March 30, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Lobos found themselves locked in a battle with No. 18 Arizona, but couldn't find a way to come out on top as the Wildcats won 10-9 with a walk-off homer.
"This was another heart-breaking loss in the last inning to a national powerhouse program," Head Baseball Coach Ray Birmingham said. "The boys keep fighting hard."
The Lobos jumped on the Wildcats early, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Ben Woodchick brought home Kyle Stiner on an RBI groundout for the first run, and freshman first baseman DJ Peterson, fresh off his Mountain West Conference Player of the Week award, kept his hot streak going by cranking a solo homer to left field.
Arizona answered right back in the bottom of the first, as they hung seven runs, five earned, on UNM's freshman starting pitcher Sam Wilson. Wilson was only able to record one out before being replaced by Alexis Garza. The Lobos came out of the first behind Arizona, 7-2.
The Lobos seemed to learn their lesson from yesterday, because this time around they didn't let a big inning by the opponent affect them. In the third inning, UNM put itself back into the game with a four-run rally that closed Arizona's lead to 7-6. The Lobos got things started with Stiner scoring on a fielding error by Arizona's shortstop Alex Mejia. From there, the Lobos loaded the bases for junior third baseman Quay Grant. Grant stepped into the box and delivered a two-run single through the left side off Arizona's starting pitcher Vincent Littleman that brought the Lobos within one. Littleman was replaced by reliever Nick Cunningham, after giving up six runs, five earned, on five hits and striking out three. Cunningham got the Wildcats out of the inning with no further damage.
Arizona extended its lead in the fourth when first baseman Cole Fenzel slammed a homer to right field, putting the Wildcats up 8-6.
The Lobos put together another rally in the fifth, as they scored three runs to take the lead, 9-8. UNM's inning was highlighted by an RBI single up the middle from Stiner, followed by an RBI sacrifice fly from Woodchick and an RBI single from sophomore catcher Mitchell Garver.
Being the tough team it is, Arizona wouldn't go away quietly, as the Wildcats tied the game back up in the seventh at 8-8. Catcher Jett Bandy shot an RBI single through the left side off UNM's Garza that scored DH Robert Refsnyder for the run. Refsnyder reached earlier in the inning due to an error by UNM shortstop Alex Allbritton.
Garza did a great job in relief. After replacing Wilson, Garza pitched for 6 1/3 strong innings, giving up just two runs, one earned, on seven hits. He really helped the Lobos get back into the game by keeping Arizona at bay.
The game went into the ninth inning still tied at 8-8. UNM couldn't get any runs across the plate, as Arizona's reliever Matt Chaffee faced four batters, walking one and recording outs on the rest.
UNM's reliever Cory Maltz wasn't as lucky, however, as he gave up a walk-off home run to Refsnyder in the very first at bat. Refsnyder's blast gave Arizona the win, 9-8.
Maltz (1-2) gets the loss for the Lobos and Chaffee (3-1) picks up the win for the Wildcats.
The Lobos fall to 9-17 with the loss, while Arizona improves to 19-7 after winning the series. UNM will next face Gonzaga in a three-game series beginning at 7:30 p.m. MT April 1.