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Lobos Split Doubleheader With Hofstra

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico Baseball split its doubleheader with Hofstra on Saturday at Santa Ana Star Field, dropping a 10-inning heartbreaker 16-15 in Game One before bouncing back with four home runs for a 11-7 seven-inning win in Game Two.

After getting 90 feet away from tying things up with bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and losing on a strikeout for the second game in a row – this time after the Lobos fought to tie things up with a three-run eighth – the Lobos got two home runs from Jake Holland and one apiece from Ethan Ott and Tye Wood to take control in Round Two, with LHP Justin Still striking out four over the final two frames to strand the bases loaded in both and keep the Pride at bay. Holland and Wood hit back-to-back jacks in a momentum-swinging four-run fifth before Holland connected on his second of the night in the sixth to put UNM up 11-7.

Holland’s two homers match a career-high he’d achieved twice in the 2023 season for the Lobos against St. Bonaventure (3/3/23) and Fresno State (4/30/23).

Ott and Wood’s no-doubters were their first in a Lobo uniform — Ott mashed 19 homers in his first two collegiate seasons at UNC Pembroke and Wood hit four over two seasons at Iowa Western. In Game One, Kyle Smith also hit his first homer of the season and ninth in his UNM career.

UNM trailed 6-2 midway through the third inning and risked falling in a 0-3 hole on the series in the second game after losing two games back-to-back for the first time in the young season. But the Lobos surged ahead with a total of seven runs in the fifth and sixth frames — the last six on home runs — to give themselves some breathing room late.

With the win, the Lobos improve to 6-5 and give themselves a chance to salvage a series split in tomorrow’s finale, set for a Noon MT first pitch. 

In a chaotic offense-heavy day for both teams, six different Lobos hit above .300 on the day – Kyle Smith (.800), Will Asby (.500), Jake Holland (.500), Josh McAlister (.429), Sean Stephens (.429) and Reed Spenrath (.333). Smith went 4-for-5 with a career-high seven RBI in Game One, with Holland replacing him at the catcher spot in Game Two and promptly slamming two homers for a total of five RBI. 

As a team, the Lobos hit .353 on the day, plating 26 runs in total to Hofstra’s 23 despite the Pride (4-5) outhitting them 32-24. UNM batters drew 20 walks across 17 innings of action while the Lobos’ pitchers issued 15.

In Game One, RHP Wil Bannister got the start and lasted five innings, minimizing the damage from 12 Hofstra baserunners while allowing only one run in each of the first two innings despite the Pride loading the bases in both. He struck out four while walking three, tagged for five earned runs on nine hits while totaling 95 pitches.

Making his first start since 2022, RHP Brett Russell weathered some early punches after the Pride scored four runs with two outs on the board in the top of the first but kept things difficult through the rest of his five innings on the mound in Game Two en route to his first win of the season. After the Lobos got back within striking distance on a two-run homer from Ott in the bottom of the third, he tossed a hitless fourth and retired three straight following a Pride homer to put himself in line for the win after the Lobos responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame.

LHP Justin Still earned his first save of the season with a pair of scoreless frames to close out Game Two, striking out four while walking three. The Pride loaded the bases with one out on the board in both innings, but he responded the same way in both — two outs in succession, culminating in a frame-ending strikeout. He struck out four while walking three, tagged for just two hits with no runs.

Jake Holland hits the ball nearly 500 feet for a towering two-run homer that ties the game at 7-all.

Wood follows Holland’s homer with one of his own in the next at-bat, giving UNM its first lead of Game Two.

Still strands three on base in the bottom of the eighth to keep UNM’s one-run lead intact.

Holland slams his second homer of the night — this time to yield three more runs and put UNM up 11-7.

Facing the same bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh, Still strikes out the next two batters he faces to end the game emphatically and earn the save.

McAlister bare-hands it for a huge out to keep the Pride off the board in the top of the ninth.

Kyle Smith deposits the ball in The Pit parking lot to yield two runs and retake the lead yet again —  his first homer of the season and the fifth lead change of this game.

LHP Daxton Purser is set to get the start on the bump in the series finale against Hofstra’s Penn Sealey, with first pitch set for Noon. Sunday’s matchup will be streamed via the Mountain West Network at Follow @UNMLoboBaseball on socials for game day updates, behind-the-scenes content and more.