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Lobos Shutout by Air Force on Senior Day

by Alma Solis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico baseball team suffered a shutout by Air Force, 10-0, in the season finale at Santa Ana Star Field on Saturday afternoon.

Six seniors were honored before the start of the matchup – Kyle Landers, Lance Russell, Kamron Willman, Miguel Reyes Jr, Cody Holtz and Johnnie (Shane) Podsednik).

Willman and Lenny Junior Ashby led the Lobos as they each notched two hits, including a double each. In the final 1.2 innings, Jacob Strmiska allowed no runs on just two hits while fanning one.

The Falcons were kept scoreless in the first on a double play by shortstop Chase Weissenborn to second baseman Willman to first baseman Kyle Landers, then a strikeout by Justin Still to end the scoreless frame.

Southpaw starter Still started the second with a strikeout, his second consecutive K of the night. The Falcons then scored a couple runs to take a 2-0 lead.

Air Force added another four runs to take a 6-0 lead in the third. In the fourth, the Falcons loaded the bases, but Still ended the inning with a strikeout to force another scoreless inning and get himself out of the bases-loaded jam.

The Falcons were kept scoreless through the next three innings. Through the fifth and sixth innings, Benjamin Baker-Livingston used just 12 pitches to record those six outs. A double play flyout to Braydon Runion, who then threw to Landers at first, ended the fifth inning.

In the sixth, Baker-Livingston forced two groundouts and topped the inning off with a strikeout.

The Falcons put up four more runs in the eighth to take a 10-0 lead. The Lobos were unable to respond, falling 10-0 to Air Force in the final game of the series and season for New Mexico.

Air Force moves on as the fourth seed in the Mountain West Tournament in San Diego, Calif., on May 26-28.

The Lobos concluded their 2022 campaign in today’s game. Some Lobos will play in various wood bat summer ball leagues across the country, while some will use the summer to rehab and get ready for the fall.

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

#3 Kyle Landers is a first baseman from Flower Mound, Texas. A regular starter for the Lobos, he has a .321 batting average through his three seasons at New Mexico. In his first year as a Lobo after transferring from Navarro Junior College, Landers was the Mountain West Conference batting champ in the shortened 2020 season with a .417 average. In his final year, he is batting .301 and started in 42 games this season, while leading the team with 18 doubles. He was named Mountain West All-Academic Team the past two years. Landers is currently in graduate school to earn his Master’s of Business Administration.

#4 Lance Russell is a second baseman from Flower Mound, Texas, who transferred in from Howard College. He has played in 76 games in his three-year Lobo career, accounting for 43 runs and 32 runs batted in. A clutch hitter in the Lobo lineup, he turned in his best start in New Mexico’s 12-7 win over No. 11 Arizona earlier this season, going 4-for-6 with a solo home run. He was named to the Mountain West All-Academic Team the past two years. Russell is currently in graduate school to earn his Master of Science in Physical Education.

#6 Kamron Willman is a senior shortstop/second baseman. Transferring to New Mexico from Kansas State for his final year of eligibility, Willman was awarded a leadership role as one of three team-appointed captains this season. The Bakersfield, California, native is hitting .305 and has played a key role in the middle infield this season, accounting for 65 putouts and 110 assists. Willman graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Art last weekend, his second bachelor’s degree.

#14 Miguel Reyes Jr is a right-handed pitcher from Lafayette, Louisiana. A transfer from Hutchinson Community College, Reyes Jr has had a sub-4 ERA in two of his three seasons.  He has made 18 appearances and four starts for New Mexico. He made the Mountain West All-Academic Team last year. Reyes Jr earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree last weekend, the first in his family to earn the honor.

#23 Cody Holtz is a catcher from Gilbert, Arizona. After transferring to New Mexico from CSU-Bakersfield to use his final year of eligibility, Holtz assumed a leadership role as one of three team-appointed captains for this season. He has started in 27 games and played in 34 total this season, as one of two senior starting catchers. Behind the plate in his Division I career, he has put up impressive numbers with 421 putouts.

#27 Johnnie Podsednik is a catcher from Houston, Texas. After transferring from Wharton Junior College, he has started in 57 games. He had an outstanding shortened 2020 season as he had a .325 batting average.  In his final season, he has hit career highs in nearly every offensive category with 20 hits, 13 runs batted in and three home runs. He has earned Mountain West All-Academic honors the past two years. Podsednik graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in Communication last weekend.