May 1, 2010
SAN DIEGO, Calif.--Senior Willy Kesler was a bright star under the lights of Tony Gwynn Stadium and on televisions sets across the nation in a 14-1 thumping of San Diego State tonight. Kesler, the Mountain West Conference Co-Pitcher of the week, tossed eight innings of shutout baseball and allowed only two hits all night. With the victory Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham picks up win No. 100 as the Lobos skipper. Coach Birmingham is 100-60 in his three-year tenure at New Mexico. New Mexico improves to 29-15 on the season and 11-5 in Mountain West Conference play. San Diego State falls to 22-22 and 7-7.
"It was a flip-flop from last night," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "Willy Kesler pitched his tail off. We have to battle everyday. Our key is scoring and pitching and Willy pitched really well tonight. I'm just really proud to be a Lobo right now"
"I felt pretty good, " said Lobo pitcher Willy Kesler. "My curve ball felt good. You have to compete hard everyday and not get frustrated. I kept hitting my spots and just tried to go out there and compete tonight."
Saturday night's game was nationally televised on The Mountain Sports Network and the Lobos did not disappoint, getting 14 runs off 21 hits. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda led the Lobos at the plate going 4-for-6 with two RBIs. Fellow senior Chris Juarez went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and hit his first home run of the season. Juarez made several highlight reel catches in center field. Junior Ryan Honeycutt went 3-for-4 with one RBI. Senior Justin Howard went 2-for-6 with four RBIs and an opposite-field two-run home run in the top of the ninth. Senior Adam Courcha went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Senior Cameron Smith went 3-for-6 with two RBIs.
Aztec starting pitcher Bryan Crabb came into tonight's game ranked third in the MWC with a 2.40 ERA. The Lobos touched up Crabb for seven runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Kesler (4-1) picked up his fourth win of the season and had seven strikeouts on the night bringing his season total to 64.
After scoring one run in the second and third the Lobos opened up the floodgates in the top of the fourth and scored five runs on six hits. New Mexico got two runs in the sixth and five in the top of the ninth.
Senior Daniel Gonzalez made his 101st consecutive start at shortstop.
The Lobos and Aztecs will play the rubber match Sunday at 2 p.m. MT. Sunday's game will be broadcast on 101.7 FM The TEAM. For more information visit www.GoLobos.com.