NACOGDOCHES,Texas – On a night when the ball was flying out of the ballpark, Sam Haggerty had a career game with five RBIs to help the Lobos defeat Stephen F. Austin 9-6 Tuesday evening. Chase Harris added four hits as he and Haggerty both homered and combined to drive in or score eight of UNM’s nine runs.
Haggerty got his day started right with a solo shot to right center in the first to give the Lobos a 1-0 lead. Harris’ homer was a two-run shot in the third to give UNM a 3-2 advantage. A solo shot by SFA tied the game in the bottom of the third.
“I walked up to the plate and (leadoff man Danny) Collier told me he was throwing a lot of fastballs around the plate,” the sophomore second baseman said. “I found one up in the zone that I liked and hit it out.”
It was Haggerty’s second home run of the season and third of his career.
The Lobos (23-11-1) trailed 6-3 entering the sixth, though, due to four Lumberjack (15-16) home runs. For a while it looked like it might be a game of missed opportunities for UNM.
The Lobos had a golden opportunity to break the tie in the top of the fourth as two singles and an error loaded the bases with no outs. But a diving stop by SFA’s first baseman robbed Aaron Siple of multiple RBIs, and a flyout to shallow center and a strikeout ended the frame.
UNM had another chance to take the lead in the fifth as they had men on first and second with nobody out, but again they couldn’t push any runs across.
After each inning the Lumberjacks used the long ball to tack on runs. They hit a solo shot in the fourth and a two-run, two-out homer in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead.
The Lobos loaded the bases again with no outs in the sixth, but this time they were able to cash in. Haggerty drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and Harris singled home another to cut the deficit to 6-5.
“We kept going up there with our approach,” Haggerty said. “Good things happen if you don’t try to do too much. You’re going to miss some opportunities, but you’re going to take advantage of some too. If you keep doing what you’re supposed to do you’re going score some runs.”
UNM finally broke through for a big inning in the seventh. The Lobos loaded the bases with one out yet again, and Collier drove in the tying run with a groundout to second. Haggerty then followed with a bouncing ball up the middle to score a pair and give the Lobos an 8-6 lead.
The Lumberjacks threatened in the eighth off reliever Jake Cole, but some outstanding Lobo defense prevented SFA from scoring. A wild pitch on a swinging third strike put the leadoff man on. The next batter singled to right and, despite being given the stop sign, the runner on first tried to advance to third. It turned out to be a huge mistake as Harris fired a strike to nail him at third. A comebacker to Jake Cole then turned into a 1-6-3 inning-ending double play.
UNM used its speed in the ninth to tack on an insurance run. Aaron Siple forced an error on a slow roller and promptly stole second and third. He then scored on an infield single by Haggerty, which capped the 2013 MW Co-Freshman of the Year's five-RBI day.
Victor Sanchez then came on to pitch a perfect ninth to earn his fourth save. Taylor Duree earned his second win of the season by striking out two in a perfect inning of relief.
The teams will meet again Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. (MT). The time was moved up in the day to help accommodate UNM’s travel schedule.
“We need to do a lot of the same things tomorrow to get the sweep,” Haggerty said. “We’ll need good pitching, timely defense and great hitting to come out on top.”
Notes: It was the second four-hit game of the season for Harris and his 20th multi-hit game of the year, which leads the Mountain West ... Siple's two stolen bases gave him four on the season ... Harris stole his ninth base and Haggerty swiped his eighth ... Jared Holley was hit by a pitch for the seventh time this season and 22nd time of his career, which moves him into a 10th-place tie in UNM's history.