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Starting pitching dominant; Lobos split DH vs. Niagara

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After dropping the first game of Saturday’s chilly doubleheader to Niagara by a score of 5-3, the University of New Mexico bounced back in the nightcap and upended Purple Eagles by the same score to split the twin-bill.
Despite the split, pitching overall was dominant for the Lobos (3-3) on Saturday, but the starters were particularly sharp. Game one starter, Justin Slaten (0-0) and game two starter, Nathaniel Garley (2-0) combined to strike out 19 batters over 14.0 innings pitched. Both starters pitched 7.0 innings respectively with Slaten registering a career-high 10 strikeouts. Garley’s nine Ks would tie his career-best that he set back in 2018 against San Diego State.
Slaten would not register a decision however in game one as the Purple Eagles rallied for four runs in the top of the eighth to take a 5-3 lead. Prior to that half inning, the Lobos had a 3-1 lead with a single run in the first inning and two in the fifth. The run in the first scored on an RBI single off the bat of Jared Mang. Both runs in the fifth came home on a two-RBI triple by Hayden Schilling.
In the top of the eighth, Niagara began their rally on a leadoff walk. Following a strikeout, Niagara loaded the based with one out on a single to right and another walk. The Lobos then turned once more to the bullpen for Malachi Emond. Emond would strikeout the first batter he faced for the second out and was nearly out of the inning unscathed. A full-count walk forced home a run to make it 3-2 UNM. The Purple Eagles then got consecutive seeing-eye singles through both sides of the infield to plate three more runs and give them a two-run lead.

The Lobos would hold Niagara scoreless in the top of the ninth to keep it a one-run game, but a 1-2-3 bottom of the frame ended the first game.
In the second game, the Lobos got off to another quick start, this time by plating three runs in the bottom of the first. The first two scored on a double up the middle by J. Mang. The second scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Connor Mang.
That score held until the bottom of the fifth when Jeff Deimling scored on a double play to make it 4-0, UNM.


As they did in the first game, Niagara put together a scoring rally in the eighth. This time it was aided by the inning being extended on a two-out error. The first run of the game for the Purple Eagles scored on the error. In the next at-bat, Niagara plated two more on a single to center field. All runs were unearned, but suddenly the 4-0 lead was trimmed to a single run, 4-3.
The Lobos would get out that inning with the lead intact as Blake Walden induced a fly out to center.

In the bottom of the inning, the Lobos scored a huge run of insurance as C. Mang dropped a single into left-centerfield just over the outstretched glove of the Niagara shortstop. Scoring on C. Mang’s single was Tanner Baker, who doubled down the left field line in the at-bat previous.
In the top of the ninth, the Lobos made a pitching change and brought in Schilling from his shortstop position for the final three outs. Schilling was economical in the frame, retiring the Purple Eagles in order and registering a pair of strikeouts to end the game and notch his first save of the season.
The Lobos and Purple Eagles will conclude their four-game series on Sunday with another doubleheader scheduled for Noon.