FRESNO, Calif.- Things looked grim for the University of New Mexico baseball team entering the ninth inning of their game at Fresno State. The Lobos were trailing 7-4 and down to their final two outs when things turned around for them, with a little help from the Bulldogs. Chase Harris reached on an error, and the next five Lobos singled as part of a five-run ninth as UNM (10-7-1, 2-2) defeated Fresno State 9-7(13-5, 5-2).
“We were pumped knowing we had an opportunity to come back and keep fighting,” freshman third baseman Andre Vigil said. “After we got a few hits we were rolling. We just stayed positive and picked each other up.”
After Harris reached, Alex Real and John Pustay both singled through the left side to load the bases. Pinch hitter Lane Milligan then also singled through the left side to score Harris and keep the bases loaded. Jared Holley followed with a two-run single and Andre Vigil drove in another run with yet another single. UNM’s final run came on the Bulldogs’ fifth error of the ballgame, as their second baseman missed a bouncer by Jack Zoellner, which allowed Holley to scamper home.
All five UNM runs, three earned, were charged against Fresno State’s Derrick Velazquez, who had only allowed one unearned run in 17.0 innings all season.
Victor Sanchez came on in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the game with a 1-2-3 inning to earn his first career save. Matt Villalobos, who moved to the bullpen in the fall, pitched 0.2 innings of relief to earn his first career win.
UNM’s other four runs came in the second after Fresno State scored a pair in the first to take a 2-0 lead, and again the Bulldogs helped the Lobos out.
With one out Pustay reached on an error. Ryan Padilla was then hit with an 0-2 pitch to put two men on for Holley, who walked to load the bases. Vigil then singled up the middle to drive in two and tie the game.
Aaron Siple followed with a bunt single to reload the bases. Haggerty drove in a run with a fielder’s choice that also moved Vigil to third. The freshman from Volcano Vista then stole the second base of his career.
That’s right; he stole home. Haggerty got into a rundown between first and second and Vigil used the opportunity to sprint home. He’s the first Lobo to accomplish that feat since Josh Melendez did it against UC Riverside on March 8 last season.
Fresno State answered, though, and scored two in the bottom of the inning of starter Drew Bridges, and added another in the third off Jonathan Cuellar. The Bulldogs’ final two runs came in the sixth on a two-run homer, setting the stage for UNM’s rally in the ninth.
Vigil finished 3-for-4 with a career-high three RBIs and a run scored.
“It was a big game for me, especially being able to start facing a righty because usually Jered Meek starts against them,” he said referring to Fresno State’s starter, Jordan Brink, “so I was pumped coming in and getting into the lineup. I was ready to play. I was excited, and I just did my thing at the plate.”
Holley and Pustay each scored a pair of runs, and Pustay was the only other Lobo with multiple hits.
The teams will meet Saturday at 2:05 p.m. MT, and lefty Colton Thomson will start on the mound for the Lobos. The game will be streamed live at www.GoLobos.com/videos as UNM looks to win its first conference series of the season.
Notes: The Lobos came into the contest hitting .161 (5-for-31) with the bases loaded but went 3-for-6 in such situations Friday night … Cuellar struck out a season-high four in a season-high 4.0 innings of relief work … UNM won its first game this season when trailing after eight innings.