April 6, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The University of New Mexico pounded out 21 hits in a 17-2 drubbing of the Air Force Academy at Falcon Field Friday afternoon. The Lobos have won the first two games of the three-game series and extend their winning streak against the Falcons to 22 straight.
This win guaranteed the Lobos their fifth-consecutive weekend series win. The team also improved its record in the Mountain West to a conference-leading 7-1.
The Lobos played all three facets of the game spectacularly. Along with their 21 hits and 17 runs, sophomore pitcher and Rio Rancho-native Josh Walker threw seven strong innings, collected a season- and career-high 10 strikeouts, allowed no walks and scattered nine hits and two earned runs to improve his record to 3-2. Over 38 and one-third innings pitched on the season, Walker has struck out 35 batters and has allowed only three walks. Jake McCasland relieved Walker and threw two scoreless innings.
UNM head coach Ray Birmingham was ecstatic about his entire team's performance.
The defense was perfect on the day committing no errors in support of Walker and McCasland.
Like during Thursday's win, the offense was led once again by D.J. Peterson and John Pustay. Peterson went three for five with a double, two walks, two RBIs, and a run scored. Peterson raised his conference-leading batting average to an astounding .473.
Pustay, a native of Colorado Springs, continued his torrid streak by going two for five with a HR, four RBIs, two runs scored, and extending his hitting streak to eight games. Over these eight games he has raised his batting average from .192 to .333 by collecting 18 hits, 14 RBIs, and eight runs scored.
UNM's biggest inning was the third when they scored seven runs on five hits. Mitchell Garver led off the inning with a double. Two batters later Peterson was intentionally walked. Following Peterson was Ryan Padilla who reached second on a fielding error by the Falcon's left fielder, David Thomas, which allowed Garver to score. Melendez then singled in Peterson and advanced to second on the throw home.
Trey Porras continued the streak of solid hitting by knocking in Padilla and Melendez. Alex Allbritton then reached base on a throwing error by the second basemen, which brought up the red-hot Pustay.
Pustay crushed the first pitch of the at-bat over the fence in left-center for a three-run home run, his second of the series and his third of the season. The Lobos ended up scoring nine runs over the last six innings to finish off the Falcons.
Other offensive standouts were juniors Garver and Melendez. Garver went three for six, with a double, two RBIs, and a run scored. Melendez was four for five, with a double, two RBIs, two runs scored, and a walk. Freshman Ryan Padilla was two for five, a double, three runs scored and one RBI as he extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
Baca's hit came by way of a pinch hit-double down the right field line in the top of the ninth inning.
The two teams conclude the series tomorrow at noon (MT) as the Lobos (14-15) go for the sweep and try to bring their overall season record to .500. ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team will broadcast the game live. Senior Gera Sanchez will get his first start of the season.