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Lobos Walk-Off Miners to Open Lobo Classic

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— When tested, the Lobo softball team continues to find ways to win.

Thursday’s opening game of the Lobo Classic was no different as UNM had a 4-0 lead going into the top of the seventh inning, and while UTEP put together a two-out rally to tie the game, the Lobos responded and found a way to win with three-straight walks and a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh.

UNM (7-3) got out to an early lead with a Leslie Romero solo home run to center on the second at-bat of the bottom of the first, and Romero came through again in the bottom of the second, driving in two more runs on a single to center that scored Reyan Tuck and Taryn Young, both of which reached base on back-to-back singles to the outfield.

While starting pitcher Amber Linton was keeping the Miners off of the board, the Lobos continued to add to their lead, with Emma Bramson hitting her first collegiate home run in the bottom of the third on a no-doubter to the stands in left to make it 4-0 Lobos.

UTEP threatened with runners on the corners in the first and second inning and put two runners in scoring position in the fifth, but each time, Linton got out of the inning on account of a grounder (first) a lineout (second) or consecutive strikeouts (fifth) to keep the Lobo lead.

The Lobos left two runners on in the bottom of the sixth to set up the seventh with Linton returning to the circle to attempt to complete the game, and the sophomore recorded the first out on a swinging strikeout. A walk following a full count put the first baserunner on, but the runner was eliminated on the next at-bat on a fielder’s choice for the second out.

A Lobo error put two runners in scoring position and on the next-at, the Miners got their first run across on a little dribbler to third with the runner beating the throw to first for the unearned run. A single up the middle scored the second unearned run, and ended the night for Linton after 6.2 innings. Emma Guindon entered in relief and walked the first batter to load the bases and a single through the right side on the next at-bat tied the game at four.

Stepping in to pinch hit to start the bottom of the seventh, Alexis Vigil drew a walk after battling to a full count, and Bramson and Briana Martinez both walked as well following 3-1 counts. The Miners went to the bullpen, but the Lobos walked it off on the next at-bat after Tuck hit the 1-2 pitch to right field. While the outfielder caught the ball, the direction of the ball took the outfielder’s momentum towards the foul line, and allowed Vigil to easily tag from third for the game-winning run.

Romero led the Lobos with three RBI in the game, going 2-for-4 at the plate, while Bramson went 2-for-3 with one RBI and a walk. Both also hit their first collegiate home run on Thursday, with six different Lobos having at least one on the season and bringing the team total to eight. Andrea Howard and Martinez each walked twice.

In the circle, Linton turned in her second double-digit strikeout performance of the season, finishing with a career-high 11 strikeouts while walking three batters and not allowing an extra-base hit for the fifth-straight game. Of the four runs scored, none were earned and of the 121 pitches thrown, 80 went for strikes. Guindon earned the decision in the game to improve to 3-1 on the season.

With Thursday’s win, the Lobos are now 3-1 in one-run games and 4-0 when leading after six innings.

The Lobos face North Dakota State on day two of the Lobo Classic, with first pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m.