No. 4 New Mexico dominates against No. 5 Air Force in MW Baseball Championship
RENO, Nev. – No. 4 New Mexico opened the 2015 Mountain West Baseball Championship with a 13-1 win against No. 5 Air Force at Peccole Park in Reno, Nevada. The third game of the day saw the 10-run rule implemented for the first time in league postseason play.
Jack Zoellner led the Lobos, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and four runs scored. The sophomore first baseman also racked up two doubles and a home run on the night. Lane Milligan brought home four runs, including three from his home run to left field. Tyler Stevens pitched a complete game, striking out a seven batters and allowing just one run.
“I was just trying to put some good swings on the ball,” Zoellner said. “Our whole team did a great job offensively. I’m really proud of that.”
Air Force’s lone run came in the top of the first. Spencer Draws worked a walk, and Tyler Jones singled to advance him to third. Bradley Haslam stepped up to the plate next, singling to left field and bringing Draws home to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead.
New Mexico answered in the bottom of the second, scoring five runs of its own. Luis Gonzalez walked to lead things off, and then advanced to second via a Carl Stajduhar single to right field. Zoellner then went up to bat, doubling down the right field line to bring Gonzalez home and tie things up 1-1. Reece Weber walked to load the bases, and Aaron Siple singled to center. Stajduhar crossed home plate, and an error on the center fielder allowed Zoellner to score as well. New Mexico led 3-1 with no outs and runners on second and third. The Lobos used that to tack on two more runs, resulting in a 5-1 New Mexico advantage after two innings.
Zoellner got his second RBI, hit and run of the night with a solo shot over the left field wall in the bottom of the third, extending the lead 6-1.
Milligan got a hold of one himself, sending it down the third base line and over the wall to score three more and pick up his fourth RBI of the game. New Mexico sustained a healthy lead, up 9-1, after four complete innings.
Zoellner got the bottom of the fifth started with his second double of the night to right center. Weber followed with a single right up the middle to bring him home and put New Mexico in double digits with a 10-1 lead.
Gonzalez got his first hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth to bring Cory Voss home, giving the Lobos a 10-run lead. Two more runs brought the score up to 13-1 New Mexico. With the 10-run rule in effect, Air Force failed to cut the deficit any further, ending the game in favor of the Lobos after six and a half innings.
Travis Wilkie went 2-for-3 for Air Force with Haslam bringing home the team’s only run.
Air Force will move down to the loser’s bracket, playing UNLV at 11 a.m. PT on Thursday, May 21 in an elimination game. New Mexico will move on to play the No. 1 seed, Nevada at 7 p.m. PT.
When asked about the game tomorrow, head coach Ray Birmingham “It’s gonna be fun, isn’t it?”
Follow all the action from the 2015 Mountain West Baseball Championship on TheMW.com