ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico baseball team lost to visiting Utah Valley 12-8 Monday afternoon at Lobo Field. The Wolverines (22-24) scored five in the first and, after the Lobos (33-16-1) closed to within 7-6 in the sixth, added five more in the seventh to break the game open.
UNM got two runs in both the second and third innings and single runs in the fifth and sixth, but, despite having three separate chances with the potential tying run at the plate, couldn’t pull even. After UVU scored five to take a six-run lead, the Lobos added two in the seventh but couldn’t get any closer.
UNM senior outfielder John Pustay refused to let the early 5-0 hole be an excuse for the Lobos' performance.
"We can just as easily score five runs in the first like they did," he said. "It happens. It's not what you want, but we also had eight innings of ball left to play."
Pustay led UNM offensively with four singles, a run and an RBI while Alex Real had a pair of run-scoring doubles. He is now tied for the national lead in doubles with 23. Eight of the nine starters recorded a hit as Jack Zoellner (2-for-4), Andre Vigil (3-for-5) and Sam Haggerty (2-for-5) also had multiple-hit games. In fact, the four through seven hitters in the Lobo lineup combined to hit 11-for-19 (.579).
Carson Schneider was probably the most efficient pitcher for either team, tossing a career-long 3.2 innings and allowing just one run on three hits while striking out one. He threw 26 of his 39 pitches for strikes and helped keep the Lobos in the game. Jonathan Cuellar (3-3) suffered the loss after allowing six runs in just 1.1 innings.
The Lobos return to conference play with a major series at Nevada this weekend. UNM is tied for first with UNLV in the Mountain West, two games up on the Wolf Pack.
"They're going to play well at their yard," Pustay said. "They lost two at Air Force (last weekend), and Air Force plays well at (home), but Nevada plays even better at their home. It's going to be a big challenge for us, but we're going to be sharp and ready to go Friday."
Notes: Real was named Mountain West Player of the Week earlier in the day while Colton Thomson was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week … the start times for UNM’s home games against Air Force on Thursday May 15 and Friday May 16 have been moved to 7 p.m. for both games due to the NMAA playoffs taking place at Lobo Field those days … each team recorded 16 hits.