ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Colton Thomson pitched seven shutout innings, Andre Vigil added a three-run triple, Chase Harris hit a solo home run and Sam Haggerty had four hits as the UNM baseball team (32-15-1, 15-8) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over San Diego State Saturday afternoon.
Thomson limited the Aztecs (32-15, 13-10) to six hits, none for extra bases while lowering his ERA to 3.82 and moving his record to 6-5 on the season. He struck out a pair and did not walk a single batter.
"It was all about my fastball command today," said Thomson, who threw 67 of his 94 pitches for strikes. "They left the inside of the plate open so that's what it was. I got a bunch of jam shots to (shortstop Jared) Holley and the middle infield played great."
After challenging his team the night before after a tough 6-5 loss, head coach Ray Birmingham was very pleased with how the Lobos responded, especially with his starting pitcher.
"He was locked in," he said. "That's what had to happen today. Colton responded today.
"He pounded the zone. Left-handers have to pitch in to righties and away to lefties and that's what he did."
The Aztecs had a pair of golden opportunities against Thomson, loading the bases in both the second and fourth innings, but the lefty retired Aztec leadoff hitter Greg Allen both times to keep SDSU off the board.
"I got myself into trouble a little bit a couple times," Thomson said, "but I needed to make just one pitch both times and I made that one pitch."
The Lobos jumped on the board in the second after loading the bases with two outs. Aaron Siple was hit by a pitch to force in the first run, and Haggerty followed with an infield single to short to drive in the second run of the frame.
UNM added another run in the fifth on Harris’ solo home run to lead off the inning. It was his seventh of the season as it bounced against the Rudy Davalos Center beyond the left-center field wall, approximately 430 feet from home plate.
The crushing blow for UNM – Vigil’s triple – came in the sixth. The Lobos once again loaded the bases on a pair of walks sandwiched around a single by Haggerty. After taking the first pitch for strike one, Vigil lashed the next pitch on a line into the gap in left center to easily clear the bases and give UNM a 6-0 lead. That moved the freshman from Volcano Vista HS in Albuquerque to 5-for-5 on the season with the bases loaded.
A day after their defense let them down, UNM received some spectacular defense, particularly from their shortstop Holley. The sophomore, playing just his second game after missing five with a hamstring injury, set a career high with nine assists, and made a pair of spectacular diving stops.
"The first inning he made an awesome diving play," Thomson said. "I have to tip my cap to him. He was great up the middle today. That's big, especially when they're rolling over a lot."
Haggerty's four hits were a career high as he helped UNM out-hit the Aztecs 13-8.
"I'm feeling pretty good right now," he said. "I like this point in the season. After 40 or so games you start to get in your rythym and into your routine. I'm finding holes right now, which is good."
He was also glad to have his double-play partner back.
"It feels really good to have him out there," he said. "Me and Holley play really well together. I missed him over there."
The Lobos turned three double plays on the day, including ones in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Alex Real finished with three hits to break out of a mini slump, and Harris added two, including his home run, while scoring a pair of runs.
Jake Cole pitched the final two innings for the Lobos. He allowed a solo home run leading off the ninth to account for SDSU's only run.
The rubber match will be Sunday at 1 p.m. at Lobo Field. Drew Bridges will make his first start on the mound for UNM since March 14 at Fresno State.
"(Sunday) is huge for us," Birmingham said. "(Last night) I didn't challenge them to win or lose (Saturday), I challenged them to play the game the right way, and for the most part we did."
Notes: Danny Collier singled in the eighth and has reached safely in all 30 games he has started this season … Haggerty also stole a base, his 11th of the season ... Thomson is now tied for the team lead in wins with Josh Walker ... Vigil is fourth on the team with 28 RBIs.