NACOGDOCHES, Texas – In a rare mid-morning start, the University of New Mexico baseball team defeated Stephen F. Austin 6-3 as the Lobos (24-11-1) took advantage of four errors by the Lumberjacks (15-17) to score four unearned runs on the day.
A.J. Carman was the only Lobo pitcher to toss more than one inning as UNM used eight different men on the mound to get the victory and sweep the two-game series from the Lumberjacks.
The Lobos opened the scoring thanks to a pair of Lumberjack errors in the third. Andre Vigil and Ryan Padilla were the beneficiaries and stood on second and third with no outs. Jared Holley drove home Vigil with a groundout to second, and with two outs Aaron Siple recorded UNM’s first hit, an infield single to short, that scored Padilla.
The Lumberjacks chased Carman in the fifth. A one-out infield single was followed by a walk to put two men on. A single plated one run and a fielder’s choice added a second for SFA, but Taylor Duree came on and got the final out to end the inning.
Carman (3-0) was charged with both runs in a season-long outing of 4.1 innings. He allowed three hits and three walks and also tied a career high with three strikeouts. Despite not pitching the typical required 5.0 innings, Carman earned the win due to a pre-determined pitch limit.
John Pustay’s two-run single in the seventh gave UNM its three-run cushion back and a 5-2 lead, but the Lumberjacks answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning.
SFA threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but some nice defense and clutch pitching helped UNM escape unscathed. With a man on first the Lumberjacks’ shortstop, Will Vest, doubled down the line in left. Danny Collier cut the ball off, though, and fired a strike to Holley, who relayed to home to nail the runner at the plate. Conner Rusch then came on and got a strikeout with men on the corners to end the inning.
Sam Haggerty helped give the Lobos some breathing room in the ninth. He led off with a double, stole third and scored on SFA’s fourth and final error of the contest.
Victor Sanchez earned his fifth save with a perfect ninth. Sanchez, who earned the save in both games of the series, lowered his season ERA to 1.16.
The Lobos return home to face Fresno State in a key Mountain West series this weekend. UNM sits in a tie for second place with San Diego State, three games back of UNLV in the win column but with three conference games in hand. The series begins Friday night at 6, continues Saturday at 2 p.m. and concludes with a game Sunday at noon.
Notes: Head coach Ray Birmingham was not with the team for either game against the Lumberjacks as he attended to some family matters in Albuquerque. Assistant coach Ken Jacome filled in in Birmingham’s absence … Alex Real recorded his team-leading 14th double of the season … Chase Harris stole his 10th base of the season and Haggerty added his ninth … the start of the game was moved up to help accommodate UNM’s flight back to Albuquerque.