Feb. 22, 2011
Lobo Baseball -- At Isotopes Park
Tuesday: New Mexico State 13, Lobos 8
Up Next: Creighton at Lobos (Feb 25-27)
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
If you were sitting in Isotopes Park on Tuesday watching Lobos play Aggies, and a pitching duel wasn't your thing, here's hoping you didn't leave early in New Mexico State`s 13-8 win.
The two teams pushed across two runs each in the first inning and then the pitchers rolled out some scoreless ball. The Lobos kept the Aggies off the plate for four innings. The Aggies kept the Lobos from scoring for six innings.
Then there was an explosion of 17 runs. Unfortunately, for the Lobos, the visitors from Las Cruces scored 11 of those runs -- seven in the top of the eighth -- and New Mexico scored only six.
"It's just youth," said Lobo coach Ray Birmingham referring to his one-senior team dropping to 0-4 on the season. "They do some silly stuff, but they still have a lot of fight in them. It's going to be OK."
Birmingham said before the season that he would have to remember to show patience with this young squad, but the Lobo coach probably is getting impatient to see his Lobos break into the win column. UNM also dropped three games at Arizona State over the weekend.
"Right now, they are getting experience and I have to be patient with them," he said. "The thing we are trying to do now is play the game right and everything else will fall into place."
Birmingham said his Lobos were looking to go into the Aggie game with improved defense and better contact at the plate. The Lobos had 12 errors in their three-game series at ASU. They had no errors in Isotopes Park against NMSU.
The Lobos also had five strikeouts in 39 at-bats, which isn't bad. UNM's problem was the Aggies' eighth innings -- one of those innings that didn't seem it would ever end. The Lobos also scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth.
The Aggies scored those seven runs by scattering six hits. The first two Aggie base runners in that frame reached base on walks. "Walks killed us," said Birmingham.
NMSU (5-0) advanced eight runners to base via balls. The Aggies gave up four walks.
The Lobos got multi-hit games from Mitchell Garver (3-of-4), Jordan Vestal (2-of-2) and John Michael Twichell (2-of-5), and Trey Porras (2-of-4). Porras, Vestal and Twichell each had two RBI and Garver had one RBI and scored three runs.
Ryan Beck picked up the mound win for NMSU and Lobo Bobby Mares got the loss. Mares went six innings with six strikeouts, four hits and three earned runs. He left the game with the Aggies up 3-1.
The Aggies out hit the Lobos only 12 to 11, but did string out a number of key hits in the eighth. The Lobos rallied with their three runs in the bottom of the eighth and three more in the bottom of the ninth, but by then they were standing in a 12-2 hole. NMSU scored a single run in the top of the ninth.
UNM will try to crack into the win column this weekend when Creighton comes to Isotopes Park for a four-game series. "Creighton is a good baseball team," said Birmingham. "We don't have any easy people on our schedule."