May 12, 2012
Las Vegas, Nev. --- With teammates out of position, and starter Josh Walker struggling on the mound, Mitch Garver put UNM on his back and led the Lobos to a much needed victory. Garver went 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI, and five runs scored, and Rudy Jaramillo allowed two earned runs over 5.2 innings of relief as the Lobos picked up a 10-7 win over UNLV.
The win kept UNM a game behind TCU for first place in the Mountain West standings. TCU handily defeated Air Force 17-2 earlier in the day.
The heroics of Garver and Jaramillo helped overcome UNM's patchwork defensive lineup, which has almost everyone playing out of their normal positions due to a variety of injuries. The latest injury happened on Friday night when D.J. Peterson hurt his hand in the ninth inning. The Golden Spikes nominee did play, going 2-for-5 with 3 RBI as the designated hitter.
UNM's patchwork defensive lineup committed a season-high six errors on the day, but Garver helped overcome that on the offensive end. He led the game off with a single to center on the opening pitch, eventually scoring on a two-run double by D.J. Peterson. After UNM gave up the lead in the bottom of the first and found itself down 3-2, Garver connected on a three-run homer over the wall in left center to make it 5-3.
With UNM holding a 5-4 lead with two outs in the fourth, Garver came up again, and on the next pitch he saw after hitting his homer in the second inning, he clubbed his second home run of the game and eighth of the season, making it 6-4. Garver then singled in the sixth and used his savvy to produce UNM's eighth run of the game.
Garver was on second after a fielder's choice, with Ben Woodchick on first and Peterson at the plate. Peterson grounded slowly to short. Peterson hustled down the line and just beat the throw to first to avoid an inning-ending double play, and Garver never slowed, scoring from second on the play, making it 8-4. Garver would walk and score on a double play in the eighth inning. UNLV finally got him out on a pop up in the ninth inning, but by that point it was 10-7.
While Garver was leading the offense, it was Rudy Jaramillo entering the game in the third inning and shutting down the Rebels from the hill until the eighth. UNLV had scored four runs off of starting Josh Walker in the opening two innings on six hits. After a leadoff single in the third, Jaramillo came in and basically stymied UNLV, allowing just two earned runs over 5.2 innings. Jaramillo allowed just four hits and no walks, striking out six, and he managed to wiggle his way around four errors committed behind him.
He eventually tired in the eighth inning, to be replaced by Bobby Mares after allowing a two-out, two-run triple in the eighth that cut UNM's lead down to 10-7. Mares quelled the threat with a strikeout, and would go on to earn his team-leading fourth save of the season, retiring all four men he faced. Jaramillo improved to 5-3 on the season.
The rubber match of the three-game series will take place at 2:05 p.m. Mountain Time on Sunday. Gera Sanchez and his 6-2 record will take the hill for the Lobos.
NOTES: The win pushed UNM to 11-11 on the road this season ... Garver raised his batting average 10 points to .377 ... UNM has committed 10 errors in the last two games after 10 in the previous 10 games ... the six errors were the most by a UNM team since committing six in a 12-0 loss to Nebraska on February 25, 2005 ... Peterson has reached base in 25 straight games ... UNM is now 7-1 in games that Josh Walker starts on the mound ... Michael Baca made his second start of the season at third base for Peterson.