ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico baseball team dropped a 9-2 decision to Jacksonville State Sunday afternoon at Lobo Field. The Gamecocks (19-12) jumped on the board with a four-run third and didn’t look back. Their starter, Adam Polk, held UNM (22-11-1) without a hit until the sixth as he kept the Lobo hitters off balance all day.
"He's a really good pitcher," said UNM's catcher Alex Real, who finished 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. "He's a crafty lefty. He probably didn't throw abot the upper 80s but definitely did a great job with his changeup and keeping the ball low. When he was ahead in the count he buried the ball, and as hitters we didn't do a very good job of laying off that stuff."
Polk allowed just two walks and two hits in 6.2 shutout innings. He also struck out three.
"That's their Friday night guy," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. "They flipped him for a matchup, and he's pretty good. He has beat some pretty good ball clubs.
"Give credit to him. He pitched his tail off. He's a crafty lefty, but he has a little (velocity), he had a great changeup, he had a good curveball and he had command."
Down 5-0 the Lobos finally chased Polk in the seventh as Real laced a ground-rule double deep to right center and Jack Zoellner followed with a pinch-hit walk. John Pustay struck out, though, against reliever Michael Mason to end the threat.
JSU then added three more in eighth and one in the ninth before the Lobos got on the board in their last at bat.
With one out Real recorded his second double of the game, this time to center, on a ball that started out in straightaway right field but the wind blew to dead center. Zoeller followed with another walk to bring up pinch hitter Chris DeVitio. The big freshman laced a double down the line in right to score Real. Lane Milligan followed with an RBI groundout to drive in Zoellner and provide the final score.
Danny Collier singled with one out in the sixth to break up the no hitter and has now reached base in 25 straight games, including all 24 of his starts. Aaron Siple’s single in the eighth was
Despite the loss Sunday, UNM still claimed a series victory by taking the first two games by scores of 5-3 and 8-2.
"I'm happy we took two of three from a very good baseball program," Birmingham said. "That's a good baseball team."
There will be no rest for the Lobos as they will travel for two midweek games at Stephen F. Austin Tuesday and Wednesday.
"The one thing I worry about is fatigue," Birmingham said. "With so many games, it's so repetitive and a lot of these guys haven't dealt with that before. That's the thing I worry about the most because when you get tired you don't perform like you're supposed to."
Real agreed with his head coach.
"The energy wasn't really there (today)," he said. "We've been playing a lot of games. It's not a good excuse, but it's something we have to battle through. Guys just have to keep the energy up when things aren't going our way, because things won't always go our way."
Following the series with Stephen F. Austin, UNM will return to Mountain West play next weekend when it hosts Fresno State at Lobo Field.
Notes: Real now leads the team with 13 doubles ... Sam Haggerty drew his team-leading 20th walk of the season.