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Lobos' Ninth-Frame Rally Falls Short Against Hofstra, 10-9

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico Baseball was 90 feet away from equalizing in the bottom of the ninth inning of its series opener with Hofstra Friday afternoon at Santa Ana Star Field, but a strikeout ended the game with three runners stranded on base as the Lobos fell 10-9.

The weekend series continues with a doubleheader tomorrow, with the first game set to start at 12 p.m. MT and the second beginning 30 minutes following its conclusion. RHP Wil Bannister is set to start on the mound against Hofstra’s RHP Steven Kaenzig in Game One, with RHP Brett Russell getting the start against RHP Carlos Martinez in Game Two.

UNM finished with 14 hits as a team – the Lobos’ fourth-straight game with double-digit hits – with Reed Spenrath (1 R, 1 BB) finishing 3-for-4 with three doubles to lead the way, Sean Stephens (1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB) adding three more knocks and Konner Kinkade (1 R, 1 RBI), Devon Dixon (2 R, 1 BB) and Khalil Walker (1 R, 2 RBI) picking up two hits each. UNM hit five doubles in total – the most in a single game for the Lobos since May 12, 2023 vs. Nevada.

Stephens also stole three bases in the process, the most for a Lobo this season.

RHP David Lopez kept things difficult after three early runs, matching a career-high with five punchouts while holding the Pride to just two earned on five hits while walking only one. He totaled 97 pitches on the outing, 16 more than his previous highest set last weekend against South Dakota State. Taking over for Lopez in the sixth, LHP Daxton Purser held Hofstra to just one hit over two frames of scoreless relief, striking out one and walking two, but the Pride put up seven runs with Wyatt Hardy (⅔ IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 1 K), Justin Still (0.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER), 1 BB) and Josh Barnhouse (1 ⅓ IP, 1 BB, 1 SO) on the mound in the top of the eighth to take their biggest lead of the day. Barnhouse recovered with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth to set the table for a comeback that fell just short.

After Hofstra (3-4) put up three quick runs in the first two innings, UNM kept the Pride off the board for five consecutive frames and built a 6-3 lead until a seven-run eruption in the top of the eighth forced the Lobos to play from behind.

Even after going into the bottom of the eighth down four, the Lobos looked close to completing their third ninth-inning rally in its last four games after a two-run homer from Will Asby – his fourth of the season – in the bottom of the eighth and an RBI base knock from Khalil Walker in the ninth got the Lobos within one.

But Kyle Smith struck out on a full count — just one ball away from a game-tying walk — with three runners on to end the game 90 feet short of extra innings.

The first game of tomorrow’s doubleheader is set for a Noon MT first pitch, with Game Two set to begin 30 minutes after Game One’s conclusion. The entirety of this weekend’s series will be streamed via the Mountain West Network at Follow @UNMLoboBaseball on socials for game day updates, behind-the-scenes content and more.