Peterson Mashes Lobos to Victory over No. 21 UNLV
March 17, 2013
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – All-American DJ Peterson has had plenty of incredible games at the plate in his two-plus years at UNM, but his performance in Sunday’s 12-7 win over UNLV might have been his best yet.
He had been stymied the past three games by No. 14 Arizona St. and the Rebels, only recording two hits in 13 at bats. But he exploded in a big way Sunday.
The junior went 3-for-5 with two home runs, a three-run shot and a grand slam. He also scored three runs and finished with eight RBI to set a new career high. His previous career-high of six was set back on May 20, 2011, when he was a freshman. This was also the seventh multi-homer game in his career.
For the second game in a row UNM (8-10, 2-1) got off to a bad start. Kevin Baumgartner allowed singles to three of the first four Rebels as UNLV (15-5, 1-2) scored three runs in the first.
Baumgarter, however, settled in and retired 12 of the next 14 batters, including two by strikeout.
The Lobos took the lead for good in the third. Ryan Padilla led off the inning with a single, UNM’s first hit of the game. With two outs Chase Harris singled him home, and Sam Haggerty followed with a single of his own. This put two men on for Peterson who launched a three-run homer to left to give the Lobos a 4-3 lead.
The Lobos’ offense erupted again in the fifth when Harris, who has been a catalyst for UNM ever since he was moved in the leadoff spot, singled with one out. Haggerty reached base thanks to the second error of the game by UNLV’s shortstop. Peterson then ripped a single to left field to score Harris. Mitch Garver followed with a two-RBI double over the center fielder’s head to increase UNM’s lead to 8-3. The double extended Garver’s hitting streak to 17 games.
The Lobos then put the game away in the sixth. Josh Melendez and Jared Holley led off with singles. Harris reached on a fielder’s choice as Melendez was thrown out at third, but Haggerty also singled to load the bases for Peterson. He hit a fastball over the wall in center for his second grand slam of the season to make the score 12-3.
The offense was enough to give Baumgartner (1-3) the first win of his career. He tossed six innings giving up five runs on eight hits and no walks.
UNLV scored twice in the sixth and twice in the ninth off reliever Jonathan Cuellar, who pitched the final three innings to earn his first career save, to provide the final score.
The win concluded UNM’s most impressive series of the season. The Lobos had a chance to win all three games against a ranked UNLV squad that had come in on a 10-game winning streak. Most importantly, it got UNM off to a good start in Mountain West play.
Harris and Holley scored three runs to match Peterson’s team-high effort, and Alex Real had three hits. Garver was the only other player besides Peterson to record a multi-RBI day thanks to his two-run double.
The Lobos host Missouri St. for a doubleheader Tuesday at Isotopes Park with the first game scheduled for 3 p.m. It is the start of an eight-game home stand, which is the longest of the season for the Lobos.
Notes: Peterson’s other grand slam this season came against Oklahoma St. on Feb. 16 … the Lobos did not commit an error, only the third errorless game they have played all season … the win was the 992nd of head coach Ray Birmingham’s career … Peterson’s eight RBI are the most a Lobo has had in a game since Brian Cavazos-Galvez had 10 against Air Force on April 12, 2008.