April 19, 2008
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- Five Lobo batters had multi-hit games and Jacob Norton threw his longest outing of the season to give the University of New Mexico (26-14, 10-4 in MWC) a 13-3 victory over Utah (13-19, 3-7 MWC).
Each team put up a tally in the first and second innings to knot the score at two. Mike Brownstein led off the first for the Lobos with a triple and crossed home one batter later with an Ian Hollick groundout to short. The Lobos tied the score at two in the second when Kevin Atkinson, who singled to left to start the inning, scored via an Adam Courcha RBI single to left. Utah tacked another run on the scoreboard in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.
The Lobo bats really came to life beginning in the bottom of the fifth. Courcha, who started in center and reached base in all four of his at-bats, led off with a walk and advanced to second on a Scott Gracey sacrifice bunt. Mike Brownstein followed with a walk to give the Lobos runners on first and second for Hollick, who stroked a double into left center to score Courcha. Matt Hibbitts gave the Lobos the lead, 5-4, with a sacrifice fly to bring home Brownstein one batter later.
The Lobos added two more in the sixth courtesy a run-scoring triple from Courcha and an RBI single from Brownstein padding the lead 6-3. The scoring wouldn't stop there, however, as UNM batted around and plated four in the seventh. Neda singled to score Hollick and Brian Cavazos-Galvez, who both singled earlier in the inning. Pinch hitter Bret Fanning and Gracey followed with RBI singles of their own making the score 10-3.
Neda crushed his sixth homer of the season with Hibbitts and Atkinson on base to add three in the eighth, 13-3.
"With Neda's last home run, he choked up, two strikes, flipped his hands and went out of the yard. If you find the barrel and the ball, good things are going to happen," Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham said. "We went back to basics. Throwing strikes, playing catch, putting the ball in play, and if they beat us, they beat us, but don't beat yourself."
Senior southpaw Jacob Norton (5-2) pitched 7.2 innings, allowing only three runs to earn the win and become the first Lobo pitcher to get to five victories on the season. Adam Skelton took over from the bullpen with one out in the eighth, pitching 1.1 innings without allowing a hit.
The loss was tagged to Utes starter Brian Budrow (4-4).
The Lobos look to sweep in the final game of the series tomorrow, Sunday, April 20, at noon at Lobo Field. During the game, the Lobo baseball and softball teams will be hosting the annual Dugout Cookout, as both teams will be playing at the Lobo Field complex. Tickets for both games are $2.