April 18, 2008
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--Rafael Neda stroked a walk-off RBI double to left field to score Kevin Atkinson and give the University of New Mexico baseball team a 5-4 victory over Utah in 12 innings Friday night at Isotopes Park. The Lobos improve to 25-14 and 9-4 in the Mountain West Conference while Utah falls to 13-18 and 3-6 in MWC action.
"The biggest part of this story is that the players didn't let up. They competed for 12 innings, and they have competed all year, even when things have gone bad," Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham said of the walk-off win. "I mean they could have laid down after the first two innings, but they came back with a three-run inning. They are getting that attitude to compete. The attitude to do the very best you can and not let up until you get the job done through the last pitch."
The Utes struck first putting up a tally in the first frame and a three-spot in the second to take an early 4-0 lead.
New Mexico added three runs of its own in the bottom of the second using three consecutive hits to edge within a run. After a single by Brian Cavazos-Galvez, first basemen Kevin Atkinson crushed a two-run homer to left center making it 4-2. Neda followed with a triple and would cross home a batter later when third baseman Ian Hollick reached on an error, 4-3.
Neither team could muster a run until the bottom of the eighth. Cavazos-Galvez, who finished 5-for-6, deposited a first pitch offering over the fence in left center to knot the game at 4. The 4-all tie remained until the 12th inning when Neda delivered the game-winning double with two outs to give the Lobos the victory in their first extra-inning home game of the season.
Lobo starter Bobby LaFromboise, who entered with two consecutive complete games, tossed eight innings, giving up eight hits and four earned runs while striking out four. Daniel Grubbs, John Hesketh and Clinton Cox combined to hold the Utes scoreless in the ninth. Cox (2-0) went on to finish the game and earn the victory allowing only one hit in 3.1 innings of work. The loss went to Stephen Streich (0-1) of Utah.
Besides his game-tying home run, Cavazos-Galvez collected four singles and played stellar defense in right field. Atkinson and Hollick each had two hits in the win.
The Lobos and Utes will square-off tomorrow, Saturday, April 19, at noon at Isotopes Park. It will be Pack the Park Day with $2 tickets for all fans.