After a disappointing showing in the College Baseball Classic in Surprise, Arizona last weekend, the University of New Mexico baseball team has the chance to right its wrongs starting Thursday when they host Central Michigan at Santa Ana Star Field in a four-game series.
The Lobos (1-3), who played the likes of Oregon State, Gonzaga and Cal Poly last weekend, dropped three of their four games, including two to the Beavers. Their lone win came on Saturday in extra innings against Cal Poly — a game they won 3-1.
For Central Michigan (2-2), they split their four-game opening weekend series. They participated in the Al Ogletree Classic in Edinburg, Texas, beating the likes of Stephen F. Austin in their first — and last — game of the tournament, and losing twice to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Over the weekend for UNM, junior outfielder Jeff Deimling was the biggest offensive threat for his team. He hit .353 in four games, while also adding four RBI and two runs. Junior outfielder Jared Mang, however, struggled. He had just three hits on 14 at-bats (.214). Mang did add one run and one RBI, though.
Starting pitching for the Lobos was a mixed bag. Sophomore right-hander Justin Slaten, who started on the mound for UNM on opening day, looked good through three innings against the Beavers. In the fourth inning, though, a walk and back-to-back home runs given up by Slaten gave Oregon State the advantage — and, in turn, the win.
The same held true for sophomore right-hander Cody Dye in the second Oregon State game, as he held the Beavers scoreless before a big third inning, in which they scored five runs, put the game out of sight.
In the Lobos’ lone win, sophomore reliever Nathaniel Garley put on a spectacular performance on the mound. In five innings of relief, he didn’t allow Cal Poly to score once, while also adding seven strikeouts.
Central Michigan, though, poses some offense — and pitching — of its own. Leading the way offensively for the Chippewas is sophomore infielder Zach Heeke, who’s hitting .556 with five RBI. Other than Heeke, freshman catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powell is hitting .545 while sophomore outfielder Zach Giles is hitting .500. All three have started three — or all — of their first four games.
As a team, the Chippewas are averaging a 5.05 ERA in comparison to UNM’s 5.14 ERA.
The Lobos are hitting just .202 as a team, while Central Michigan is averaging .262 at the plate.
The first of four games starts on Thursday at 6 p.m. — the series will conclude Sunday. All four games can be watched live on the Mountain West Network.
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 contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.