Lobos Lose Another Tough Game, 4-3 in 11 Innings

March 13, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. - The University of New Mexico baseball team (6-9) lost 4-3 in 11 innings to the 14th-ranked Arizona St. Sun Devils (11-2-1) Wednesday night. UNM had a 3-1 lead in the eighth, but even though the Lobos used four pitchers in the inning the Sun Devils still managed to tie the score. ASU held the Lobos scoreless after the Lobos jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.

The winning run in the 11th was unearned. With one out Kevin Baumgartner (0-3) struck out ASU's Michael Benjamin, but the ball got by Mitch Garver for a passed ball. A walk and single with two outs won the game for the Sun Devils and sent UNM home disappointed.

UNM’s offense got started early in the first when All-American and reigning Mountain West Player of the Week DJ Peterson reached base via an error. The next batter, Garver, ripped a double to left field to score Peterson. It was the 13th RBI of the season for the senior catcher, which is good for second on the team, and it extended his hitting streak to a team-best 14 games.

Peterson helped the Lobos score the second run of the game as well when he led off the third inning with a single. Two batters later he stole second, advanced to third on an error by the Sun Devil's catcher, and he scored on an error by ASU’s shortstop to give the Lobos a 2-0 advantage.

The Lobos extended their lead in the fourth with a two-out rally. Freshman Jared Holley, who was batting ninth for UNM, reached second thanks to yet another error by the Sun Devils. The next batter, Josh Melendez, singled through the left side to place runners on the corners with two outs for another freshman, Sam Haggerty. Haggerty lined a clutch, RBI-single to right to score Holley and give the Lobos a 3-0 lead.

Junior college transfer Jonathan Cuellar made his second start for the Lobos and pitched very effectively. He hurled five innings and allowed only one run on three hits and no walks. He struck out two and helped put the Lobos in position to upset the Sun Devils.

It was the best start by a UNM pitcher since Cuellar's start last Wednesday against LaSalle. He only threw 3 1/3 innings in that contest, but he gave up only one run.

The Lobos eventually ran into some trouble in the bottom of the eighth as they used four pitchers. Alex Estrella, Victor Sanchez, Will Mathis, and Josh Walker all spent time on the mound, but the foursome couldn't protect the lead.

Estrella gave up a leadoff double and was replaced by Sanchez, who walked the only batter he faced. In came Mathis who induced a groundball, but it was misplayed by Peterson at third. That left the bases loaded with no outs.

The next batter hit a run-scoring single to right to cut UNM's lead in half and keep the bases loaded with no outs. The Lobos then brought on their fourth pitcher of the inning and eighth of the game, Walker. His first batter hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score.

After that the offenses traded zeroes as the teams' bullpens did their jobs. After Holley's single leading off the sixth, UNM did not record another hit until Ryan Padilla singled leading off the 11th.

That also provided UNM one of its best scoring opportunities. One batter after Padilla singled Holley drew a walk to put two men on with only one out. But a strikeout by pinch hitter Jered Meek was followed by a hard-hit groundball that was fielded nicely by ASU's second baseman and the Sun Devils escaped unharmed.

UNM remains on the road as it opens Mountain West play this Friday at No. 21 UNLV.

Notes: Luke Campbell saw his 13-game hitting streak come to an end ... through 15 games last season the Lobos' record was 5-10 as they prepared to open MW play ... this game was already the third extra-inning loss for UNM this season ... the Lobos only played in three, losing one, games that went into extras in 2012.