Lobos Go Down to the Wire in 4-3 Loss at Texas Tech

 

Courtesy of UNM Athletics

LUBBOCK, Texas – The University of New Mexico baseball team (39-22) fought a close battle with No. 7 Texas Tech (43-16) Saturday, but came up short in the NCAA Lubbock Regional, 4-3. The Lobos move on to an elimination game Sunday at 2 p.m. CT/1 p.m. MT against Dallas Baptist, with the winner facing Texas Tech immediately after.

The Lobos played in a close game from start to finish that was decided on a solo home run in the ninth inning. Despite going down, the Lobos received an excellent performance from Tyler Stevens , who went 7.1 innings in front of over 4,700 fans. He held the hosts to one earned run and three hits, while striking out seven batters over 132 pitches thrown.

Offensively, the Lobos were led again by sophomore Luis Gonzalez. He finished the game at 3-for-5, reaching base four times, with a run scored. Jared Mang had two RBI on a home run in the third, finishing 1-for-4.

"Texas Tech has one of the most impressive bullpens we've seen," said head coach Ray Birmingham. "The arms that they ran out tonight were impressive. We are going to come out tomorrow with zeroes on the board, with a pulse and a chance!"

Runs were hard to come by Saturday, as both teams struggled to get runners around early. The Lobos left five runners on base in the first two innings and gave up the lead in the top of the third. The Red Raiders started the side by reaching on an error, and after two outs, plated him on a single up the middle.

Playing as the home team on the road due to NCAA Regional rules, the Lobos were able to answer back and take the lead in the same inning with 2 outs on the board. With Jack Zoellner on first, Mang knocked his third home run of the season, a rocket over left field. The two-run bomb sailed over the visiting bullpen and was the longest of the game.

Gonzalez helped the Lobos add a much needed run in the fourth inning, leading off the side with a double to right centerfield. Gonzalez advanced to third base on a wild pitch and with two outs on the board, repeated to score. Gonzalez used his speed on a close play, sliding under the tag for the team's third run.

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The Lobos held their lead until the eighth inning, but a strong Red Raider bullpen kept their team in the game. The Red Raiders tied the game in the top of the eighth after two walks and a single loaded the bases with two outs. Texas Tech poked a single up the middle to drive in a pair of runs.

Tied up at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Lobos gave up a go-ahead solo home run to lead off the top of the inning. Fernando Fernandez came in to draw the final two outs and keep it a one run ball game. Jack Zoellner was able to keep the game alive with a two-out single, but a pickoff of pinch runner Austin Bell ended the game.

All of the Lobo action on Sunday will air live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM and stream on ESPN3.

NOTES: The crowd Saturday was tied for the third largest in the stadium history…This was the fourth matchup between the two teams this season, with head coach Birmingham noting that all of them have swung in the eighth or ninth innings…Tyler Stevens posted a new career-high in pitches thrown by 10… Gonzalez has reached base in nine of 10 plate appearances in the NCAA Regional.