FRESNO, Calif. – The University of New Mexico baseball team has seen some wild finishes the past few years, but Sunday’s victory at Fresno State may have topped them all. The Lobos (12-7-1, 4-2) scored two runs on a single wild pitch with two outs to pull out a 6-4 victory and finish a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs (13-7, 5-4).
With Alex Real at the plate, Sam Haggerty was on second and Chase Harris was on first. Fresno State’s closer Jake Shull, who came in having allowed just two earned runs in 10.2 innings, was on the mound. He hurled a pitch that got away from the Bulldog catcher, Taylor Ward, and bounced towards the UNM dugout down the first-base line.
Ward was unable to find the ball and Haggerty raced around third. Shull scampered over and picked up the ball. Haggerty slid into home as first baseman Kevin Viers uncorked a wild throw past Ward that allowed Harris to score all the way from first with ease.
Two runs on one pitch that wasn’t even put in play.
UNM’s starter Josh Walker allowed four runs in 6.2 innings, but only two of those were earned. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. In five starts totaling 37.0 innings this season, he has yet to issue a walk.
Victor Sanchez (2-0) earned the win with 2.1 innings of shutout relief. He allowed one hit and walked a pair, but he struck out three and left the potential go-ahead run on third in the seventh when he came on to relieve Walker.
The Lobos scored in each of the first three innings. In the first Chase Harris drew a two-out walk in the first and scored easily on Alex Real’s double down the left-field line. In the second, Jared Holley singled with one out, Andre Vigil advanced him to second with a groundout, and Aaron Siple knocked him home with a single past first.
Danny Collier led off the third with a single, and he scored all the way from first on a double to left center off the bat of Harris. A single by Real put men on the corners with no outs. John Pustay then knocked home Harris with a sacrifice fly to right center to make the score 4-0.
Fresno rallied, though, to score three runs in the third, two of which were unearned, to cut UNM’s lead to 4-3.
The Lobos had an opportunity to expand their lead in the fifth as they loaded the bases with one out, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the threat. In the bottom of the frame the Bulldogs advanced a runner to third, but Walker induced a grounder to second that ended the inning and kept UNM in front.
Fresno State had a golden opportunity in the sixth as it had two men in scoring position with nobody out. But a liner was snagged at short by Holley, and Walker induced the next batter to hit a soft liner back to him, which he caught out of the air and then threw to third to double off the runner to end the inning.
The Bulldogs eventually tied it on a single and a two-out double in the seventh that chased Walker. Sanchez came in and, after walking a batter, induced a lazy fly ball to right from Ward.
Harris doubled, walked and scored three runs to lead the Lobos, while Real and Danny Collier each recorded two hits apiece.
The Lobos return home for five games next week. Up first is a midweek series against Kansas Tuesday and Wednesday at Lobo Field. Tuesday’s game will begin at 6 p.m. and be streamed at golobos.com and broadcast live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM.
Notes: Real’s double in the first was his team-high seventh of the season … Walker threw 73 of his 111 pitches for strikes.