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New Mexico Falls to MW-Leading UNLV in Series Finale

by Alma Solis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico baseball team fell, 27-6, to UNLV in the series finale of a three-game conference series against the Mountain West-leading Rebels on Sunday afternoon at Santa Ana Star Field.

Coming in to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Landers hit a single to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Both Odessa transfers, Sean Stephens and Lenny Junior Ashby, had three-hit games in the series finale. Stephens led the Lobos as he had an outstanding 3-for-5 outing with a run, two RBI and his first home run of the season. Ashby had two RBI and two doubles on the game. Cody Holtz went 2-for-3 with two runs and two doubles. The Lobos used five pitchers to settle the Rebels down and the final New Mexico pitcher Justin Flebbe had the most success as he allowed two runs on three hits and fanned two batters in 2.2 innings pitched.

After keeping the Rebels off the board in the first frame, UNLV scored the first run of the game for a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Starting pitcher Tristin Lively then turned in another scoreless inning in the third as he forced the Rebels into a line out and a double play sequence from shortstop Chase Weissenborn to second baseman Kamron Willman to first baseman Jack Silverman.

The Lobos tied up the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third frame. With a 1-2 count, Stephens singled to right center to drive in Cody Holtz.

The Rebels wasted no time answering in the top of the next inning as they brought home three runs for a 4-1 lead in the fourth. UNLV jumped out to a steep lead as they plated 10 runs in the fifth inning, taking a 14-1 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Lobos cut their deficit to 14-3. With two outs, Stephens launched the first pitch he saw to dead center for his first home run of the season. After Jeffrey David walked on four pitches, Ashby took a 2-2 pitch down the left field line for a double, bringing home David in the process.

Three home runs in the sixth inning gave UNLV the 20-3 advantage, but Will Armbruester stopped further damage as he got the last batter of the inning swinging.

Through the last three innings, the Rebels put up seven more runs and the Lobos responded with three of their own. Flebbe came in to relieve Strmiska with an out in the seventh and notched two strikeouts through the remainder of the game.

In the bottom of the seventh with a full count, two outs and Holtz on second, David singled to right center to drive in Holtz.

The Lobos attempted to rally back in the bottom of the ninth as three hits scored two runs for New Mexico. Chase Weissenborn began the inning with a single to right center then advanced to second on a ground out by Stephens. Landers then singled through the left side, putting runners on the corners for Ashby. On a 3-1 pitch, Ashby delivered as he doubled to left center, getting Landers to third and bringing around Weissenborn. Braydon Runion then grounded out to bring home Landers.

New Mexico chipped away at their deficit with two outs in the ninth but didn’t get far as the team ultimately fell 27-6 to UNLV.

New Mexico’s record falls to 12-16 (5-7 in MW play), while UNLV’s overall record improves to 19-9, 11-1 in conference action.

The squad heads back down south to Las Cruces, N.M., on Tuesday, April 5, to face in-state rival New Mexico State for take two of the Rio Grande Rivalry. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. (MT) at Presley Askew Field.

To keep up with all things Lobo baseball, follow @UNMLoboBaseball on Twitter and Instagram.