April 2, 2004
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The New Mexico baseball team made use of its shortest game of the year, shutting out BYU, 1-0, in one hour and 50 minutes on a chilly, rainy Friday night at Isotopes Park. The Lobos put together their first shutout of the season and won 1-0 at home for the first time since Feb. 27, 1990. UNM, which has won three straight and four of its last five, improves to 5-3 in the conference (9-16-1 overall), while BYU falls to 3-5 in the league (13-21 overall).
Junior catcher Jeff Grady delivered the knock-out blow with a solo homer in the seventh for the game's only run. Grady pulled his shot down the left-field line and sent it deep over the fence for his team-leading fifth home run of the season.
The one run was all the Lobo pitching staff needed to secure the win. Freshman Danny Ray Herrera was brilliant in his second straight victory as he retired the first 18 batters of the game, going perfect through six innings. BYU got a hit to lead off the seventh, but Herrera retired the next three to end the inning.
Herrera gave up another leadoff hit in the eighth to Brandon Taylor. Taylor advanced to second on a throwing error by Jeff Grady, but Grady made up for it on the next play, sending Taylor back to the dugout on a pickoff play at second base, firing the ball behind the runner to shortstop Josh Mader for the first out of the inning. Joe Salas relieved Herrera after another single, and after a wild pitch and a walk, Salas settled down to end the Cougar threat with a groundout.
Salas earned his third save of the season with a successful ninth inning. He hit the first batter of the inning, but after a sacrifice bunt, he struck out the next two batters - the No. 3 and No. 4 hitters in the BYU lineup - to close the game. The save was Salas' ninth of his career, which moves him into a tie for third place all-time at UNM.
Herrera (2-4) was masterful on the mound, allowing only three hits and no walks with three strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work. Not only was he effective, but also minimal in his work - he threw just 84 pitches, 52 for strikes.
The Cougars were limited to three hits, which was a season-low given up by the UNM pitching staff.
BYU starter Paul Jacinto (0-7) went the distance in the hard-luck loss, going eight innings with five strikeouts and no walks.
The two teams will finish the series tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Isotopes Park. All tickets for the game, billed as "Youth Day", are only $2.
NOTES: * This marks the first one-run game UNM has won all season (1-6) * The game was the first shutout for UNM since it beat New Mexico Highlands, 8-0, on Feb. 8, 2003 * The last time UNM won a 1-0 game came in 1992, a 1-0 win at Texas Tech; the last time UNM won a 1-0 game at home was on Feb. 27, 1990, over Western New Mexico * The last time UNM played in a 1-0 game was a loss to TCU in 1999 at Lobo Field