SAN DIEGO, Calif. — It was a showdown worthy of this matchup of first versus second in the Mountain West when University of New Mexico’s Jared Mang – the conference’s leading hitter in Mountain West play – faced San Diego State closer CJ Saylor – the MW leader in saves – with two on, two outs and the Lobos trailing 10-9 in the seventh inning.
It was advantage Mang this Sunday afternoon.
The Lobo sophomore blasted a towering three-run homer to left to give the Lobos the lead and Christian Tripp shut down the SDSU bats over the final three innings in a contest UNM trailed 4-2, 7-4 and 10-7 – only to recover from each deficit – to win 12-10 and take two of three on the road at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
“It’s all about the fight in the Lobo dog,” UNM coach Ray Birmingham said. “It’s about fighting to win for what’s right and the great state of New Mexico.
The Lobos (26-18-1 overall) improve to 16-3-1 in MW play while second-place SDSU (30-15) drops to 14-7.
UNM entered the seventh inning down 10-7 after the Aztecs regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth – a game the Lobos had tied 7-7 with three runs in the top of the inning (highlighted by Mang and Luis GonzalezRBI singles).
Carl Stajduhar got the rally going by walking to lead off the inning before Andre Vigil hit a one-out single to put two on and one out. Andrew Pratt entered to pinch hit and smacked an RBI single to cut the SDSU lead to 10-8.
Andre Gregory, who entered as a pinch hitter earlier in the game, followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to one with Beau Capanna coming up (SDSU went to its closer Saylor at this point). The freshman laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with two outs and Mang – who had homered earlier in the game – coming up.
Mang took the first pitch he saw from Saylor and crushed it over the left field wall for a three-run, go-ahead home run as he finished the day 3-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI.
“I was going up there looking for a heater as he threw only one pitch to Beau,” Mang said. “I figured he was going to try and establish the fastball before he threw me anything soft and I got it.”
From there it was the closer Tripp that shut down the Aztecs over the final three innings as the sophomore silenced a San Diego State attack that racked up 10 runs against the Lobos through the first two innings. Tripp went three scoreless innings and gave up two hits while striking out two and walking none to pick up his sixth save of the season.
“I just wanted to come in, throw strikes and not worry too much about velocity,” Tripp said. “I just wanted to get the ball to move, get some ground balls and get ahead in the count. I wanted to throw some zeroes because our bats were hot and they kept coming back.”
Carson Schneider picked up the win in relief, going two innings and giving up three runs on three hits with two walks to move to 4-0 on the season. Gonzalez got the start for the Lobos, going four innings and giving up seven runs (six earned) on six hits with three walks.
Trejo picked up the loss for San Diego State, going 0.1 innings and giving up foru runs on three hits with one walk. San Diego State hit three homers in the game, getting them from Sheehan, Hensley and Nevarez.
The Lobos return home to take on in-state foe New Mexico State 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Santa Ana Star Field.