Cardiac Lobos Pull It Out In Ninth
March 23, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico Baseball team beat TCU in walk-off fashion Friday night, winning by a score of 9-8 in in front the biggest crowd to come out to Isotopes Park this year; 1,874 fans.
The Lobos led virtually the entire game until TCU stole the lead away from them in the top of the ninth to go up 8-7. Things looked bleak for UNM going into the bottom of the ninth, but the Lobos refused to surrender as they came back to finally shut the door on TCU. With two-outs and two runners on, senior Ben Woodchick stepped up to the plate to face TCU submariner Justin Scharf. Woodchick didn't wait long as he took a ball and a strike, before slapping one into right to score the winning run and give the Lobos the 9-8 victory. Mitchell Garver scored earlier in the inning to tie the game off a Kaleb Merk wild pitch just before Woodchick's game winner.
"The one thing we don't do here at New Mexico is panic," Head coach Ray Birmingham said. "After their guy hit the home run I told them, `we are going to win this ball game,' and we did."
Woodchick was very businesslike after the game and cool as a cucumber when describing his game-winning hit.
"The first couple of pitches were hard to pick up," Woodchick said. "But, I knew he had to attack the zone so I was just looking for a fastball.
"It was one of those games where we didn't deserve to lose it. It showed a lot from our team."
Lobo starter Sam Wolff looked fantastic through the first three innings, giving up zero runs on zero hits to the always-feisty Horned Frogs. Wolff eventually wore tired and was taken out after giving up four runs to TCU in the fourth. On the night, the junior allowed four runs on two hits in four and two thirds innings of work.
New Mexico native and Rio Rancho High School product Josh Walker came on in relief of Wolff and was stellar. Walker lasted three and one third innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out two.
"He has been outstanding," Birmingham said of Walker, "He is a New Mexico kid and I'm glad he is playing here. I can't say enough about him."
Offensively, the Lobos biggest inning was the fourth. Woodchick singled to lead off and Kyle Stiner walked directly after, forcing TCU to pitch to red-hot DJ Peterson. Peterson then proceeded to carry on with his hot streak, smacking a two-run single to center to give the Lobos an early 2-0 lead. UNM wasn't finished yet, however, as Josh Melendez scored Peterson with a double he smoked to right center. Garver then followed suit with an RBI triple he belted over the center fielder's head to give the Lobos the early 4-0 lead.
TCU scattered five runs throughout the game before taking the lead in the ninth. It looked as if the Horned Frogs number-three hitter Jason Coats was going to be the hero after launching a two-run homer into left field off of UNM's all-time career saves leader Gera Sanchez. It wasn't to be for the Horned Frogs, however, as the Lobos were the ones with more late-inning magic.
UNM has now won three straight over TCU dating back to last season. The Lobos currently are in sole possession of first place in the Mountain West at 4-0 and have now improved to 9-10 overall on the season.
Tomorrow's game will have a 2 p.m. start and will feature Albuquerque native Austin House (1-3) on the mound for the Lobos.