The University of New Mexico baseball team broke a 10-game losing streak over the weekend, after defeating UNLV in a weekend series at Santa Ana Star Field.
On Friday in the series opener, the Lobos moved past the Rebels after freshman Garrett Gouldsmith knocked home his first career homer run, a three run shot down the right field line, to win 8-5.
On Saturday, UNM dominated UNLV, 11-2, after a five run second inning gave them the lead for good. Sophomore pitcher Cody Dye was dominant, too, pitching all nine innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits during the game, while also striking out four and walking four.
“It’s a young team and you gotta wait until the end of the year for them to start playing,” UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. “Trust the process. Be strong enough to trust process.”
In the series finale, the Lobos lost 4-1, although sophomore pitcher Nathaniel Garley put together a nice performance on the mound, allowing just four runs on eight hits over six innings. It was at the plate, however, that UNM struggled in game 3.
They collected just seven hits, led by freshman Brayden Merritt who went 4-for-4 at the plate with a home run, a run and two RBIs. Connor Mang finished Sunday 3-for-4 at the plate with a run and an RBI.
“He had a good day today,” Birmingham said of Merritt. “He had three base hits today and Connor Mang, who’s a freshman, had a good day today too.”
That was mostly due to UNLV’s masterful performance on the mound in game 3. Junior pitcher Trevor Horn held the Lobos to just six hits and no runs in seven innings on the mound.
The Lobos had gotten close to scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh inning after freshman Brayden Merritt singled down the middle to put runners at the corners with two outs. That hit forced Horn off of the mound, however UNLV senior pitcher Blaze Bohall closed out any chance of the Lobos capitalizing on that single when he forced a groundout when sophomore Justin Watari was at the plate.
It was in the eighth, though, that UNM made something happen on offense. With one out, Connor Mang blasted a solo homer to bring UNLV’s lead down to three runs, 4-1.
UNM gave up a four run inning to the Rebels in the top of the ninth inning. Then, in the ninth with their backs against the wall, the Lobos struck again. Merritt blasted a two run homer to right field, to make it a five run lead for the visiting Rebels, 8-3.
That was all they’d get, though, as Schilling grounded out and Watari hit right to the Rebels’ center fielder. UNLV won game 3, 8-3.
The Lobos will travel to Phoenix, Arizona to take on Grand Canyon in a two-game series. Game 1 of that series is slated for an 8 p.m. start time on Tuesday, April 24.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.