ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - After falling behind 4-0 early to No. 18 Kansas, the University of New Mexico baseball team scored 10 unanswered runs to finish off a two-game sweep of the Jayhawks in front of 704 fans Wednesday afternoon at Lobo Field. It was the fifth straight win for the suddenly red-hot Lobos (14-7-1).
"We got a little more comfortable (as the game went on)," senior John Pustay said. "Once we get rolling we're not a team you want to face and mess around with. Today they jumped out to a pretty good lead, but we were able to come back and that's the 'Bos of old. We're pretty used to doing that, and we're going to fight for nine innings."
The Jayhawks (14-7) struck for two in the first and two more in the third to chase starter Mike Gould. Senior A.J. Carman came in, though, and induced an inning-ending double play on his second pitch. Carman and two other Lobo relievers took over from there limited Kansas to two hits the rest of the way.
"You just have to aim for an area, trust your work, and you'll hit your spots," he said.
Carman (2-0) rebounded nicely from a subpar performance Tuesday in which he walked two of the three hitters he faced, and needed a diving catch from Harris in right to record his only out.
"I took (Carman) aside today and said, 'Look, every fall you're lights out,'" head coach Ray Birmingham said, "'and for the first three weeks of the season you're pretty good, but then you (start struggling) ... All these guys are counting on you.'
"I guess it got through to him because he got through some innings today and tossed up some goose eggs."
Carman tossed 3.2 scoreless innings of relief and allowed just two singles and two walks.
"Our bullpen has been doing a great job," Pustay said. "It's really good to see because as hitters then don't have to worry too much about doing a lot. We just have to get runners on base and score them with some singles. The bullpen has been fantastic."
UNM got on the board in the fourth. Chase Harris led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. He moved to second on a single by Pustay, and Ryan Padilla loaded the bases with a single of his own. Lane Milligan knocked Harris home with a groundout and Jared Holley's sacrifice fly to right scored Pustay. That cut the Lobos' deficit to 4-2. They took the lead the very next inning, and it all came with two outs.
Danny Collier got the rally started with a walk and Harris followed with a bunt single to third. Pustay then doubled to left on an 0-2 pitch that scored both runners and tied the game. Padilla followed with a sharp single to right that scored Pustay and gave UNM a 5-4 lead it would not relinquish.
"We're doing a good job staying inside the ball and staying within ourselves," Pustay said. "We did a really good job with two strikes and putting the ball in play to make things happen."
Carman and fellow relievers Tyler Gibson and Victor Sanchez made the one-run lead hold up, but they got a little bit of help in the process. Aaron Siple made a highlight reel diving catch in left center in the fifth, Harris threw out a runner at home in the fourth, and Collier threw a runner out at third in the sixth.
"The defense was incredible," Carman said. "Hopefully some film will be sent to ESPN because there were some Web Gems out there. It's amazing what will happen when you let the defense work."
Gibson relieved Carman to start the seventh and was phenomenal. He needed just 22 pitches to get through two innings of work, and aside from a two-out walk in the eighth, he was perfect.
"How about Gibson?" Birmingham asked. "Gibson was really good."
In three appearances this season, Gibson has allowed just one hit and two walks, while striking out six, in 6.0 innings.
In the eighth, the Lobo offense gave its bullpen some breathing room by scoring five runs. Alex Real got the rally started with a one-out double to right center. Holley reached on an infield single, and Andre Vigil drove in a run with a single to right. Siple walked to load the bases and leadoff man Sam Haggerty drove in two runs with a single past KU's diving first baseman. Collier followed with an RBI groundout and Harris singled to right to score Haggerty and provide the final score.
Sanchez came on for the ninth and was perfect, striking out a batter in the process. He lowered his season ERA to 1.02 in 16.2 innings.
Pustay finished 3-for-5 with a pair of runs and RBIs. Haggerty, Harris and Padilla also finished with two hits apiece as the top five hitters in UNM's lineup combined to go 10-for-20 with three walks, six runs and seven RBIs.
UNM will put its five-game winning streak on the line Friday night at Lobo Field as the Lobos welcome Mountain West newcomer San Jose State to Albuquerque.
"Our confidence is really good, especially for a young team," Carman said. "We come into each game relaxed, and we know we can beat anybody."
All three games will be streamed live on GoLobos.com, and ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM will broadcast each game as well. Due to PBR events going on in The Pit this weekend, fans are asked to park in the Baseball South dirt lot and enter Lobo Field from the south. As a way of saying thank you, admission will be FREE for all three games versus San Jose State.
Notes: UNM moved to 11-0 when scoring six or more runs ... Haggerty stole his team-high sixth base of the season ... Real's double was his eighth, which leads the team ... it was UNM's first midweek sweep since taking two straight from LaSalle at Isotopes Park March 5 and 6 last season.