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Three Homers by Runion and Explosive Offense Not Enough as Lobos Lose Heartbreaker to San Diego State

by Alma Solis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico baseball team dropped a heartbreaker to San Diego State, 14-13 on Friday night at Santa Ana Star Field.

Braydon Runion highlighted the night as he went 4-for-5 with three runs, five RBI and three home runs. He is the first Lobo to hit three home runs in a single game since Carl Stajduhar against Air Force on May 6, 2017. Runion is now tied with Lenny Junior Ashby as the Lobos’ home run leader as both have eight on the season. Three other Lobos had multi-hit games as Sean Stephens went 2-for-5 with two runs and a home run, Jeffrey David went 3-for-6 with three RBI and a run, and Cody Holtz went 2-for-5 with a run and a RBI.

The Aztecs opened up the first with four runs scored but starting pitcher Brett Russell notched two strikeouts swinging.

In the bottom of the frame, Stephens homered on the first pitch he saw, launching it to left field and making the score 4-1, still in favor of the Aztecs.

Both the Lobos and Aztecs added on another run in the second inning to make the score 5-2 Aztec lead. In the bottom of the second, Lance Russell grounded out to bring home Willie Cano.

San Diego State added a couple more in the top of the third and New Mexico countered with three in the bottom of the inning. Stephens opened the inning with a single and then David doubled to put two Lobos in scoring position. Ashby then worked a full count as he hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Sean Stephens.

Just one pitch later, Runion connected for his first home run of the season, bringing home himself and David. The Lobos cut their deficit to 7-5 after three full innings played.

The Aztecs extended their lead to 8-5 in the top of the fourth, but the Lobos tied the game up for the first time in the bottom of the frame. After L. Russell reached on a fielding error, Holtz won a full 3-2 pitch count as he singled to right center to drive him in.

Weissenborn walked to put runners on first and second, then both runners advanced to scoring position as Stephens grounded out in the next at-bat. With runners in scoring position, David wasted no time as he jumped on the first pitch for a two-run single, knotting the game at 8-8.

After the first scoreless inning of the game in the fifth frame, San Diego State regained the 9-8 lead with a run scored in the sixth. The Lobos had two straight outstanding plays at the plate to end the sixth and halt the Aztecs from any further damage.

San Diego State plated five more runs in the seventh to take a 14-8 lead but this is the last time the Aztecs would be allowed to score.

In the bottom of the seventh, Runion started things off with a solo home run to left field, his second on the night.

A trio of singles in the frame scored another run as Weissenborn singled to second base to bring in Cano, cutting the Lobos deficit to 14-10.

The Aztecs were kept off the board by relief pitcher Owen Loesch in the eighth inning. Loesch made an outstanding diving catch in the infield to prevent a sacrifice bunt.

New Mexico added a couple more runs in the bottom of the eighth as Runion connected for his third home run of the night, a two-run jack to cut the team’s deficit to 14-12.

Southpaw Loesch forced another scoreless inning to give the Lobos another chance at the comeback in the ninth.

L. Russell opened the ninth as he reached on a fielding error. After a Lobo struck out for the first out, Kyle Landers came in to pinch hit for Weissenborn and was hit by a pitch. Another out by strikeout commenced to bring up David to the plate. He singled through the left side to drive in L. Russell and make the score 14-13, still in favor of the Aztecs.

The game came down to the final at-bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Lobos were unable to complete the comeback, falling 14-13 to San Diego State in game two.

New Mexico’s records falls to 14-20 overall and 6-11 in Mountain West action. San Diego State’s overall record improves to 9-25 and 3-14 in conference play.

The Lobos and Aztecs will play the series closer on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. (MT) at Santa Ana Star Field.

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