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Lobos Unable to Complete Comeback in Game Three Loss to UNLV

by Alma Solis

LAS VEGAS – The University of New Mexico baseball team came within striking distance but were unable to complete the comeback in a 13-11 loss to UNLV in the series finale at Earl E. Wilson Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

In just his third start this season, Kyle Smith had a fantastic day at the plate as he went 4-for-5 with six RBI and a run, while also batting a double shy of the cycle. Three more Lobos had multi-hit outings as Jeffrey David went 3-for-6 with two runs and a RBI, Lenny Junior Ashby went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, and Kamron Willman went 2-for-5 with a RBI. Through the last 3.2 innings, Benjamin Baker-Livingston and Owen Loesch successfully shut down the Rebels, as they combined for no runs allowed on just four hits and fanned three.

The Lobos wasted no time getting on the board in the top of the first. Sean Stephens worked a walk to open up the inning, then advanced to second on a single by Ashby a couple batters later. In his first start at first base, K. Smith stepped up to the plate and blasted the first ball he saw for a three-tun home run to put the Lobos up 3-0 early, his second jack of the season.

The Rebels then responded with five runs in the bottom of the frame to take the 5-3 lead, before adding six more through the second and third innings to extend their lead to 11-3.

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Lobos went to work to attempt to come back from the eight-run deficit. Two straight singles and a walk loaded the bases for K. Smith in the top of the fifth, who then singled to drive in Stephens. Willman then grounded out to second base, simultaneously bringing home David to cut the Lobos deficit to 11-5.

The Rebels responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame to extend their lead again to 13-5.

New Mexico started the sixth with a pop out and strikeout to put two outs on the board, but the Lobos didn’t let that phase them. David and Ashby hit back-to-back singles to bring up hot-hitting K. Smith up to the plate and he delivered as he tripled to bring both of them home and make the score 13-7, still in favor of UNLV.

The Lobos continued to chip away at the Rebels’ lead in the seventh frame. Cody Holtz opened the inning with a single, before pinch hitter Kyle Landers was hit by pitch and Cole Posey walked to load the bases with no outs. Chase Weissenborn then hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Holtz.

Stephens sat through a 3-2 full pitch count to walk and load the bases once again as David came to the plate. David singled to right center to bring home Landers. After an UNLV pitching change, Ashby singled to drive in another run as Posey came around, cutting the Lobo deficit to 13-11.

On the mound, Loesch did a fantastic job keeping the Rebels off the board through the seventh and eighth frames. Unfortunately, the Lobos were unable to put another run on the board as they fell, 13-11, to UNLV in the final game of the series.

New Mexico’s record falls to 16-23 overall and 7-14 in Mountain West action. UNLV’s record improves to 28-13 overall and 17-4 in MW play.

The Lobos return home for a four-game homestand, beginning with a midweek matchup against GCU on April 26 at 6 p.m. (MT) at Santa Ana Star Field. New Mexico will then host San Jose State for a three-game conference series next weekend on April 29-May 1.

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