After a strong start at the plate, in which the University of New Mexico baseball team had as much as a 4-0 lead on No.8 Oregon State, it was pitching in the final innings that led to the Lobos’ demise.
New Mexico (0-1) gave up three runs in the seventh and three in the bottom of the ninth, ultimately surrendering a victory to the Beavers (1-0), 6-5, on Friday afternoon in Surprise, Arizona.
It was the season opener for both teams.
Derek Marshall Jr. was able to reach base on a walk before Jeff Deimling moved him into scoring position on a single. That’s when Tyler Kelly singled up the middle, which brought Marshall home for the first run of the game.
Meanwhile, Justin Slaten, UNM’s ace, held the Beavers hitless through the first three innings, before giving up a hit in the fourth. He pitched five total innings, giving up just one hit—a double—and inducing five strikeouts.
It was in the top of the sixth inning, however, that UNM’s offense started churning. After a Hayden Schilling walk, Jared Mang blasted a two-run homer to left center.
Shortly after, Connor Mang reached first base on a walk, before a Deimling single moved the younger Mang to third base. From there, Kelly reached base on a fielder’s choice and Mang reached home to put UNM up 4-0.
Blake Walden entered in as relief for Slaten at the start of the sixth, and pitched well in the inning, allowing just one runner on base.
In the bottom of the seventh, Oregon State started to slowly find a way to produce on offense. Walden walked the first Beaver batter and then hit the second, before being replaced by Malachi Emond.
Emond was able to strike out the first batter he faced and get a fly out out of the second batter, but a throwing error on the ensuing at-bat helped Oregon State score its first run.
Then, shortly later, a two-run single from Alex McGarry helped the Beavers shorten UNM’s lead to just one run.
The Beavers stood strong at the top of the eighth, as relief pitcher Dylan Pearce was able to produce a three-and-out for his team.
Meanwhile, Emond recouped in the bottom of the eight for UNM, as he retired the side.
At the top of the ninth, Brayden Merritt and Justin Watari Were both able to notch singles with one out. The latter single was able to move Merritt to third base, and Oregon State went to a different pitcher—Brandon Eisert—to finish off the inning.
That didn’t stop the Lobos on offense, however, as Schilling was able to complete an RBI single shortly after the pitching change, which put the Lobos up 5-3.
Emond started the bottom of the ninth for UNM, but gave up a double on the first Oregon State at-bat. He then gave up a single, which scored the runner from second.
Eventually, Oregon State was able to load the bases with one out, and the rest was history. Greg Fuchs came in to pinch hit for the Beavers, and in the process contributed a two-run single which ended the game.
The Beavers went on to defeat UNM 6-5.
For UNM, Jared Mang led the Lobos at the plate, as he went 1-for-4 with one run, two RBI and a homer. Deimling finished 2-for-4 and Kelly finished 1-for-4 with two RBI.
The loss was ultimately tagged to Emond, who is now 0-1 on the season.
UNM will face Minnesota on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. The Lobos will also face Oregon State again on Monday at the conclusion of the tournament in Surprise, Arizona.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior writer for the Daily Lobo. He helps with baseball and basketball coverage. He can be reached at or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.