March 25, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE - The Lobos won their first home conference game of the year by defeating UNLV in a pitchers' duel, 3-1.
"We have stopped beating ourselves," Head Baseball Coach Ray Birmingham said, "and that is the big part. It's coming together; we are still a long way away, but they are starting to believe in what we are preaching."
Freshman Jake McCasland was electric for the Lobos as he held the UNLV Rebels to one run in 7 1/3 innings. McCasland had a two-hit shutout going into the eighth inning before the Rebels finally scored a run on him.
"I was just trying to get ahead in the count and get them back on their heals a little bit, and I guess it worked," McCasland said very modestly.
McCasland's counterpart, UNLV's Tannar Peters, was no slouch himself as shut the Lobos out for six innings before surrendering a run.
In the seventh inning, the Lobos were finally able to break Peters down. Sophomore catcher Mitchell Garver got things started as he led the bottom of the inning off with a nice double to left center. Freshman DJ Peterson brought Garver home on an RBI single through the right side, giving Peterson five straight games with at least one RBI. Third baseman Quay Grant would follow with an RBI double that brought in Peterson. Sophomore Alex Allbritton added another RBI single for the Lobos to put them ahead 3-0 after seven.
The Rebels threatened in the eighth as they loaded the bases against McCasland. The freshman finally succumbed after a great day on the mound, as he offered up a walk with the bases loaded, giving the Rebels their first run of the game. After giving up the walk, McCasland would be replaced by Gera Sanchez. With the bases still loaded, Sanchez struck out UNLV's second baseman Hunter Beaty and also got pinch-hitter Marvin Campbell to ground out to short. The Lobos got out of the inning surrendering just one run, keeping their lead over UNLV, 3-1.
On the day, McCasland threw 7 1/3 innings giving up just one run on four hits while striking out seven.
Sanchez would come back out in the ninth inning to try and close out the Rebels. The inning didn't take long, as Sanchez sat the Rebels down in order, striking out to and getting the other to pop to second.
"Jake (McCasland) pitched great and I needed to back him up, so I did my best," Sanchez said.
With the win, the Lobos improve to 7-15 (2-2, MWC), while the Rebles drop to 18-7 (1-3, MWC) on the season.
Saturday's game between the Lobos and Rebels will have a 6 p.m. MT start and will once again be held at Isotopes Park.