A strong outing from Justin Slaten on the mound propelled the University of New Mexico baseball team to its second win over Central Michigan this Friday evening.
Slaten, a sophomore, pitched seven innings and allowed just three hits and no runs. He also struck out eight batters and walked none en route to his first victory this season.
In fact, Slaten pitched two shutout innings to start the game. He hit a batter in the third inning but retired the next three batters to end the inning.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning that UNM’s offense was able to put runs on the scoreboard. After freshman Derek Marshall was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the fourth off, and freshman Connor Mang singled to put runners on first and second. From there, Phillip Sikes singled through the left side to load the bases. Then, after a double play got runners out at home plate and first base, freshman Garrett Gouldsmith tripled through the right side to bring in two runs. After that, senior Danny Collier drove in a run on an RBI single to make it 3-0 in favor of the Lobos.
After Slaten threw another shutout inning in the sixth, the Lobos (3-3) quickly got their offense going again in the bottom of the frame. Mang tripled to center to lead off the inning. After Sikes was hit by a pitch to advance to first, junior Larry Leitha double to left center scoring Mang in the process. The Lobos added another run in the process and had a 5-0 lead entering the seventh inning.
Slaten struck out the first two Central Michigan (2-4) batters in the top of the seventh, but quickly gave up a single after that. He was finding the strike zone with accuracy and, after giving us the single, struck out his third batter in the inning.
In the bottom of the frame, the Lobos added another run on a after Sikes hit into an out at first, scoring freshman Brayden Merritt in the process.
Junior Chad Smith pitched the last two innings for the Lobos and allowed just one hit during that time. The Lobos went on to win 8-0, marking their second straight win and third this season.
In total, UNM had 10 hits. Mang, however, had another terrific night at the plate going 3-for-4 with three runs and a triple. Other than that, seven other Lobos had one hit.
The Lobos will host the Chippewas in game three of a four game series on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.