The first matchup this season between the University of New Mexico Lobos and New Mexico State Aggies was a blowout, with the Aggies cruising to a 9-1 victory at Santa Ana Star Field.
New Mexico State (20-13, 6-3 WAC) used a six-run second inning to build a comfortable margin and propel itself to the big win over New Mexico (12-18-1, 6-9 MW) on Tuesday evening.
It was the Lobos’ sixth straight loss, and pitching continued to be an issue — at least early on — as the starter got roughed up by some solid bats. UNM senior pitcher James Harrington got the start on the mound, but didn’t last long. He gave up eight runs on nine hits in an outing that lasted just two innings.
He started the bottom of the third, but never recorded an out — giving up a lead-off single and issuing a base on balls before being switched out for sophomore pitcher Nathaniel Garley.
The Aggies scored another run in the top of the third off a wild pitch by Garley, adding to their already sizable lead to snag an 8-0 advantage.
UNM head coach Ray Birmingham acknowledged that he took Harrington out too late, but said that they didn’t have anyone ready in the bullpen fast enough to make the switch.
It may not have mattered who was throwing pitches though, as the Lobos struggled mightily on offense as well — stranding nine baserunners. Senior left fielder Danny Collier led off for UNM and was able to get on base with a single in the bottom of the first inning, but was caught stealing second base shortly thereafter.
The Lobos didn’t get another hit until the bottom of the fifth inning when freshman shortstop Garrett Gouldsmith led off the frame with another base hit. Collier was walked later in the inning and the Lobos appeared to be in good shape with runners on first and second base with one nobody out.
But NMSU first baseman Caleb Henderson turned the tide. He extended to make a diving grab, denying Lobo junior Hayden Schilling a potential hit and recorded an unassisted double play by tagging first base to get Collier for a second out.
It almost resulted in a triple play, but Gouldsmith was able to hustle base to second base to narrowly beat the throw by Henderson. But New Mexico State got that third out anyway in the next at-bat, ending what may have been the Lobos’ best chance at a rally.
UNM added hits in the home halves of both the seventh and eighth inning, but was still unable to bring anyone home. The Lobos finally broke through in the ninth inning to avoid a shutout, plating a lone run to pull within 9-1.
Junior Jeff Deimling led off the frame with a single, before he advanced to second on another base knock from sophomore Robby Campillo. Gouldsmith drove in a run with a two-out hit to center field, scoring Campillo and putting runners on first and second base.
But the home team couldn’t mount a comeback as Collier struck out to end the game, capping an impressive win by the Aggies.
Harrington took the loss, dropping his record to 0-2 on the season, while New Mexico State’s Justin Dehn picked up the win, as the right-handed hurler surrendered just two hits over five innings — striking out a pair of Lobos along the way.
For New Mexico, Gouldsmith was the only Lobos to register a multi-hit game with two hits on the day. He went 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in Campillo, who was the only UNM player to reach home plate.
The Lobos will head Reno, Nevada to take on the University of Nevada Wolf Pack in a three-game weekend series starting Friday at 7 p.m. It will be the second series meeting between the two teams, as Nevada took two of three games when the teams met earlier in the year in Albuquerque.
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 contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.