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Lobos take series at UNLV with 7-4 win in rubber game

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Following a 1-hit shutout suffered on Saturday night, the University of New Mexico baseball team bounced back emphatically on Sunday and beat UNLV by a score of 7-4 to claim the weekend series.
In the game on Sunday, the Lobos (14-13, 6-6 MW) wasted no time in collecting their first hit as Justin Watari singled up the middle to lead off the game. The Watari single to open the game was a welcomed sight for sure as the Lobo offense was silenced on Saturday night and did not register their first hit until two outs in the ninth.
Hayden Schilling and Jared Mang then followed suit by singling up the middle to load the bases with no outs. The Lobos would only get one run out of the top of the first inning, however, as a pair of groundballs to shortstop ended the inning.
In the bottom of the first inning UNLV plated a pair of runs off of UNM starter Drew Gillespie to take a 2-1 lead. The inning for the Rebels (17-13, 5-7 MW) started with a walk to leadoff batter Bryson Stott. A pair of singles through the infield followed with the second one scoring Stott and putting runners at the corners with no outs.

The tide then shifted heavily in the Lobos’ and Gillespie’s favor as Watari made a spectacular play up the middle and triggered a 4-6-3 double play. A run did score on the play, but that twin-killing helped Gillespie minimize the damage in the inning and perhaps served as a catalyst for Gillespie’s eventual career day on the mound.
The Lobo offense also did its part in helping Gillespie settle in to the game as they scored single runs in the second and third innings and broke for a three-spot in the fourth to take a 6-2 lead through four innings. The Lobos added a run in the sixth to account for their seven runs in the game.
The run in the second scored on a RBI single to right field off the bat of Tanner Baker, while the run in the third came home on a single centerfield by Jeff Deimling. Two of the three runs in the fourth were driven in by Reese O’Farrell on a triple down the right field line, and the third was scored on a sacrifice fly by Watari. The tally in the sixth was plated on a RBI single to left field by Schilling.
While the Lobo offense was providing runs of support, Gillespie was on the mound finding his strikeout pitch. Previously with a career-high of five strikeouts in a game, Gillespie’s best strikeout game this season was three at Arizona. In the game at UNLV on Sunday, Gillespie more than doubled that and registered seven strikeouts. Five of his seven strikeouts came in the fifth and sixth innings as Gillespie struck out the side in the fifth and bookended the sixth with strikeouts.
Blake Walden was first out of the bullpen in relief of Gillespie to start the seventh. Walden recorded two outs before the Lobos turned to Malachi Emond. Emond needed just one pitch to get out of the seventh. In the eighth, Emond worked around two singles as he struck out the side. In the ninth, the Rebels scored twice on three hits, but Emond finished out the game and the victory for the Lobos as he registered a strikeout for the final out.
The Lobos will now return home for a brief two-game series against No. 10-ranked Texas Tech. The first game of the series will be on Tuesday, April 2 out at Santa Ana Star Field. First-pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.