March 20, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Senior Willy Kesler pitched his first career complete game and threw a career high 13 strikeouts in the Lobos' 5-2 victory over Utah at Isotopes Park today. Kesler (1-1) gave up two runs on seven hits in his first win of the season. The win knots the series at one game apiece. The Lobos are now 14-6 on the season and 1-1 in Mountain West Conference play. Utah falls to 8-8, 1-1.
"We needed a great pitching performance and we got it from Willy Kesler," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "Willy got up to 94 mph and threw a complete game with 13 strikeouts, that's impressive. The longer the game went the longer he became a bulldog. Ryan Honeycutt was clutch for us today at the plate. He made an adjustment in his swing and went 4-for-4 today with three big RBIs. Honeycutt and Kelser's performance was big for us today.
Kesler also set career highs for innings pitched (9) and fewest walks allowed (1). Kesler started the game giving up two runs on three hits in the top of the first. From then on it was lights out pitching by the senior from Thornton, Colo. He retired nine straight batters in the second, third and fourth innings including four strikeouts and gave up only four hits the rest of the way while striking out eight over the last five innings.
"I just went out there and tried to throw strikes," said Kesler. "I tried to get our defense back in the dugout as fast as possible so we could hit. I had no idea how many strikeouts I had and I didn't care. I just wanted to throw strikes and get outs."
The Utes' biggest threat came in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs, Utah third baseman Nick Kuroczko hit a triple to deep left-center field. Kesler closed the side by fanning Utah designated hitter C.J. Cron for his seventh strike out of the night. He fanned six of the last 12 batters he faced.
Sophomore Rudy Jarmaillo threw the Lobos last complete game on May 1, 2009 in an 8-4 win over UNLV.
Junior Ryan Honeycutt was a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate with three RBIs including the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Senior Adam Courcha went 3-for-5 with a double. Senior Justin Howard went 2-for-3 with two doubles and extended his hitting streak to 20 games this season and 21 total since May 21, 2009.
The Lobos and Utes will play the rubber match on Sunday at 12 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast on 101.7 FM (KQTM) The TEAM. For more information, visit www.GoLobos.com.