FRESNO, Calif. — The University of New Mexico baseball team fell behind early and dropped the finale of their three-game series with Fresno State 15-9 Sunday afternoon at Pete Bieden Field.
The Lobos (28-23-1 overall, 18-7-1 Mountain West) sit with a .711 winning percentage in Mountain West action after losing three this weekend to the Bulldogs, just ahead of San Diego State (36-16, 19-8) and it’s .704 winning percentage in conference with three games remaining for each. UNM hosts Nevada (the Wolfpack are fighting for the fourth and final spot into the conference tournament) for a three-game set starting 6:30 p.m. Thursday while SDSU hosts Fresno State in a three-game series starting Thursday as well. The winner of the conference regular season hosts the Mountain West Tournament.
As for Friday’s contest, the Lobos fell behind 4-0 in the first inning after the Bulldogs (29-22, 16-11) hit a pair of two-out, two-run home runs.
UNM trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth after Andre Vigil hit a solo home run in the top of the inning (the Lobos scored their first run on a Robby Campillo RBI single in the second) before a six-run inning by Fresno State – five coming with two outs and unearned due to a Lobo error – stretched the Fresno State lead to 11-2.
“The thing I thought would get us down the road this year is our pitching,” UNM coach Ray Birmingham said. “This weekend wasn’t what I expected this time of the year. Fresno State is white hot right now and I think losing Jack (Zoellner) really had an effect.”
Birmingham is speaking about Lobo first baseman Jack Zoellner who was hit with a pitch early in the first game of the series in the hand and was out the rest of the series. The senior – who sits in the all-time top 10 in UNM history in several categories, including games played – will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Albuquerque on Monday.
The Lobos cut into the Fresno State lead on Sunday in the fifth on a three-run homer by Andre Gregory and got as close as four after a Gregory two-run double in the eighth made it 13-9, but that’s as close as the Lobos would get.
UNM outhit the Bulldogs 17-15 on the day with Gregory going 2-for-5 with a home run, double and five RBI to lead the way. Carl Stajduhar went 3-for-5 for the Lobos while Luis Gonzales, Hayden Schilling, and Jared Mang and Vigil had two hits apiece for the Lobos.
Gonzalez picked up the loss on the mound for UNM, going 3.2 innings and giving up nine runs (six earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts and three walks. Of note, senior Carson Schneider made his 78th career appearance on the mound for the Lobos – breaking the UNM record.
UNM opens its series against Nevada 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Santa Ana Star Field. The teams will also play 6:30 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday (Senior Day).