March 20, 2011
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Lobos claimed their first Mountain West Conference win of the season as they defeated SDSU by a score of 6-4.
UNM won the game with solid play on both sides of the field. The offense came through with big hits when it needed it, and the pitching held up tough against a SDSU team that put up 13 on them the night before.
"This was a good win for these young kids." Head Coach Ray Birmingham said. "They needed it after so many close games and no cigar. We have to be the youngest team in the country with the hardest schedule."
The game was at a stalemate through the first four innings, as neither team was able to put a run on the board. Lobos' starting pitcher Rudy Jaramillo and Aztecs' starting pitcher Cole Swanson matched each other inning-for-inning as both men were working on two-hit shutouts through four.
Jaramillo ran into some trouble in the fifth as he was faced with a bases loaded situation with two outs. SDSU's center fielder Pat Colwell stepped to the plate, lining one at Lobos' third baseman Quay Grant. Grant dove and knocked the ball down as it hugged the foul line, but couldn't make a play as the Aztecs' Evan Potter scored from third. On the very next at-bat, Jaramillo walked SDSU's designated hitter Brandon Meredith, bringing in the runner from third and giving the Aztecs a 2-0 lead. Before UNM's Jaramillo could get out of the inning, the Aztecs added another run off a Chris Wilson RBI single, putting the Lobos behind 3-0 after five.
New Mexico battled back in the top of the sixth with a rally of its own. The Lobos were able to load the bases for first baseman DJ Peterson, who jolted a base-clearing double into left center. Peterson's three RBIs put the Lobos right back in the game, making it even at three all. After keeping the Lobos quite for the first five innings, SDSU's Swanson began to struggle in the sixth. After giving up the base-clearing double to Peterson, Swanson found himself with a bases-loaded situation once again. This time second baseman Kyle Stiner came through for the Lobo's with a two-run single that put UNM up, 5-3. Swanson was replaced by reliever Mike Hachadorian, after giving up the lead and surrendering five runs to the Lobos. Hachadorian was able to get the Aztecs out of the inning, but not before the damage was done.
UNM's Jaramillo was replaced by junior Cory Maltz in the seventh inning. Jaramillo gave the Lobos six innings of solid pitching, as he gave up three runs on seven hits to go along with six strikeouts. Jaramillo had five shutout innings of work, with the fifth inning being the only blemish on the day, as he surrendered the three runs.
The Lobos kept their bats alive as they extended their lead in the top of the eighth inning to 6-3. DH Jacob Nelson provided the spark as he scored Alex Allbritton on a single through the left side. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Lobos forced SDSU to change pitchers for the fifth time on the day, bringing out freshman Philip Walby. Walby did his job, however, as he forced UNM's Peterson into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Maltz would come back out in the ninth for the Lobos to try and close out the game. The Aztecs threatened, as right fielder Cody Smith led off the inning with a double, and advanced to third on a fielding error by Lobos' left fielder Logan Lippert. Maltz then got pinch-hitter Kyle Hayes, who came in for second baseman Evan Potter, to ground out to first. Hayes was credited with an RBI, as Smith was able to score from third off the groundout. After Maltz walked the next batter, coach Birmingham decided to have Grant leave his spot at third base to take the mound in place of Maltz. It was the right move as Grant completed the save, forcing each of the next two batters to ground out to give the Lobos a 6-4 victory.
Jaramillo (1-2) picks up the win for the Lobos, while Swanson (0-1) gets the loss for the Aztecs. Grant also picks up his first save of the season for the Lobos in the victory.
The victory snaps a six-game skid for the Lobos and also marks their first win in MWC play. New Mexico improves to 4-15 (1-2, MWC) on the year, while SDSU drops to 5-15 (2-1, MWC).
The Lobos will next host Binghamton at 6 p.m. MT on March 22, at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M.