April 13, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Eleven unearned runs in the fourth jump-started the New Mexico baseball team, which cruised to a 23-11 win over Air Force in game one of a doubleheader at Isotopes Park this afternoon. The Lobos, 21-12 overall and 4-3 in the Mountain West Conference, evened the series after suffering a 6-4 loss to the Falcons at the MWC Preseason Tournament.
Air Force got on the board first, tapping senior Nate Melek for three runs in the first thanks to a home run to left center from first baseman Karl Bolt.
Falcons' starter Mitch Brown cruised through the first 3.2 innings, scattering just one hit. But after surrendering a double down the left field line to junior designated hitter Chris Carlson, junior first baseman Daniel Stovall reached on an error from right fielder Matt Ghigna. The error started the 11-unearned run chain reaction that was capped by a grand slam from Carlson and a solo homer from Stovall, making it the second straight game Carlson and Stovall have hit back-to-back bombs.
Freshman right fielder Dane Hamilton tripled to right center with two outs in the fourth. The Lobos followed with three more hits for four runs, increasing the lead to 15-3.
The Lobos and Falcons both scored in the sixth, seventh and eighth with UNM outscoring AFA, 8-6. Air Force, trailing 23-9 heading into the ninth, added two on another home run from Bolt.
Melek earned the win, improving to 4-4. He allowed eight hits, seven runs with two strikeouts in 7 innings. Freshmen Tim Sloan and Aaron Bates both threw 1 inning of relief. The UNM pitching staff did not walk a single batter in the game for the second time this season. Brown (3-7) suffered the loss, giving up five hits for seven unearned runs and one walk in 3.2 innings.
Carlson, Stovall and sophomore second baseman Jordan Pacheco pounded out a team-high three hits each, going 3-for-4, 3-for-6 and 3-for-5, respectively. Carlson drove in a team-high five runs and scored three. Pacheco drove in two and scored a team-high four. Sophomore third baseman Ian Hollick went 2-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored. Bolt led Air Force, going 3-for-5 with five RBI and three runs scored.
The teams play a nightcap, starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. and complete the series tomorrow with a 3 p.m. game at Lobo Field.