Lobos Fall in Championship Game 9-4
May 26, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. – The No. 13 University of New Mexico Lobos saw their bid to win a third straight Mountain West Tournament title come to an end Sunday afternoon as they lost the championship game to San Diego St. by a score of 9-4.
The Aztecs (31-29) took the lead for good with a three-run fifth, and despite closing to within one in the bottom of the eighth, the Lobos (37-20) couldn’t fight all the way back as the Aztecs erupted for four in the ninth to close out the game.
The scoring opened in the second when SDSU plated one on an RBI groundout, but the Lobos tied the game in the bottom of the frame.
Josh Melendez led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a groundout by John Pustay. With two outs Jared Holley snapped an 0-for-22 skid with a two-strike single to right center to score Melendez and even the score.
UNM took its first lead in the fourth. Melendez once again got things started with a walk. With one out he went first to third on a single by Alex Allbritton. That brought up Holley. He worked the count to 2-2 before he swung at an inside fastball. He managed to just get enough of the ball so that SDSU’s catcher, Jake Romanski, couldn’t hold onto it.
With renewed life Holley laced a full-count pitch to left center that was caught, but it was deep enough to score Melendez and the sacrifice fly gave the Lobos a 2-1 advantage.
The Aztecs immediately retook the lead, though. A leadoff walk and a one-out single put two men on for tournament MVP Tyler France, who set a new record for hits in a tournament with 16. He doubled to right center to score both men, and came around to score himself on a single by Matt Munoz.
The score became 5-2 Aztecs on a double and a single in the sixth.
But the Lobos refused to give up, as they made a game of it in the eighth. Luke Campbell singled up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, a career high. Melendez followed with a single to put two men on. With two outs, Allbritton singled to right center to score Campbell and put men on the corners for freshman Jered Meek.
Meek quickly fell behind 0-2, but battled back to even the count. He then roped a pitch down the right-field line for a double. Melendez scored with ease, but Allbritton was thrown out on a bang-bang play at the plate to end the inning. Head coach Ray Birmingham came out to argue the call to no avail.
The score was now 5-4 heading to the ninth, but France led off with a homer and the Aztecs added three more after that to close the scoring.
Both DJ Peterson and Allbritton went 2-for-4 while Melendez went 2-for-3 with three runs. Jake McCasland (1-1) suffered the loss in relief after allowing three runs in three innings. Gabe Aguilar struck out three in two innings of work.
Campbell and Peterson were joined on the All-Tournament Team by Mitch Garver. Campbell went 8-for-16 with five runs, four RBI, a double and two homers over the four games. Garver went 5-for-17 with a team-high five RBI. He also scored four runs, doubled twice, homered and stole two bases. Peterson went 8-for-14 with two home runs, a double, four runs and three RBI.
Despite the back-to-back losses, the Lobos have still won 20 of their past 24 games and won the MW regular season by a league-record seven games.
The NCAA Selection Show is Monday at 10 a.m. (MT) and there is going to be a watch party at Doc and Eddy’s starting at 9:30. Fans are invited to welcome back the Lobos and watch as the NCAA bracket is revealed.
Notes: The appearance was the 64th of Aguilar’s career, sixth all-time at UNM … Hobie McClain pitched 2/3 of an innings in his 30th appearance of the season, third most in school history … Meek’s double was the first of his career … A.J. Carman started and allowed one run on three hits and three walks with one strikeout in 2 1/3 innings.