Lobos Win First Game of Lubbock Regional over Dallas Baptist, 12-6

 

Courtesy of UNM Athletics

LUBBOCK, Texas – The University of New Mexico baseball team (39-21) started the NCAA Lubbock Regional on a strong note, taking a 12-6 victory over the Dallas Baptist Patriots (41-18) Friday. The Lobos will face the hosts No. 11 Texas Tech Saturday at 6 p.m. CT/5 p.m. MT.

Luis Gonzalez had what head coach Ray Birmingham categorized as a "superhero" type night, going 4-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored. He was also walked once and drove in the last three runs of the game. Chris DeVito had a big game, with three RBI, a triple and sacrifice fly. Jack Zoellner and Jared Mang went a combined 4-for-9 with three runs scored.

The Lobos had consistent offense throughout the night, scoring in five of the first six innings to build a seven-run lead. It began in the first inning, when Gonzalez led off with a single and Jared Holley reached on a hit-by-pitch. DeVito followed up by blasting a ball off the top of the right field fence that bounced in for a triple. Both runners scored on the play.

After a scoreless second, the Lobos tacked on another run in the third frame. Gonzalez once again earned a leadoff hit with a double to right centerfield. After being bunted over to third, DeVito earned another RBI on a sacrifice fly. The Lobos scored again in the fourth, bringing the lead to 5-0. Two freshmen started the rally on a leadoff double from Mang followed by a walk from Andrew Pratt. At the top of the order, Gonzalez had another big hit, doubling to right centerfield to plate both runners.

The Lobos scored two more middle-inning runs, with a run in both the fifth and sixth. After two quick outs in the sixth, Zoellner poked a single through the left side. Zoellner would score from first after Andre Vigil singled to left centerfield and an error occurred on the play. Zoellner was waved home on the error and beat the throw home. Leading off the sixth, Pratt gave the Lobos instant offense, scoring on a solo home run over right field on a 1-2 count. It was his fifth home run of the season, all coming in his last nine games.

Down 7-0, the Patriots flexed their muscles and did not go down without a fight. The Patriots scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth, three coming on a clutch home run. After a scoreless seventh for both teams, The Patriots scored a run in the eighth and had the bases loaded. Alex Estrella entered the game with two outs in the eighth and drew a popup to strand the go ahead runs.

With the lead cut to two runs, the Lobos had their biggest inning of the night in the ninth, scoring five runs. The entire rally came with two outs on the board, starting again with a Zoellner single. Reece Weber and Andre Vigil loaded the bases with back-to-back walks, and Pratt hit a high hopper that was followed by an error to score two runs. After senior Dalton Bowers drew the third walk of the inning, Gonzalez put an emphatic end to the Lobos' scoring night. The sophomore pelted a double down the right field line, clearing the loaded bases and regaining the seven-run advantage.

The Lobos brought out the big guns in the ninth inning, using both Estrella and starter Carson Schneider to close out the game. The Patriots put one more run across but could not start a comeback rally.

The win went to Colton Thomson (8-3), who started and pitched 5.1 innings. He struck out five batters, and until the sixth inning, built his run of scoreless innings to 14.

Saturday's game against Texas Tech will air live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM and stream on ESPN3.

NOTES: The Lobos' 12 runs are the most they have ever scored in a NCAA Regional game… This is the Lobos' fourth NCAA Tournament win in program history…The Lobos are now 3-3 all-time in the first games of their NCAA Regional appearances.