Offense was the key for the University of New Mexico baseball team.
The Lobos (2-3), who scored nine runs in the first inning alone, defeated Central Michigan, 20-9, at Santa Ana Star Field on a cold Thursday evening.
UNM’s home opener saw a plethora of hitting, with five or more Lobos adding two or more hits to their stat line. Of the five, junior Hayden Schilling was most impressive. He had four hits on five at-bats, a double, three runs and four RBI.
Junior Jeff Deimling had three hits and senior Danny Collier and freshmen Connor Mang and Brayden Merritt each had two hits.
UNM had 19 hits as a team.
After giving up a run to Central Michigan (2-3) at the top of the first, the Lobos answered swiftly. In the bottom of the frame, the Lobos saw 14 separate at-bats. Collier, who is the Lobos’ leadoff hitter, singled on his first at-bat in the first inning and, later in the same frame, tripled down the right field line. He had two runs and one RBI in the inning alone.
Things looked well for the Lobos, for the most part, as senior James Harrington looked good on the mound in the second and third innings. In that time, he didn’t allow a Central Michigan run.
But things quickly fell apart at the top of the fourth. Harrington walked the first two batters and was quickly switched out for freshman Nick Krauth, who in his appearance, gave up the seven runs. Since Harrington started out the inning, though, the first two batters who he walked — and who eventually scored — ended up costing him two runs he gave up.
The Lobos added on another two runs to heal the bleeding, when freshman Connor Mang scored his brother, junior Jared Mang, and freshman Derek Marshall on a single to left field. After that, UNM got out to a 14-8 lead.
The Chippewas scored another run at the top of the sixth, but UNM quickly answered at the bottom of the frame with another three runs. After sophomore Justin Watari struck out swinging in the bottom of the frame, Collier got on base after being walked. From there, he was brought home on an RBI single from junior Hayden Schilling. Then, later in the inning, Deimling tripled down the right field line and scored two runners to make it 17-9 UNM.
Again, the Lobos added another run in the seventh. And the two more in the eighth to make it a comfortable 20-9 advantage.
Sophomore Drew Gillespie, who came in as relief for Krauth, pitched well on the mound for the Lobos. He came in during the top of the fifth with one out and pitched through the rest of the game. He allowed just one hit and one run during that stretch. And, with the last Chippewas’ batter at the plate at the top of the ninth, struck him out to give UNM a 20-9 victory — and its second this season.
With his dominant performance on the mound in 4.2 innings of play, Gillespie picked up the win to put him at 1-0 this season.
The Lobos will face Central Michigan again Friday at 6 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 contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.