May 25, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The University of New Mexico baseball team used their potent offense and spectacular defense to take an early 10-0 lead en route to a 13-0 victory over UNLV in the Mountain West Conference Tournament Thursday night. The Lobos (34-22) erupted for nine runs on 10 hits in the second inning to break the game open and used five doubles plays and four leaping catches to hold the Rebels (26-30) scoreless.
Austin House was simply dominant at times for the Lobos as he earned his second shutout of the year and lowered his ERA to 2.92. He struck out seven and allowed only six hits and three walks to earn his seventh win.
“It was a total team win,” sophomore third baseman DJ Peterson said.
The Lobos opened the scoring in the first thanks to their MW Co-Players of the Year. One of those, Mitchell Garver, led off the frame with a double off the wall in center. Ben Woodchick placed a perfect sacrifice bunt to send him to third. Then Peterson, the other MW Co-Player of the Year, knocked him in with an RBI groundout.
Peterson, though, was not finished driving in runs and would contribute in the Lobos’ big second inning.
Josh Melendez got things started with a triple down the line in right. It was his ninth of the year, which leads the MW. Trey Porras followed with a single up the middle to increase the lead to 2-0. Kyle Stiner then singled to right to put runners on first and second. Both he and Porras moved up a base when Alex Real grounded out to the pitcher. Alex Allbritton followed with an 0-2 single down the left field line to score both men and double the lead to 4-0.
Back-to-back infield singles by Garver and Woodchick then loaded the bases for Peterson. The first pitch he saw was an inside fastball and he crushed it off the light pole in left center to give the Lobos an 8-0 lead and him five RBIs in the game.
UNM wasn’t done just yet, though. Ryan Padilla singled up the middle, and he advanced to third on a double to right center by Melendez. That chased UNLV starter Erick Fedde. Porras grounded out to second off new pitcher Brady Zuniga, and that drove home Padilla for the eighth run of the inning. Stiner then knocked his second single of the inning to score Melendez and increase the lead to 10-0.
The Lobos added two more in the seventh on a solo home run by Padilla, his fourth of the year, and an RBI single by Allbritton.
Melendez knocked home Woodchick with an RBI single in the eighth to finish the scoring for the Lobos.
Seven Lobos recorded at least two hits with Stiner and Melendez leading the way with three apiece. Melendez also led the team with three runs scored.
Meanwhile, House was dealing and he received some excellent help behind him. The Lobos turned double plays in the first, second, fourth, sixth, and ninth innings to help him shut down the Rebels. Woodchick, Padilla, Stiner, and Peterson all also made leaping grabs to keep UNLV off the base paths.
With the win the Lobos will face TCU at 8 p.m. (MT) Friday night. The Horned Frogs were fortunate 16-15 winners over San Diego State in the first game Thursday. They blew a 14-4 ninth-inning lead by allowing 11 runs to the Aztecs before rallying in the bottom of the inning to pull out the victory. The Lobos and TCU shared the regular-season conference title this season with UNM claiming the No. 1 seed in the tournament on tie-breakers.
“The game plan tomorrow is the same,” Peterson said. “Good pitching and good hitting.”
Game notes: The 34 wins for the Lobos ties them for ninth-most in a single season in program history … the grand slam was the first of Peterson’s career ... Melendez fell a home run short of the cycle.