March 6, 2012
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico Lobos baseball team lost a slugfest to intrastate rival New Mexico State on Tuesday night by a score of 16-12. After holding the Aggies scoreless in the first inning, the first time the Lobos kept an opponent off the score sheet in the first inning in nine games, they consequently allowed at least one run in six straight innings. The Lobos allowed the Aggies to score 13 straight runs after opening an early 6-0 lead.
"It was a crazy game," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said.
It indeed was a crazy, and rough, night all around for Lobo pitchers. Each of the first five pitchers of the game allowed at least one run. Josh Walker, making his first start of the season, allowed six runs, all earned, in 2 1/3 innings. Alexis Garza then allowed five runs, none of which was earned, in one inning. Selby Brummett and Jake McCasland each allowed two runs over the next two innings. Brandon Ward-Hersee followed and allowed one unearned run. Gera Sanchez, the sixth and final New Mexico pitcher of the evening, was the lone bright spot; he struck out all four batters he faced.
Early on it looked as if the Lobos might win in a rout. They scored three runs with two outs in both the first and second innings. Ben Woodchick led off the game with a single. Two batters later he was standing on second when Josh Melendez lashed a base hit to right field that drove him home. After Melendez stole second, already his sixth steal of the season, Mitchell Garver knocked him in with a double. John Pustay finished off the scoring with a single that scored Garver.
After the Aggies went down in order the Lobos were right back at it. Ryan Padilla singled with one out and proceeded to steal second. He scored one batter later when Kyle Stiner singled through the left side. DJ Peterson then hit his third home run of the year to make the score 6-0.
The Aggies scored three runs in both the second and third innings, however, to tie it up and make it a ballgame. Then, with runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, the game changed. A throwing error by freshman third baseman Alex Real allowed both runners to score. New Mexico State tacked on three more in the inning to lead 11-6. The Lobos, who ended up committing three errors on the night, did not get closer than five runs the rest of the way until Peterson's three-run double in the eighth brought the scoring to a close.
Errors continue to plague the Lobos -- who committed three Tuesday -- as they have now committed 21 in only 11 games this season. They have committed multiple errors in seven games, including four games with three. For a team that has played in five games that have been decided by one or two runs, one misplayed ball can make all the difference.
Birmingham certainly thinks so.
"The three errors were the difference," he said.
Offensively, three Lobos had three hits: Peterson, who finished with five RBIs, Pustay, who drove in three and hit his first home run of the season, and Padilla, who scored two runs and was a catalyst at the bottom of the lineup.
The Lobos return home for a three-game set this weekend against the undefeated and 22nd-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs. The series begins Friday at 6 p.m. at Isotopes Park.