UNM head baseball coach Ray Birmingham’s Sunday was more stress than rest.
Utah’s five-run second inning lifted the Utes to a 9-3 victory over the UNM baseball team at Isotopes Park. The Utes’ six-run win completed a three-game weekend sweep of the Lobos. It also marked UNM’s sixth straight loss, its 12th in the last 13 games.
Birmingham said it’s been hard to tolerate losing.
“You just be patient and make your evaluation at the end of the season,” he said.
Patience is running thin for the fourth-year head coach. UNM lost 7-1 Friday and 15-11 Saturday. The Lobos are now 10-27 overall.
In the sweep, the Utes doubled the Lobos’ run total. Utah outscored UNM 31-15 over the weekend. Starting pitcher Rudy Jaramillo saw a similar fate Sunday with multiple Utah hits and runs.
Jaramillo lasted two innings and gave up seven runs on six hits. Richard Olson replaced Jaramillo in the third and pitched five shutout innings.
Olson gave up only two hits and struck out three Utah batters.
Birmingham said Olson’s performance was outstanding, considering that he was removed from the starting rotation and relegated to the bullpen.
“He went to the bullpen because he was (pitching like) Rudy did,” he said. “He goes to the bullpen, and now Rudy is doing what Olson did.”
Olson said he found the strike zone consistently.
“Today we just worked fastballs in-and-out and trying to mix it up a little bit,” he said. “We felt the last couple of days that we’ve had to go (inside the strike zone) a lot.”
Except the Lobos shouldn’t have challenged Utes’ first baseman C.J. Cron. He was the exception.
Cron went 3-for-3 Sunday with one RBI. He had eight hits in the three-game series and six RBIs.
Utah left fielder Shaun Cooper had three hits and four RBIs on Sunday. Cooper doubled off Jaramillo in the first inning, scoring James Brooks. Cooper scored two more runners in the second.
In the top of the ninth, Cooper singled up the middle for his final RBI and gave Utah an 8-2 lead.
Birmingham said that it’s not just pitching that’s doomed the Lobos. He said it’s depth.
“They come out fired up to play every day, but a weaker person wouldn’t do that,” he said. “So I tip my hat to most of them for doing that.”
While UNM searches for wins, Birmingham said he will do whatever it takes to turn it around. But as far as the inconsistency —
“It’s driving me nuts,” he said.