Lobos come-from-behind to upset No. 11 Texas Tech, 12-9
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Trailing 8-2 through three innings of play, the University of New Mexico baseball team rallied to out-score visiting No. 11-ranked Texas Tech 10-1 over the remainder of the game en route to a come-from-behind 12-9 upset victory on Wednesday afternoon out at Santa Ana Star Field.
The win is the Lobos (15-14) second this season over a nationally-ranked team with the first coming on opening weekend against then No. 24-ranked Minnesota. It also snapped a four-game losing streak against Texas Tech.
In the game on Wednesday, the Lobos found themselves trailing early once more to the Red Raiders (19-8) after a two-run top of the first inning for Texas Tech. That early lead was cut in half in the bottom of the first on a RBI groundout by Jared Mang that scored Justin Watari, who doubled to lead off the inning. An inning later, the score was square at two-all on a sacrifice fly out to right field off the bat of Adam Adkins.
— UNM Baseball (@UNMLoboBaseball) April 3, 2019
The score did not stay tied for long, however, as the Red Raiders scored six runs on six hits in the top of the third inning to take the aforementioned 8-2 lead. During that inning, the Lobos were forced to go to the bullpen and Brian Coffey came on in relief of starter Jack Murano. Coffey would allow a hit and one of Murano’s runs to score, but ultimately got out of the inning.
Able to start an inning fresh, Coffey returned to the mound for the fourth and settled the game down as he kept the Red Raiders out of the run column in both the fourth and fifth innings.
The zero put up by Coffey in the fifth was the turning point in the game because the Lobos had just scored twice on a RBI single by Connor Mang and a RBI groundout by Adkins in the bottom of the fourth to make it an 8-4 game. Additionally, the Red Raiders were in position to distance themselves as the final out came with runners on second and third.
That momentum of getting out of the fifth unscathed carried over to the bottom of the frame where the Lobos continued to inch back into the game with three runs on four hits to suddenly make it a one-run game at 8-7.
In that inning, the Lobos had three-straight singles to load the bases with no outs. Jared Mang then delivered a soft liner over the shortstop’s head and into left-centerfield to score Ediberto Reyes and Watari. The Red Raiders then went to the bullpen. On the first pitch of the ensuing at-bat by Tanner Baker, the bases were loaded once more with no outs as Baker laid down a sacrifice bunt but reached first base on a fielding error by the Texas Tech pitcher.
Two batters later, the Lobos plated their third run of the inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jeff Deimling to score Hayden Schilling.
The sixth inning was handled by Jack White as he relieved Coffey, who pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball. White, a redshirt freshman, did his part on the mound as he tossed a scoreless frame and worked around a two-out walk.
A quiet bottom of the sixth gave way to the top of the seventh and a new Lobo pitcher as Blake Walden entered the game. The Red Raiders threatened to push across a run in the inning as the first two men reached on singles off of Walden, but a misplay on a sacrifice bunt by Walden ended up being the first out as first baseman Zack Doak hung with the play and cut down a runner at the plate to preserve a run. Walden then got the next two batters out to escape the inning without a run allowed.
That was another turning point in the game because the Lobos plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to take their first lead of the two-game mid-week series at 9-8.
In that inning, Schilling led off the inning by reaching on throwing error by the Red Raiders’ shortstop. J. Mang then singled to left and he and Schilling where then moved up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by Baker. That prompted another Texas Tech pitching change ahead of the at-bat for C. Mang. After working the count full, C. Mang drove in the tying run while beating out an infield single to second base. The Lobos then took the lead on a bloop single to right field off the bat of Deimling.
In the top of the eighth, the Red Raiders broke their scoreless inning streak with a two-out run off of Malachi Emond to tie the game at 9-all. Emond would minimize the damage there to send the game to the bottom of the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Lobos reclaimed the lead and hung a crooked number as they scored three runs on three hits to take a 12-9 lead. The first run of the inning was pinch-runner Brayden Merritt scoring on a strikeout/wild pitch with the bases loaded and one out. The wild pitch also allowed Schilling and J. Mang to advance to second and third, respectively. C. Mang then delivered a clutch two-RBI single up the middle for the Lobos’ 11th and 12th runs of the game.
After scoring, Schilling then raced down to the bullpen to get ready to come out to the mound for a potential save. The potential quickly became a reality as Schilling sat down the Red Raiders in order in the top of the ninth to secure his second save of the season.
The Lobos will now prepare to hit the road for a pivotal weekend series at San Jose State. The Spartans currently lead the Mountain West at 8-4 in league play. The Lobos will enter at 6-6 in MW play. First game of the series is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (MT) first pitch on Friday, April 5.