The University of New Mexico baseball team, coming off of a split against Grand Canyon during the week, had no such luck against San Jose State — dropping the first two games of a weekend series on the road agains the Spartans.
The Lobos haven't fared well at all on the road this season, winning just four games all year for an anemic 4-13 record in true road games. Though the team is 3-3 in neutral site matchups, UNM simply hasn't had positive results when playing outside the friendly confines of Santa Ana Star Field.
On Friday, the Spartans were able to get a 6-5 come-from-behind win in extra innings after New Mexico squandered a five-run advantage.
SJSU junior shortstop Aaron Pleschner scored his team’s winning run in the bottom of the tenth, racing toward home plate after sophomore Kellen Strahm hit a ground ball that UNM was unable to make a play on.
Strahm only had one hit in the game, but played a crucial role in his team's comeback effort with three RBIs on the day. He laid down a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the sixth to cap a two-run sixth inning that tied the score at 5-5.
UNM appeared to be in the driver's seat after it exploded for five runs in the third inning to seize a 5-0 lead, playing from ahead until the Spartans drew even in the sixth.
In the top of the third inning, UNM freshman Nick Atkins singled to lead off the frame before he was brought home on a one out RBI double courtesy of junior Hayden Schilling. Then, after that, junior Jared Mang smacked a homer over the left field wall to put his team up 3-0 early on. By the end of the frame, the Lobos had amassed a 5-0 lead.
But the Lobo bats went cold after that, mustering just two base knocks the rest of the way, the same number of double plays the team hit into during that stretch.
SJSU, and its bullpen, held the Lobos scoreless over the remaining innings struck out the side in the top of the 10th inning. The Spartans also woke up on offense, scoring in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to drew even before putting things away in extra innings.
On Saturday, the UNM baseball team lost to San Jose State again, dropping a 5-4 decision.
Things started off well for New Mexico again as Lobo second baseman Justin Watari drew a lead-off walk. He moved into scoring position by stealing second base, but it was in the midst of three straight strikeouts as UNM left the sophomore stranded on second to end the inning.
Both teams were held scoreless in the opening inning, but San Jose State struck first when UNM sophomore pitcher Cody Dye gave up a run in the bottom of the second to make it 1-0 in favor of the Spartans. The scoring trend continued as SJSU plated runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings — surging out to a 5-1 lead heading into the sixth.
But New Mexico battled back in the top half of the sixth inning, doing some damage from the plate. Sophomore Robby Campillo hit a home run, a 3-RBI blast that drove in sophomore Justin Watari and junior Jeff Deimling in the process to bring the Lobos back within a run, 5-4.
SJSU nearly scored again in the seventh inning, but freshman pitcher Robert Gasser saved the frame when he entered the game with the bases loaded and just one out. He struck out infielder David Campbell to record out number two and then forced catcher Johnny Mendoza to hit a pop up into foul territory where Campillo settled in underneath to make the catch to end the frame.
But UNM was unable to answer back with any offense over the final two innings as the Spartans held on of the 5-4 victory to win their second straight in as many days over New Mexico. The loss moved UNM to 15-26-1 overall, and 8-15 in the Mountain West.
The final game between the schools is slated to take place on Sunday as San Jose State hosts the Lobos again at 1 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