RENO, Nev. – The University of New Mexico baseball team dropped a heartbreaking game 6-5 to the Nevada Wolf Pack Saturday evening. The Lobos (34-17-1, 17-9) had the tying run at third with two outs in the ninth, but Aaron Siple’s comebacker was snagged by the pitcher and he was thrown out at first to end the game.
UNM had rallied from a 6-1 deficit against the Wolf Pack (27-21, 15-11), but in the end it wasn’t enough to take over sole possession of first place in the Mountain West. UNLV lost at San Diego State 7-3, so the Lobos and Rebels remain tied atop the league standings. Both teams are now two games up on Nevada and three up on SDSU.
The Lobos opened the scoring in the top of the first when Sam Haggerty stole home with runners on the corners. But an error in the bottom of the inning led to three unearned runs as Nevada jumped out to a 3-1 lead. The Wolf Pack would add one more in the second and two in the third to take a five-run lead after three.
After that, though, Colton Thomson combined with A.J. Carman and Taylor Duree to shut out the Wolf Pack the rest of the way. Carman pitched a perfect sixth and Duree allowed just one hit in two innings of work to keep the Lobos in the game.
UNM began its comeback in the sixth. With two outs John Pustay smacked a double to right-center, and Jack Zoellner followed with his second home run of the season to cut the deficit to three. The Lobos added another in the eighth, and Pustay was once again in the middle of it. Chase Harris doubled with one out and proceeded to steal third. With two outs Pustay singled up the middle to score Harris and make the score 6-4.
Things then got very interesting in the ninth. Danny Collier led off with a pinch-hit single to second base and was replaced by pinch runner Kirby McGuire. With two outs McGuire was still on first when Sam Haggerty laced a pitch past Nevada’s first baseman. A bobble by the right fielder allowed both men to move into scoring position for Siple.
On the second pitch of the at bat, Nevada pitcher Colby Blueberg’s offering was in the dirt and got past the catcher. McGuire quickly headed for home, but decided against it and retreated to third as Nevada’s catcher quickly got to the ball. That would prove enormous because on the next pitch, Blueberg was called for a balk, which allowed McGuire to score and move Haggerty 90 feet from tying the game. Siple’s hard bouncer was snared out of the air, however, and the game ended.
Pustay and Haggerty finished with two hits apiece, and Alex Real added his 24th double of the season to tie with Nevada’s Kewby Meyer for the Mountain West lead.
Despite the loss the Lobos continue to control their own destiny thanks to the Aztecs’ win over the Rebels. If UNM can win its four remaining games, they will clinch at least a share of their third straight regular-season title. The rubber match is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. MT and sophomore Drew Bridges will start on the mound for the Lobos. Fans can watch a live stream of the game at GoLobos.com.
Notes: Harris’ double was his 10th of the season as was Pustay’s … Lobo pitchers have only struck out one batter over the two games … Haggerty and Harris each have 13 stolen bases on the season to lead UNM.