The University of New Mexico baseball team fell to Grand Canyon by a score of 7-3 on Tuesday evening on the road in Phoenix, Arizona in the first of a two game series between the two teams.
Grand Canyon (23-17) started off the game hot, scoring three runs in the first inning while holding the Lobos (14-24-1) scoreless in top half of the frame.
Senior right-hander James Harrington, New Mexico’s starter on Tuesday, pitched a lot better as the game progressed. But after a sloppy first inning, which was aided by a fielding error that scored an unearned run, the Lobos were playing from behind.
Although Harrington appeared to settle down, the Lopes countered with some timely pitching of their own. Right-hander Drew Zmudai of GCU pitched just three innings in the game, but held UNM scoreless during his stint on the mound — allowing just two hits and putting himself in line for the win.
UNM got a run on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning, after senior Daniel Herrera scored on an RBI groundout from sophomore Justin Watari, who hit into an out, but advanced the runners.
The run wasn’t enough for the Lobos to keep pace with Grand Canyon, which had scored a pair of runs off Harrington in the bottom of the fourth.
And New Mexico was unable to gain any further momentum as the next batter struck out to end the top of the fifth, stranding a runner at third base and leaving the Lobos trailing 5-1.
To make matters worse, GCU added another two runs in the bottom of the fifth to stretch its lead to 7-1 over the visiting Lobos.
UNM was able to add another couple runs in the top of the eighth inning to make it a four run lead, 7-3, in favor of the Lopes. The Lobos were unable to inch closer as they were unable to capitalize with runners on base.
In the final inning, New Mexico was able to get Lobos on first and second base with just one out. But back-to-back fly outs ended the hopes of a potential UNM comeback, as Grand Canyon protected the lead for a 7-3 victory.
Leading the Lobos at the plate on Tuesday evening was junior Jared Mang, who went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run to his credit. No New Mexico players recorded a multi-hit game as the team was limited to just six total hits in the game.
Grand Canyon was able to grind out nine hits, but also benefited from a pair of New Mexico errors to get some runs across the plate.
The two squads will square off again on Wednesday in Arizona on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the series finale.
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.