SANTA ANA STAR FIELD — The University of New Mexico baseball team swept its 2020 home opener last weekend against the University of Northern Colorado.
The series kicked off on Friday, Feb. 21 with a 7-6 win against the Bears.
Northern Colorado struck early, as UNM junior Aaron Makil gave up two of his three runs in the top of the fourth inning, putting the Lobos in an early hole. UNM bounced back in the bottom of the same frame with a Connor Mang score after Ediberto Reyes' sacrifice groundout. UNM scored again on back-to-back doubles by Harry Fullerton and Shane Podsednik, locking the score at 2-2.
Northern Colorado regained the lead in the top of the fifth, though the Lobos bounced back once more. UNM scored three more runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a two-run homer by Fullerton that gave the Lobos a 5-3 cushion.
UNM tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, putting them ahead 7-3. A late Bears comeback attempt in the top of the ninth stopped just short as reliever Isiah Campa struck out the side to give the Lobos a 7-6 victory in Campa's first save of the season. Makil recorded his first win of the season after going six innings, allowing nine hits and three runs while recording six strikeouts.
The second game of the series was slated for Saturday, though a rain delay set up a Sunday doubleheader.
In the first game, the Lobos struck first, putting up two runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Northern Colorado were unable to muster anything against starter Justin Armbruester, who went six innings, allowing zero runs on just two hits while obtaining nine strikeouts.
The Bears managed to plate two runs in the top of the seventh inning, tying the score at 2-2, but the Lobos immediately responded in the bottom of the eighth as a Jarrett Gonzales single gave UNM a 3-2 lead going into the ninth.
From there, the Lobos were able to shut the door on the Bears, with Reyes Jr. securing a victory with a strikeout against the final Northern Colorado batter, recording his second save of the season.
The nightcap went much smoother for UNM, as an RBI grounder from junior Kemuel Thomas-Rivera opened up a scoring barrage for the Lobos. A Fullerton single made the score 2-0, and in the fourth inning, another Fullerton homer put the Lobos up 4-0. UNM ended the game with nine runs on 11 hits.
On the other side, UNM's pitching would prove to be too mighty for the Bears, as Tristin Lively went six innings, giving up just two hits while striking out eight in a shutout effort. The Lobo bullpen kept the shutout intact by going three innings without allowing a run.
UNM (5-2) looks to continue its momentum next Thursday, Feb. 27 at Santa Ana Star Field as they take on BYU to open up another three-game home series.
Spencer Butler is a sports reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @SpencerButler48