April 13, 2011
New Mexico Lobos Baseball - At Isotopes Park
Wednesday: Texas Tech 7, Lobos 6
Up Next: Utah at Lobos - Isotopes Park
When: 6 p.m., Friday; 6 p.m., Saturday; 1 p.m., Sunday
On The Air: ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team; All-Access on GoLobos.com
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Game Recap, Box Score
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
If you like pitchers, the place to be Wednesday afternoon was in the warm sun of Isotopes Park where the Texas Tech Red Raiders squeaked out a 7-6 non-conference win over the New Mexico Lobos.
The Lobos (10-24) marched seven pitchers out to the mound.
The Raiders (22-13) of Lubbock, Texas, also pretty much cleared out their bullpen by sending out six arms to hurl this and that at the Lobos.
The game also wasn't a bad place to be if you liked pitching. There were more than a few good innings thrown. The Lobos actually threw seven innings of shutout ball and gave up a single run in the first inning. The Tech hurlers didn't give up more than one run in any inning except the seventh, when they allowed two Lobos to cross the plate.
But there was one bad inning. "That one big inning is what we're always having," said Lobo Coach Ray Birmingham. "We have to eliminate that one big inning."
The big inning was Tech's six-run, sixth inning. It started with two walks issues by UNM's Jacob Nelson. Nelson seemed to get out of that jam by getting Tech to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play that went Alex Allbritton to Kyle Stiner to DJ Peterson.
Nelson then walked two more Raiders and got pulled from the mound in favor of Ronnie Galosic. Tech pounded three straight hits off Galosic, good for five runs. UNM went to the bullpen to call out Jonathan Mata, who gave up a one-run double before escaping the inning.
"All those runs came with two outs," said Birmingham.
It definitely was a good inning for Tech. They set the plate with walks and then hammered the Lobo arms for four straight hits. Tech took the field up 7-3. The Lobos scored a run in the bottom of the sixth and two in the bottom of the eighth to close the game to the 7-6 final.
The Lobos' best inning against Texas Tech was the bottom of the seventh when a single by Campbell, a double by Peterson and a double by Grant produced two runs.
The Lobos out hit Tech for the second straight game, but again lost the battle of the scoreboard. UNM had 13 hits on Wednesday to seven hits for the Raiders.
"We should have more runs than that," said Birmingham of his hits-to-runs ratio.
The Lobos and the Red Raiders were both cleaning out their bullpen to conclude a mid-week, non-conference, two-game series. It gets more serious for the Lobos on Friday, Saturday and Sunday when the Utah Utes visit Isotopes Park for a three-game Mountain West Series.
"We were trying to win today, but today was more about trying to get as much experience as possible," said Birmingham.
Said Lobo Luke Campbell, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, two runs scored, and a home run: "The conference games are definitely the ones we are trying to get. I'd say it's (losing 8-of-9) is putting a little frustration in us, but deep down we know we can play with anyone."
The Lobos also got multi-hit games from Ben Woodchick (2-for-4) and Quay Grant (3-for-4). Birmingham said his team came up short on "two-out hits." The Lobo pitchers had 11 strikeouts to four for the Tech arms. The Lobos also left eight runners on base while Tech stranded four.
"How many games like that have we lost? A lot," said Birmingham. "But the good thing is I can see (the improvement)."
The Lobos three-game series against Utah could produce a lot of movement in a tight MWC race. TCU is on top of the standing at 7-2 followed by BYU at 5-3, Utah at 6-4, San Diego State at 5-4 and UNM at 5-4. UNLV is 2-6 and Air Force sits on the bottom rung at 0-7.