UNM Defeats LaSalle in 17-4 Blowout
March 6, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - For the second night in a row the University of New Mexico baseball team enjoyed a blowout victory over the LaSalle Explorers. The Lobos (4-6) pounded out 20 hits, walked nine times, and were hit by two pitches on their way to their highest run total of the season.
Luke Campbell and Alex Real led the charge with four hits and three RBI apiece. DJ Peterson and Alex Allbritton chipped in with three hits each, and Mitch Garver went 2-for-2 with a double, a triple, three walks and scored a team-high four runs.
Perhaps most importantly going forward, though, is the Lobos played their first errorless game in the field.
"That's something we know as an infield unit that we can do a lot better we had been doing," said Allbritton, the team's starting shortstop. "That will give us some confidence going forward."
Even more impressive was the fact that Garver made his first start at first base and Real made his first start behind the plate and UNM was still flawless in the field.
"(Garver) did quite well," Allbritton said. "He had some games in the fall playing over there so he was pretty comfortable."
UNM head coach Ray Birmingham was also quite pleased with the zero in the "E" column on the scoreboard.
"(Jared) Holley's playing second base really well, Allbritton is an all-conference shortstop, and DJ and Mitch are veterans and can play defense with anybody," he said.
The game was a bit of a redemption for Real, who was pulled from Tuesday's game after making three errors in one inning at first base.
"(Tuesday) night was tough on me," he said. "It was plays that were just routine. I don't know what happened. The ball just popped out of my glove and I got really frustrated. I said tomorrow I'm going to come back strong and flush yesterday out of the way. I think I did that so it was good."
It was one of the best games of his career as the four hits set a career-high. He is now hitting .325 on the season.
Junior righty Jonathan Cuellar made his first career start and pitched effectively, striking out four in 3 1/3 innings. He allowed one run on two hits and three walks. Anthony Consiglio earned his first career win by pitching 1 2/3 innings in relief.
Freshman Drew Bridges made his first career appearance and pitched two scoreless innings, and redshirt freshman Victor Sanchez also made his first career appearance and struck out one in 2/3 of an inning.
"We got a lot of kids in there to pitch," Birmingham said in reference to the seven pitchers the Lobos used. "Drew Bridges gave us hope (for the future) ... I thought Taylor Duree did well yesterday. The young kids are stepping up."
But on this night it might not have mattered how well the Lobos pitched because of the way the Lobos hit.
"We caught a lot of breaks," Allbritton said. "Luke Campbell didn't really square up a ball all night but got four hits out of it. So we were catching a lot of breaks, but (hitting) is contagious."
UNM got started early with four runs in the first. The first came on a bases-loaded walk by Campbell. Real, Ryan Padilla, and Allbritton then followed with run-scoring singles to give the Lobos an early cushion.
They added another in the second on an RBI-single by Real and three in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Garver, an RBI-single by Campbell, and a double by Real to knock Campbell home.
"I thought LaSalle had some respectable pitching because they gave you so many looks," Birmingham said. "They had a submarine guy, a left-handed guy, a guy with a cutter, a guy running it in, a guy running out, so it was a challenge. And I was worried about it because they played Texas Tech so well and beat them."
The biggest hit of the night, though, came in the eighth when Peterson launched a mammoth home run to left center off Kevin Baron, the Explorers' seventh pitcher of the night, who started the game at shortstop. The All-American finished the game with three runs and three RBI.
The Lobos will look to continue their strong play as they host UC Riverside for a four-game series this weekend at Isotopes Park.
"It will be a tough battle," Allbritton said. "I think we have a chance to win some more games this weekend, that's for sure. We just need to play consistent baseball, play good defense behind our pitchers, and we're pretty excited to play these guys."
First pitch of the series against the Highlanders is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday. ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team will carry the game live with Robert Portnoy providing the play-by-play.
Notes: Birmingham now has 988 career wins ... it was the most hits in a game for the Lobos since they had 22 against San Diego St. in the MW Tournament Championship game last May 26 ... Garver has 206 career hits, only 27 shy of tying the UNM record for catchers set by Rafael Neda ... Campbell is leading the team with a .452 average and his four hits tied a career high ... eleven of Peterson's 17 hits have gone for extra bases: five doubles, two triples, four home runs ... UNM stole four more bases Wednesday night and now have 14 on the season with Chase Harris leading the way with five.