It looked as though it was going to be Texas Tech baseball's day for the second game in a row over the Lobos, on UNM’s home field early Wednesday afternoon.
But after going down 8-2 to the Red Raiders, who put together a six-run inning in the third, a mix of relief pitching and timely hitting helped the Lobos make the improbable comeback, as they went on to win 12-9 and split the series against the 11th best team in the nation.
But UNM (15-14) didn’t shy away from Texas Tech’s (19-8) large lead and was able to put up a run each in the first and second innings. The Lobos big break came in the bottom of the fifth when they put together their first three-run inning.
Down 8-4 at the time, the Lobos were able to string together three singles to load the bases. That brought up Jared Mang, who then singled to left field and scored both Ediberto Reyes and Justin Watari in the process.
The Lobos third run in the bottom of the fifth came by way of a flyout from Jeff Deimling that scored Hayden Schilling, who was on third base at the time.
Jack Murano, UNM’s starting pitcher, had a tough outing, allowing eight runs on eight hits in just two-and-a-third innings on the mound.
But UNM’s relief pitching, at least in the later innings, is what helped them out.
In the fourth through the seventh innings Texas Tech was unable to score a single run -- and they only scored one more the entire game. That was due in part to the five Lobo pitchers who did their part. Brian Coffey, who came in for Murano, pitched 2.2 innings and allowed zero runs and just three hits.
Jack White, Blake Walden, Malachi Edmond and Schilling--who closed--pitched the remaining innings, and they allowed just four hits and one run total between them.
The best hitter on Wednesday afternoon for UNM was Connor Mang, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Jared Mang went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs, while Schilling did his part by scoring three separate times. Watari, Deimling and Reyes each had two hits, too.
Connor Mang’s most memorable moment came in the bottom of the eighth with his team up 10-9. With runners on second and third and with two outs, he singled up the middle and scored both Jared and Schilling, giving the Lobos a 12-9 lead and helping seal their eventual victory.
UNM allowed 15 hits total, though nine of those came in the first three innings of the game. On the other hand, the Lobos combined for 13 hits.
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The Lobos’ bullpen was able to strike out eight and walk just four Texas Tech batters.
UNM will now head to California to take on San Jose State in a three-game series that starts on Friday, April 5.
The Lobos are 6-6 in conference play and 4-4 away from Santa Ana Star Field.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior writer for the Daily Lobo. He helps with baseball and basketball coverage. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.