It likely wasn’t the series the University of New Mexico baseball team had hoped for as the Lobos dropped their fifth straight game — and third in a row to Fresno State — falling by a score of 11-6 on Sunday at Santa Ana Star Field.
Game three of series began much the same way as the opening game against the Bulldogs (20-11, 7-8 MW) as the Lobos (12-17-1, 6-9 MW) surrendered a multi-run inning in the top of the first, falling behind 3-0.
Freshman Robert Gasser, UNM’s starting pitcher, was able to induce Fresno State center fielder Zach Ashford into a groundout to start the game, but subsequently walked two straight batters before giving up a three-run homer to sophomore Carter Bins to give the Bulldogs the early advantage.
Unlike Friday’s contest, the Lobos were unable to answer with runs in the home half of the inning, going down in order on just eight pitches.
But after a solid performance on the mound for Gasser in the next inning, where he retired the side, his team was able to pick up their first run of the game in the bottom of the second.
Freshman Connor Mang led off the frame with a single up the middle and then freshman Chris Dunn doubled to put runners on second and third base.
Sophomore Robby Campillo hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Mang in the process. But Dunn was thrown out at third base on the play, which helped the Bulldogs limit the damage and maintain a 3-1 lead through two innings of play.
During the third and fourth innings, Fresno State continued to hammer at the Lobos with some heavy bats. Gasser’s day ended abruptly after surrendering a two-run shot in the third inning, followed by a hit batsman.
He was pulled in favor of sophomore Nathaniel Garley, but his luck wasn’t much better. The right-hander gave up two runs of his own in the top of the fourth as the Bulldogs extended their lead to a comfortable 8-1 margin.
The Lobos were able to tack on another run in the bottom of the fourth inning, before exploding for a big fifth inning to tighten things up.
Freshman Brayden Merritt led off the frame with a double before he was brought home on an RBI-single from junior Hayden Schilling. Connor Mang scored Schilling on a triple, and Mang was brought home on a groundout, to bring the Lobos back within three runs, 8-5.
UNM added another run in the sixth inning to close the gap to just two runs, but were held scoreless over the final three innings. Meanwhile, Fresno State salted things away by adding three insurance runs to seal the deal and coast to victory.
The 11-6 Bulldog victory on Sunday improved Fresno State’s record to 5-1 in games played against New Mexico so far this season.
For the Lobos, a trio of hitters were able to grab two hits apiece in Connor Mang, Dunn and freshman Phillip Sikes. Mang, however, had two runs and an RBI to his credit.
Though he only saw two innings of work on the mound, starting pitcher Gasser was tagged with his second loss of the season, dropping him to a 1-2 record. He gave up six runs on just three hits, walking three and striking out two in the brief outing.
UNM will host rival New Mexico State on Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.
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.