The University of New Mexico baseball team trailed by a score of 8-0 before rallying for six runs late in the game, but it wasn’t enough as the Lobos were held scoreless in the bottom of the ninth and suffered defeat for the second straight day at the hands of No. 25 Oklahoma.
UNM (11-9, 3-3 Mountain West) was defeated 8-1 on Tuesday evening, in a lopsided affair which saw the Sooners put on a pitching clinic. The Sooners were able to go up 3-1 before exploding in the sixth inning for four runs.
Up until that point, the Lobo defense was able to get the team within striking distance, but a failed attempt to record a double play and a wild pitch changed all that. Offensively, the Lobos put together eight hits, but were never in a position really mount any sort of comeback.
On Wednesday, things shook out much of the same way. The Sooners were dominant in the early innings, particularly with its starting pitching. The Lobos scattered three hits in the first six innings and were held scoreless, stranding plenty of baserunners along the way.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma struck first again on the offensive end, registering three runs in the first inning before adding four more runs and going up 8-0 before UNM eventually scored its first run.
Jaret Godman, a freshman right-hander, picked up the win for Oklahoma by pitching 3.1 scoreless innings to improve his record to 2-0.
But UNM found its groove coming out of the seventh-inning stretch, as Jeff Deimling doubled to lead off the bottom of the inning. Shortly after, freshman Ediberto Reyes, singled to the right side of the field to score Deimling in the process to make it 8-1.
After a pitching change for the Sooners, Brayden Merritt was able to reach first on a fielder’s choice, as Reyes advanced on an error. That brought Derek Marshall Jr. up to the plate, and he came up big with 3-run homer over the left field wall to cut the lead in half during the inning and make it 8-4 with no outs.
But Oklahoma was able to sit down the next three batters and deny New Mexico a chance to inch closer and preserve the four-run advantage heading into the eighth inning.
New Mexico used two pitchers to get through the top of the eighth, working around a lead-off double and another wild pitch to get out of the away half unscathed.
UNM added another two runs after a passed ball, walk and a wild pitch put a couple of Lobos in scoring position. Connor Mang crossed home plate after Reyes put a sacrifice grounder in play. And with two outs and Adam Adkins — who was walked earlier in the inning — still camped out on second, Merritt came up a clutch single to get Adkins home.
But 8-6 was as close as the Lobos were able to draw in the bottom of the eighth, stranding Merritt at second with the game-tying run at the plate, Marshall Jr. grounding out to short.
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New Mexico was able to avoid disaster in the top of the ninth after an intention walk sandwiched between a pair of wild pitches put Sooners on second and third and Taner Tredaway up to bat, before the sophomore slugger stuck out swinging.
New Mexico, still down 8-6 in the bottom of the ninth, wasn't able to do much with its late-chance effort to tie or win the game. The Lobos drew a lead-off walk, but was never able to advance the runner as the Sooners continually got the lead runner out on three straight ground balls to end the game.
The loss was UNM’s second in two days to the Sooners, giving them the series defeat.
Jack Murano, who made his first collegiate start for UNM, took the loss. He threw just 38 pitches in the first inning, allowing three hits and three runs.
Connor Mang and Merritt both had two hits and one run against the Sooners on Wednesday, but Marshall added three RBI to his stat line after his home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Lobos will have one day to rest before facing San Diego State in a 3-game series that spans from Friday through Sunday.
The Aztecs are 11-8, most recently suffering a loss to Loyola Marymount on Tuesday.
UNM currently sits at third in the Mountain West, while SDSU is one spot below with a 2-2 record in conference play.
First pitch for the SDSU series is on Friday, Mar. 22 at 6 p.m.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior writer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers baseball and basketball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.