Herrera, Watari Go Long in 8-4 Season Ending Win
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a season in which UNM’s power numbers were way down, it was a pair of longballs in the sixth inning that proved the difference for the Lobos, as Daniel Herrera homers in his final game, and Justin Watari hit his first homer of his career to give UNM a 6-3 lead on the way to a season-ending 8-4 win over UC Davis.
The win gave UNM a final record of 20-33-1. The Lobos missed the Mountain West Tournament for the first time in Ray Birmingham’s 11 seasons.
The sixth inning rally made a winner of Nathaniel Garley, who threw six strong innings, allowing just three runs and nine hits. Overall, he threw 93 pitches, and in a tie game at 3-3 in the sixth inning with the go-ahead run for UC Davis on second base, Garley recorded his second strikeout of the game and a flyout to end the inning.
That sent UNM to the bottom of the sixth, and that’s where UNM’s power flexed its muscle. First it was Herrera, the switch-hitting catcher who had doubled earlier in the game from the right side, came up from the other side of the plate against reliever Brett Irwin. Herrera hammered a crushing blow, a long solo home run, giving him homers in back-to-back games in his final games of his Lobo career.
After a single and a flyout, Watari came to the plate, and launched a high fly ball that landed about 360 feet away well beyond the fence for his first career dinger, and UNM led it 6-3.
Robert Gasser entered and allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning, giving way to Malachi Emond, who struck out the go ahead run to end the threat in the seventh, and then finished it out for his second career save.
UNM got two insurance runs in the eighth on a passed ball that scored Connor Mang and then a sacrifice fly by Derek Marshall. UNM took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Mang singled in Hayden Schilling, who had singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Down 2-1 in the second, UNM tied it when Herrera doubled and then Brayden Merritt switched places with him.
After UC Davis hit a homer in the third to make it 3-2, UNM tied it in the fifth once again. UNM put runners on first and second with two outs and Jeff Deimling laced a single to even it up at 3-3. That set the stage for the eventful sixth for the Lobos.
NOTES: Hayden Schilling’s two hits gave him the team lead in batting with a .348 average, and Connor Mang’s .326 led all freshmen … Garley earned his first Mountain West win as a starter.