Late Rally in Eighth Nets 8-5 Win Over Nevada
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Justin Watari drew a bases loaded walk with two outs in the eighth inning and Hayden Schilling followed with a two-run single for some insurance as the New Mexico Lobos used a three-run eighth inning to down Nevada 8-5 at Santa Ana Star Field.
The Lobos picked up their first Mountain West win of the year and improved to 5-4-1 overall and 1-1 in the league while Nevada dropped to 4-5 and 1-1. The two teams will go for a series win tomorrow at noon. The time was moved up an hour to give a little extra time before Nevada’s flight out leaves.
Tied 4-4 in the seventh, Nevada took its only lead of the game, striking against UNM closer Christian Tripp. With two out, a soft double to left center by Daniel Perry preceded a ground single to left by Grant Fennell, giving Nevada a 5-4 lead. That lone lead didn’t last long.
In the bottom half, Brayden Merritt picked up his third hit, a single, and he went to second on a Watari sacrifice. After Schilling struck out, Danny Collier simply put bat on ball and stroked a single to center, scoring Merritt and tying the game at five, setting up UNM’s winning rally in the eighth.
Jeff Deimling opened with a single, and then after a failed sacrifice attempt, Robby Campillo stroke a single to left, moving Deimling to second. A Connor Mang walk loaded the bases, but Merritt grounded into a force at the plate, leaving thm loaded with two out, bringing up Watari. Watari worked the count full and fouled off a pitch before taking a pitch outside for a walk and a 6-5 lead. UNM then got some insurance when Schilling dropped on a single down the line in left.
— UNM Baseball (@UNMLoboBaseball) March 4, 2018
Leading 8-5 after eight, Tripp was lights out in the ninth. For the second straight weekend, Tripp struck out the side in the ninth, this time to earn his first victory of the season.
UNM opened a lead in the second on a Campillo single that knocked home Deimling, who crushed a double to center. Nevada matched that when Dillon Shrum homered to left in the fourth.
UNM racked up five hits in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead. Mang singled to open the inning and Merritt doubled into the corner to put runners on second and third. After a wild pitch scored Mang, Watari hit a squibber to first that scored Merritt, and he outraced everyone to first for his first hit of the year. Schilling doubled to put runners on second and third again with no one out. From there, an odd double play scored a run to make it 4-1.
Collier grounded innocently enough to first, with Watari holding. The problem was Schilling raced to third. Hung up, first baseman Conor Allard raced across the diamond to apply the tag, but Schilling ducked around it and raced back to second. Allard argued momentarily and then threw to second to get Schilling, with Watari taking off for home and just beating the throw, netting UNM a fourth run.
Nevada answered in the sixth. After a one out squibber to third for a hit, Robert Gasser was replaced by Chad Smith. Smith was greeted by allowing a run scoring triple, a run scoring double and one out later a tying single. Gasser was sparkling once again, going 5.1 innings, allowing just five hits (two bunts and a third infield hit) and two runs with four strikeouts.
NOTES: Brayden Merritt’s three hits pushed his average to a team-leading .571 on the year … Schilling’s double was his team-leading seventh … Collier got an RBI on his double play grounder because it wasn’t a force or reverse-force double play … Gasser’s ERA is now a team-best 2.93 … in Tripp’s three appearances he has two saves and a win.