For the second consecutive week, the New Mexico baseball team faced the possibility of not completing a game due to time constraints.
Fortunately, that scenario did not come into play as the Lobos dominated Northern Colorado 8-1 to complete the four-game sweep of the Bears on Sunday at Lobo Field. The game ended about 10 minutes before UNC had to leave in order to catch its plane home.
UNM demolished UNC 12-3 in the first game of the doubleheader at Lobo Field. Head coach Ray Birmingham said his young team is starting to come together slowly.
“We’re farther along,” Birmingham said. “Some more guys are starting to come. We got to get a couple other guys getting it … There’s nothing etched in stone, and there’s some things we’re still trying to find out offensively and defensively.”
In Game 1, UNM started out with a 6-0 lead after outfielder John Pustay hit into a fielder’s choice for an RBI. The Bears responded with three runs across the sixth and seventh innings.
The Lobos then put the game away with six runs in the bottom of the eighth. Shortstop Jared Holley and first baseman Jack Zoellner both hit two RBI singles in the inning.
Holley had two hits in the first game with three RBI, and he also had two hits and a single RBI in Game 2.
“I’ll stay (in the ninth spot) the whole year; I’m totally fine with that,” Holley said. “I’m out there for my defense anyway.”
Pitcher Chris Hammer received the loss for UNC after he pitched five innings, allowing six runs on six hits.
UNM starting pitcher Colton Thomson (1-1) got the win for UNM by tossing 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits and four walks.
“We have a lot of young, vibrant guys and we’re all just really aggressive in the zone and we all want to win,” pitcher Josh Walker said. “That’s the biggest thing with this team in general.”
As for the second game, Walker (2-1) threw eight strong innings, giving up one run on six hits to propel UNM to its 8-1 victory.
The Lobos got on the board first thanks to a two-run single by catcher Alex Real for a 2-0 lead. UNM added six more runs across the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Real brought in the Lobos last run on an RBI groundout.
In the two games, Real went 4-8 at the plate with four RBIs.
NCU earned its only run on a sacrifice fly by centerfielder Jake Ekman in the eighth inning.
The Bears’ Connor Leedholm took the loss after surrendering seven earned runs on 12 hits in just five innings of work.
UNM (8-3-1) begins its Mountain West Conference slate this Friday with a three-game series against UNLV.
The Lobos went 25-5 last season in conference play to win their second consecutive MW regular season title.
“We’re ready. We’re hungry. We’re ready to get it and we’re not giving anything back,” Holley said. “We’re going for that four-peat. That’s what is on everyone’s minds.”