March 27, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- The University of New Mexico baseball team was handed its first conference loss Friday night at Isotopes Park, falling to BYU, 15-13. Despite a rallying effort that included 10 runs over the final four innings by the Lobos, BYU squeeked out the win in a game that saw a combined 28 runs scored, 34 hits and 19 runners left on base. New Mexico now holds a 23-4 overall record and is 4-1 in the Mountain West Conference while BYU improves to 15-9 and 5-3 in league play.
The Lobos trailed the whole game, including 13-3 at one point, but couldn't push across enough runs in the end to eek out the win.
BYU used a Kent Walton two-run homer in the first to snatch a 2-0 lead. The Cougars added one in the second and the fourth to make it 4-0.
The Lobos answered with one in the fourth, a Rafael Neda single to right field to score Kevin Atkinson and cut the Cougar lead to 4-1. BYU took control of the lead, plating three runs in the fifth to up the advantage, 7-1.
Third baseman Dane Hamilton gave the Lobos two runs back in the bottom of the fifth, launching a two-run homer to right field and trimming the score to 7-3.
BYU piled on six runs in the sixth, but UNM countered with seven in the bottom half of the frame to come within three, 13-10. Atkinson singled to lead off the inning and Brian Cavazos-Galvez followed with a walk to give the Lobos two aboard with no outs. Neda reached on an error at second, allowing Atkinson to score and igniting the UNM rally. Justin Howard grounded out to score Cavazos-Galvez, who had reached third on the error. After a Daniel Gonzalez single to right scored Neda, Mike Brownstein walked and Max Willett singled to load the bases. Hamilton slashed a 0-1 offering to left center to score Neda and Brownstein. The Lobos would score two more thanks to a Cougar error, ending the inning with seven runs on just four hits.
After BYU plated another run in the seventh, New Mexico made it 14-12 with an RBI single off the bat of Gonzalez and another BYU error.
Each team traded a tally in the eighth and was held scoreless in the ninth for a final of 15-13.
Starter Travis Dirk (4-1) took his first loss of the season, surrendering four runs over 3.2 innings of work. Dirk walked three and fanned six. BYU's Blake Torgerson improved to 3-2 with the win. Torgerson pitched five innings, allowing only three runs. Jason Muir picked up his fifth save, pitching 1.2 innings to close out the game.
Willett, Atkinson and Cavazos-Galvez led the Lobos in the hits department with three apiece. Hamilton recorded a team-high four RBI.
The series concludes Saturday, March 28, with a 12 p.m. start at Isotopes Park.