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Lobos Secure Series Win with 12-9 Game Two Victory over Wichita State

by Alma Solis

WICHITA, Kan. – The University of New Mexico baseball team secured the series win over Wichita State with a 12-9 victory over the Shockers at Eck Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The final game of the series is set for tomorrow at 9 a.m. (MT).

Middle relief man Justin Still picked up his first win of the season, fanning three in 1.1 innings pitched. Brian McBroom came in to close the game for the second game in a row, earning his third save of the season as he struck out three in 3.0 innings pitched. Every Lobo who stepped up to the plate recorded at least one hit today, including five Lobos with two hits apiece (Jeffrey David, Lenny Junior Ashby, Jack Silverman, Willie Cano, and Cole Posey).

The Shockers opened scoring in the first inning, scoring two runs for an early 2-0 advantage. Starting pitcher Brett Russell didn’t let that phase him as he went on to strike out four in a row, all swinging, through the last out of the first and striking out the side in order in the second inning.

The Lobos got on the board in the top of the second inning, scoring one run to cut their deficit to 2-1. With bases loaded, one out and a 1-2 count, Sean Stephens hit into a fielder’s choice in which he reached first base and Cano scored from third.

Ashby started the third inning off with a single to center field, before Runion came up the plate with the perfect opportunity to give the Lobos the advantage. The junior designated hitter then proceeded to launch the first pitch he saw out of the park for his third home run of the season, giving New Mexico the 3-2 lead.

Wichita State then scattered a couple runs through the fourth and fifth innings to regain the 4-3 lead. The Lobos’ infield, nation leaders in double plays turned, turned a 5-4-3 double play in the fourth. In the fifth, starter B. Russell called it a day with a line of 4.2 innings pitched, 8 hits allowed, 4 runs and 4 strikeouts. Freshman southpaw Still came in to get the final out of the fifth, forcing a strikeout swinging.

The Lobos wasted no time regaining the lead in the next frame, plating three runs for a 6-4 lead. After David worked a full count to loop a single to right, Ashby followed with a homerun to right center. This marks the Lobos’ power hitter’s sixth blast of the season. A couple batters later, Weissenborn singled on the first pitch of the at-bat to bring home Runion.

The Shockers responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, taking back a 7-6 lead.

New Mexico once again had a response, this time putting up six runs in the top of the seventh to give the Lobos a sizable 12-7 lead. Posey started things off with a single to center before Stephens was walked to put runners on first and second. David then singled to bring home Posey.

After a groundout by Ashby moved Stephens to third and David to second, Runion was intentionally walked to load the bases. Justin Olson then a hit a two-RBI double to score Stephens and David. Cano followed up with a single to drive home Runion. Pinch hitting for Podsednik, Kyle Landers capped off scoring with a single to bring Olson in.

Coming in to close out the game for the second game in a row, McBroom relieved Still in the bottom of the frame. He had a three up-three down inning as the infield turned another 5-4-3 double play and McBroom caught the last out of the inning looking for his first strikeout.

The eighth inning went scoreless as one Lobo walked and three struck out. On the other side of the frame, McBroom had a quick three up-three down inning as he forced two groundouts and a strikeout.

The Shockers attempted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth as a two-run homerun cut the Lobos’ lead to 12-9, but McBroom shut the next two Wichita State batters down with a lineout and finishing the game with a strikeout looking. The Lobos held on to win game two over the Shockers, 12-9, and secure the weekend series win.

New Mexico’s record improves to 8-11 on the season, while Wichita State falls to an 8-10 record.

The Lobos and Shockers close out the series on Sunday with an early first pitch time of 9 a.m. (MT) at Eck Stadium.

New Mexico will then return home to host No. 16 Arizona on March 23. First pitch against the Wildcats is set for 6 p.m. (MT) at Santa Ana Star Field.

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