April 4, 2008
SAN DIEGO, Calif. --- University of New Mexico starter Bobby LaFromboise threw a three-hit complete game and senior left fielder Matt Hibbitts was 5-of-5 from the plate to lead the Lobos to a 5-2 win over Mountain West Conference leader San Diego State on Friday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The win improved the Lobos record to 19-10 overall and 4-3 in MWC action. The Aztecs drop to 17-12 overall and 5-2 in MWC action.
"I brought the team together on Wednesday and said we can win the conference, then turned to Bobby (LaFromboise) and said it was up to him to get us there," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "And boy did he step up. And how about Matt Hibbitts. I've been on him recently about his outs being fly balls. But tonight he got on top of the ball and hit nothing but rockets. There's a new attitude in Lobo Land."
The Lobos got on the scoreboard first, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Designated hitter Mark Rockey scored the Lobos' first run of the evening when second baseman Mike Brownstein extended his hit streak to 17 games with a single to right field. Center fielder Adam Courcha added the second run on a throwing error by Aztec catcher Erik Castro.
San Diego State responded in the bottom of the second to even the score, 2-2. Despite a solid overall outing, LaFromboise (3-2) walked Brett Tanos and Pat Colwell with the bases loaded to give the Aztecs two runs, before getting Troy Hanzawa to fly out to right field and end the inning.
First baseman Kevin Atkinson got the lead back for the Lobos in the top of the fifth by scoring on a wild pitch after hitting a leadoff triple, 3-2. The lead increased when Hibbits scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Rafael Neda, 4-2. Right fielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez rounded out the scoring in the inning on a single by third baseman Ian Hollick, 5-2.
Hibbitts extended his current hit streak to 11 games with his 13th multi-hit game of the season and a team-wide season-high five hits in the game. Brownstein and Hollick each contributed two hits to the team's total of 11 hits.
LaFromboise, making his first appearance in two weeks, went back to his home state and threw nine strong innings, the third complete game of his UNM career and the first this season. The senior from Downey, Calif., struck out seven batters while giving up only three hits, two earned runs and four walks.
Aztec starter Nate Solow (1-4), an Albuquerque La Cueva High School grad, took the loss in 4.1 innings of work. Solow made the start in place of an ill Stephen Strasburg, the current MWC Pitcher of the Week.
The Lobos and Aztecs continue action on Saturday, April 5, at Tony Gwynn Stadium beginning at 2 p.m. (MDT).