning by lining a rocket at third base for an RBI single, making it 4-2 Rebels at the end of two.
UNM took a 5-4 lead in the third after scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning. Third baseman Quay Grant came through with a clutch two-run single that scored Garver and John Twichell. Alex Allbritton drove in the other run on a groundout to second.
Lobo's starter Mares was finally able to find his stride after struggling early. He shut out UNLV in the third and fourth innings and didn't surrender another run until the fifth. Mares came out of the game after throwing for six innings, surrendering five runs on eight hits while striking out two. Mares was replaced by freshman Alexis Garza.
"Bobby is a competitor," Head Baseball Coach Ray Birmingham said. "He didn't let today bother him. His changeup was just up today; that was the problem."
Heading into the seventh inning, the Lobos had a 7-5 lead, after scoring a run in both the fourth and fifth innings and giving up one in the top of the fifth. Right fielder Ben Woodchick scored on a sacrifice fly from Twichell in the fourth, while Allbritton had an RBI double in the fifth.
UNLV cut the lead in the top of the seventh, as designated hitter Rance Roundy smoked an RBI single into right, closing UNM's lead to 7-6.
After neither team scored in the eighth, UNM's Birmingham elected to send Gera Sanchez out in the ninth to close the game out for the Lobos. Sanchez was like clockwork again for the Lobos as he sat UNLV down in order. He got the first batter to fly out and struck out the next two, giving the Lobos their fifth consecutive victory with the 7-6 win.
"Its lights out when Gera gets on the mound," Garver said. "We call him game over Gera."
The Lobos will face UNLV at 1 p.m. tomorrow in the third and final game of the series.