ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Lobos went toe-to-toe with the Horned Frogs Saturday afternoon, but came up just shy in a 12-8 loss to TCU. The game marked the last of the regular season for the Lobos, with the conference tournament set to take place next week.
Both teams went back and forth in the affair. UNM trailed for the majority of the game but was able to tie the score up on two different occasions, once in the third (6-6) and again in the fifth (7-7). Unfortunately for the Lobos, TCU took a 9-7 lead in the sixth and didn't look back, closing the game out with a final score of 12-8.
After the game, Lobos' head coach Ray Birmingham reflected on how this season compared to the last couple of seasons.
"Think about how last year was a regional season and the year before that, we are probably one win away from back-to-back regional years," Birmingham said. "Now, the difference between this year and those two years is those two years weren't even close to the schedule we have this year; not even in the ballpark.
"People keep asking me what's wrong with the Lobos?" Birmingham said. "There is nothing wrong with the Lobos. They are young and are playing the hardest schedule in school history."
UNM starting pitcher Jake McCasland had a tough day on the mound. TCU eventually got to McCasland in the third inning, scoring five runs to take back the lead from UNM 6-4. Josh Elander had an RBI triple, Jerome Weik had an RBI single, Brance Rivera had a two-run single and Jerome Pena had an RBI double for the Frogs.
McCasland's day came to an end after allowing six runs on eight hits over 2 2/3 innings of work. Cory Maltz replaced McCasland and actually had a pretty nice performance. Maltz held the Horned Frogs to three runs, two earned, on three hits while striking out four. Gera Sanchez also threw three innings for the Lobos, giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits while striking out five.
Offensively, UNM had another nice outing. The Lobos largest offensive output came in the bottom of the second inning when UNM took its first and only lead of the game. The Lobos scored four runs in the inning to take an early 4-1 lead. First baseman Trey Porras got things started with a two-run double to right center. Porras was followed by center fielder Logan Lippert, who blasted a two-run single up the middle.
Down 6-4 going into the third, UNM didn't hold back as the Lobos tied things up with two runs in the inning. Luke Campbell scored himself an RBI triple and Mitchell Garver netted an RBI single to tie the game at six all.
UNM was behind once again going into the fifth, trailing the Horned Frogs 7-6. The Lobos showed some resiliency once again, as John Michael Twichell scored the tying run for the Lobos on a wild pitch from TCU's starter Erik Miller.
That was as close as the Lobos would get, however, as TCU plated five more runs to UNM's one run over the next four innings to claim the victory 12-8 over the Lobos.
With the loss, the Lobos fall to 16-39 (10-14, MWC) on the season.
The Lobos now look ahead to the 2011 MWC Postseason Tournament taking place May 24-28 in San Diego, Calif. No. 6 seed New Mexico will take on No. 3 seed BYU in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament at 4 p.m. MT on May 24. All UNM games in the MWC tournament can be heard live on ESPN 101.7 The TEAM. All games will also be broadcast via the MountainWest Sports Network.