April 1, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. - The University of New Mexico baseball team split a doubleheader with the Fresno State Bulldogs Sunday. The Lobos defeated the Bulldogs 7-1 in the first game, which was a continuation of a game the teams started Saturday but was suspended by rain. The Bulldogs were victorious by a score of 4-3 in game two.
It was the fourth straight weekend series victory for the Lobos.
"Gonzaga, San Diego State, TCU, and Fresno State," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said, listing off the series victories. "Josh Walker, Austin House, and Gera Sanchez all pitched lights out. Rudy Jaramill was okay as well. He forgot to cover first on a couple of ground balls or else he would have won too."
The suspended game resumed with the Lobos up to bat, leading 2-1 with one out in the fourth inning. The Lobos' runs on Saturday came courtesy of an RBI single by Josh Melendez in the first, and an RBI groundout by Michael Baca in the third. Austin House started the game for the Lobos and struck out six, but when rain forced the delay, he gave way to Gera Sanchez on Sunday.
As good as House was on Saturday, Sanchez was even better. He pitched the final six innings and allowed only two hits while striking out 10.
The Lobos scored five runs, four of which were unearned, to back Sanchez' performance. The big blow came by way of a two-run home run by junior Alex Allbritton in the sixth inning. It was Allbritton's first home run in 487 career at bats.
It turned out, however, that Sanchez already had all the support he'd need. His 10 strikeouts matched a career-high, set against UTSA on Mar. 4, 2011. He has only allowed four earned runs all season, three of which came in one appearance against TCU.
In the second game, the Lobos jumped out to an early lead. Allbritton singled with one out. Two batters later Ryan Padilla hit his first career home run to give UNM a 2-0 advantage.
Fresno State struck back in the bottom of the frame with an RBI single by Austin Wynns to draw within 2-1. The Lobos got that run right back in the top of the second, however. Kyle Stiner tripled to right center with one out and John Pustay knocked him home with a single to left. That would be the last run the Lobos would score, however.
The Bulldogs drew within one run again in the third. Aaron Judge singled with one out and then stole second. Wynns then drove him home with a double. In the fifth, Jordan Luplow singled with the bases loaded to drive in the final two runs of the game and chase Lobo starter Rudy Jaramillo.
Bobby Mares and Gabe Aguilar combined to strike out six and hold the Bulldogs scoreless over the final three and two-thirds innings, but the Lobos couldn't scratch through against the Bulldogs' Thomas Harlan or Taylor Garrison the rest of the way.
The Lobos offense struggled without two of its offensive leaders. Senior Ben Woodchick, their leadoff hitter for every game before this series, missed all three games against the Bulldogs, and DJ Peterson, who was seventh in the nation in batting coming into the series, recorded only two at bats in the final two games of the series due to injury: a lineout in the first inning of the second game and a pinch hit single in the ninth inning of the third game.
"It was another great weekend by the boys," Birmingham said. "It's a series win over the 2008 national champs, Fresno State. What is so cool is the boys did it despite Peterson, Woodchick, (Erik) Suarez, (Hobie) McClain, and Baca all being hurt. They played hard through adversity."
The Lobos travel to Las Cruces, N.M., Tuesday to play the New Mexico State Aggies. This will be the third of four meetings between the two intrastate rivals this season, with UNM looking for its first win in the Rio Grande Rivalry this season. The Lobos lost 16-12 in Las Cruces on Mar. 6, and 6-2 in Albuquerque at Isotopes Park on Mar. 13.