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Lobo Comeback Comes Up Short in Game One with Aggies

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The Lobo softball team attempted a late rally with four runs combined in the fifth and sixth inning and had the tying run on third in the seventh, but the Lobo comeback came up just short against Utah State on Friday, falling 5-4.

After falling behind 5-0, the Lobos strung together three runs on three hits in the fifth, including two home runs, and added a run in the sixth to make it a one-run game heading to the seventh. The Lobos kept the Aggies off the board in the top half, and had the perfect setup with the top of their lineup due up in the bottom half.

Ashley Archuleta drew a one-out walk and Andrea Howard hit the ball hard to right field, flying over the head of the Aggie outfielder, sending Archuleta racing around to third to put runners on the corners and the tying run on third. Emma Bramson moved Howard over on a grounder to first, however, the Lobos were unable to get the necessary hit to bring Archuleta in.

Seven different Lobos recorded a hit in the game in Peyton Robinson, Archuleta, Howard, Taryn Young, Olivia Birkinshaw, Janae Cameron and Briana Martinez.

The Aggies were the first to score, plating two runs on three hits in the first inning, all occurring with two outs. USU added two more in the second, again scoring two runs on three hits, to double its lead through two.

While the Aggies found their offense early, it wasn’t until the third inning that the Lobos reached base, with Robinson breaking the hold with an infield single. That seemed to be contagious, as Archuleta followed that up with a single to center in which Robinson moved all the way around to third and Archuleta took second on the throw to third. However, the Lobos were unable to capitalize, leaving both runners on base.

The fifth inning seemed to turn the tide, as after USU hit a solo home run to lead off the inning to make it 5-0, the Lobo bats woke up, with Birkinshaw creating the spark. Head Coach Paula Congleton went to the bench to pinch hit Birkinshaw, and the freshman delivered with a solo home run to left for her first collegiate home run. Cameron hit a single through the left side of the infield to reach and Martinez kept the momentum going with a home run to left field that managed to stay fair to make it 5-3 and force an Aggie pitching change.

Utah State had a baserunner on second after a Lobo error, but relief pitcher Emma Guindon ended the threat with a strikeout. Young hit a one-out single in the home half of the sixth and Reyan Tuck benefitted from a dropped fly ball by the Aggie right fiddler that allowed Young to reach third. A fielder’s choice plated Young to make it a one-run game before the inning came to a close.

The Lobos worked around a one-out single by Utah State in the top of the seventh to give themselves a chance to tie or go for the win, but came up just short.

Archuleta also drew two of UNM’s three walks in the game, while Martinez led with two RBI and Cameron and Birkinshaw each added one.

In the circle, Amber Linton went 2.1 innings in the start, striking out two, walking two and allowing four runs on six hits. Guindon pitched the remaining 4.2 innings, allowing two hits and one run, striking out three and walking one.

UNM (20-10, 1-3 MW) returns to the diamond for game two of the series against Utah State on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.