May 1, 2008
PROVO, Utah - The University of New Mexico baseball team got the bats going in the fifth inning to pull out a 9-7 win over BYU in Provo on Thursday night. Senior Bobby LaFromboise (5-2) picked up his fifth win of the season, while closer Clinton Cox earned his third save for the Lobos. New Mexico improved to 28-19 overall and 12-4 in the Mountain West Conference.
BYU (18-27, 6-10 MWC) took a 3-0 lead through three innings, scoring one run in each inning. Sean McNaughton started the Cougars off with a solo home run to left center in the bottom of the first.
The Lobos only got three of their 14 hits off BYU starter Jake Wortham (3-4) through the first four innings.
Freshman Rafael Neda got the Lobos going with a double in the fifth, then score UNM's first run on an error by the Cougar shortstop, 1-0. Scott Gracey scored on a single by Mike Brownstein, who scored on a double by Ian Hollick to tie the game at 3-3.
BYU took the lead back in the bottom of the fifth, 5-3, when McNaughton and shortstop Dan Vargas scored on a groundout and a single.
New Mexico put together a five-run sixth to take back the lead, 8-5, to get the win for LaFromboise, his first decision in three starts. Wortham walked right fielder Bret Fanning to start the sixth. Kevin Atkinson and Mark Rockey followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases for Rafael Neda. Neda hit into a fielder's choice, scoring Fanning, 5-4. Adam Courcha, Gracey, and Brownstein had consecutive hits to drive in three more runs, 7-5. Matt Hibbitts picked up his lone RBI of the game on a groundout to score Gracey, 8-5.
BYU cut the Lobo lead by one on fielder's choice by Vargas, 8-6, in the bottom of the sixth.
The Cougars responded with a run in the bottom of the eighth, 9-7, before Cox struck out four of the last five BYU batters to end the game.
LaFromboise threw 5.1 innings, striking out four, walking four, and giving up six runs on eight hits. Will Kerr and Daniel Grubbs threw solid middle relief to set up the save for Cox. Cox threw the final 1.1 innings, striking out four, while giving up two hits with no walks.
Brownstein led the Lobos at the plate with three hits, a run scored and two RBI. Hollick, Hibbitts and Neda each had two hits for the Lobos.
The series continues on Friday, May 2. Game time at Miller Field is set for 7 p.m. and will be telecast live on BYU-TV (Comcast Channel 289/Direct TV 374) with replay on Saturday on The Mtn.