March 7, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Sophomore Drew McDonald's pinch-hit single to right in the bottom of the ninth with one out gave the New Mexico baseball team (13-4) bragging rights until next season in the battle of I-25. The Lobos 7-6 win is their eighth straight and claims the series vs. the Aggies, 3-1.
New Mexico State got on the board first with one run in the second. But a first-pitch swing in the third from sophomore Jordan Pacheco got a little help from the wind blowing to left, sending it over the fence to give UNM a 2-1 lead as junior Jay Russell scored.
Trailing 3-2 after a two-RBI double from the Aggies' Abe Aguirre in the fourth, the Lobos started rally in the fifth. Junior Chris Carlson walked to load the bases but NMSU's Tyler Sturdevant struck out junior Daniel Stovall for the second out of the inning. Hitless in his first two at bats, junior Matt Foote came to the plate. On a 1-1 count, Foote brought the crowd to its feet, blasting a grand slam to left for a 6-3 lead.
But the Aggies fired back once again, loading the bases with no outs in the sixth. Frshman Aaron Bates came in to relieve junior starter Quentin Andes, getting New Mexico State's Luke Hopkins to ground into a double play but one run did score. A RBI single and an error from sophomore Ian Hollick saw two more runs cross the plate, tying the game at six.
Bates eased through the seventh and freshman Chad Itokazu glided through the eighth, holding New Mexico State to just one hit. Itokazu struck out the first two batters in the ninth, setting up junior closer Damon Miller. Miller fanned pinch hitter Dayton Ries for the final out.
Foote, after getting plunked in the helmet but called back by the umpire for not getting out of the way, drew a walk with one out to fire up the Lobos in the ninth. Foote then stole second and took third as NMSU's catcher threw the ball low, bounced in the dirt and rolled into center field. Reliever Kyle McFadden intentionally walked Hollick, bringing McDonald to the plate.
Junior Ryan Barba led the Lobos at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Foote tied Barba for the team high in runs scored (2) and drove in a team-best four runs. NMSU's Brandon Lance led the team, going 3-for-5 with an RBI.
Miller earned his first win of the season while McFadden fell to 0-2. Andes went 5 innings for four strikeouts. Itokazu hurled 1.2 hitless innings with three strikeouts.
The Lobos host 12th-ranked Oregon State this weekend at Isotopes Park. First pitch on Friday is slated for 6 p.m.