April 13, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the University of New Mexico baseball team needed a rally against Fresno St. if it wanted to clinch its fifth straight Mountain West series victory. It got one in a big way.
The Lobos (19-16, 10-4) scored 12 in the eighth inning Saturday afternoon to defeat the Bulldogs (8-22, 3-9) 14-3 in front of 623 fans at Lobo Field.
"We kind of lucked out in a couple situations," Alex Allbritton said about UNM's big rally. "Guys were hitting the ball hard, making good at bats, and stringing hits together. We're finding all the right holes. We're not necessarily hitting every ball hard but we're finding holes."
UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said he told his team they would get to the Bulldog bullpen and score some runs.
He was right.
After managing only two runs on five hits off Bulldog starter Blake Quinn, the Lobos' first 12 men reached base as they torched five relievers for 12 runs on seven hits in the eighth.
That's when the Bulldogs let things get out of hand. Back-to-back errors by their third baseman off the bats of Alex Real and Luke Campbell allowed two runs to score and it was all downhill from there.
Josh Melendez followed the errors with an RBI double over the third-base bag, and now owns a career-best 14-game hitting streak. Allbritton then singled up the middle to score two more to make the score 8-3.
"Alex Allbritton had a great at bat," Birmingham said. "He stayed inside of a hard sinker in and, with the infield in, he hit it up the middle."
The freshman laced a pitch up the middle to score the seventh and eighth runs of the inning. Peterson followed with a single up the middle of his own to drive in another run. The Bulldogs changed pitchers after that for the second time in the inning, but it didn't help much. Garver laced a triple to right-center to score both Haggerty and Peterson.
Fresno St. finally got an out when Real struck out, but Campbell grounded out to third to knock in Garver and close the scoring.
The Lobos finished the inning with seven hits, two walks, one HBP and had two men reach on errors. It was the first time UNM scored more than 10 runs in an inning since last May 17 against Air Force.
"He's a real bulldog," Allbritton said about Aguilar. "He's a gamer on the mound. He'll get put in a tough situation and he thrives in that environment."
Wolff pitched effectively as he went a career-long 6 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts. The duo helped keep UNM in the game until they could break through against the Bulldog's bullpen.
"We credit our pitchers to keep us in the game," said Allbritton. "We wouldn't have been able to (have that big inning) if they hadn't kept us in the game."
Birmingham was effusive in his praise of Wolff, Aguilar, and Josh Walker, who pitched the ninth.
"The thing that was huge was that we pitched," he said. "We pitched all the way through. Wolff is getting better all the time. I thought he did a great job. Aguilar got out of a mess ... and then Walker came in and threw strikes."
Harris, Haggerty, Peterson, Garver, Real, Melendez and Allbritton all finished with two hits apiece. Haggerty and Garver both drove in three runs, and Real hit his fifth home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth.
The Lobos took a one-game lead in the MW after Air Force walked off with a 10-9 victory over San Diego St. later Saturday. UNM will try for its first sweep of the season Sunday.
"Fresno is good," Birmingham said. "You can tell that they can be a good ballclub. They have good pitching and good athletes.
"It's hard to (sweep). It's really hard to do. It's sure not automatic."
Junior righty A.J. Carman will make his ninth start of the season for the Lobos. First pitch is set for noon at Lobo Field.
Notes: Garver's triple was his fourth of the season, which ties Melendez for the lead in the MW ... Holley's HBP total is the most for a Lobo since Matt Foote had 18 in 2006. The UNM single-season record is 19 set by Aaron Santini in 1992 ... the Lobos have walked (173) or been hit by a pitch (46) more times than they have struck out this season (212).