Feb. 24, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The University of New Mexico baseball team saw its late-inning struggles continue Sunday as they dropped to 2-4 with a 10-8 defeat to the 16th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (9-0) in the final game of the Kleberg Bank College Classic.
UNM rallied from an early 5-1 deficit to take an 8-5 lead in the seventh inning, but the Sooners scored two of their own in the bottom half of the frame and added a three-run homer in the eighth to secure the victory.
DJ Peterson fell a single short of the cycle as he went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI. Chase Harris also finished with three hits and hit his first career home run. Alex Real also hit his first homer of the season for the Lobos.
Peterson opened the scoring with a solo home run, his second of the season, in the first, but Oklahoma scored five times in the bottom of the frame with the help of three Lobo errors. Starter Sam Wolff settled in after that and did not allow another run in his final three innings. Tyler Spencer and Alex Estrella came in out of the bullpen to hurl a scoreless inning each.
During that time the Lobos began to chip away at the lead.
In the fourth Peterson led off with a double and scored on a single by Luke Campbell. In the fifth UNM used a two-out rally to add two more. Freshman Sam Haggerty, who was moved up to second in the lineup before the game, singled and scored on a triple by Peterson. Mitch Garver then knocked him home with a single to right to cut the deficit to 5-4.
The Lobos tied the score in the sixth, again using a two-out rally. Harris reached on a bunt single and Alex Allbritton was hit by a pitch. Josh Melendez then walked on four pitches to load the bases for Haggerty. The freshman surprised the entire Oklahoma defense by laying down a perfect bunt to third base for a single that scored Harris to tie the game.
In the seventh the Lobos struck for three more. Garver led off with a double, moved to third on a flyout by Campbell, and scored on a wild pitch. Real and Harris then each hit solo shots later in the inning to make the score 8-5.
After that, however, the wheels fell off. Oklahoma struck for two in the bottom of the seventh and UNM went down in order in the eighth. Then it looked like the Lobos would take the lead into the ninth after Anthony Consiglio recorded the first two outs on only four pitches, but a single and then a walk issued by Will Mathis put the go-ahead run on board. Josh Walker was then called on to pitch to Oklahoma’s shortstop, Jack Mayfield.
Mayfield only saw one pitch but he hit it out of the park to provide the final scoring of the afternoon and send the Lobos to their second straight defeat.
UNM is off until Friday, March 1, when they travel to the University of Nebraska for a three-game series against the Cornhuskers.
UPDATE: Garver, Real, Haggerty, Peterson, and Friday night's starting pitcher, A.J. Carman, were all named to the All-Tournament Team.
Notes: In 2012 the Lobos were 31-0 when leading after six innings, but have already lost three such games this season … UNM has dominated the middle innings, outscoring its opponents 31-3 from the second through sixth innings, but has struggled late in games as they have been outscored 18-1 from the eighth inning onward … Harris stole his third base of the season in the third inning and UNM remains a perfect 6-for-6 as a team stealing bases this season … Haggerty, Peterson, Garver, Melendez, and Harris have reached base in every game this season … Haggerty continues to lead the team in both hitting (.421) and on-base percentage (.560), narrowly edging out both Peterson and Garver in both categories.