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Wood's Grand Slam Lifts Lobos Over Hofstra in Weekend Finale, 9-6

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico Baseball closed out its four-game weekend series with a 9-6 win over Hofstra at Santa Ana Star Field on Sunday afternoon, securing the series split with the Pride thanks to two momentum-swinging homers from Jake Holland and Tye Wood and tight defense down the stretch.

Wood hit the first grand slam of the season and his second homer in as many games to punctuate a five-run fourth for UNM, with Holland driving in two runs in the second with his fourth no-doubter of the season and third in his last two games. The Lobos held the Pride to their lowest run output of the series with six runs on 11 hits, with UNM’s pitchers only issuing five walks in total as they kept a Hofstra lineup that was averaging 13.1 hits and 12.4 runs per nine innings in the first three games of the series from getting within striking distance.

After dropping the first two games of the series by one run each (10-9, 16-15) – both with the tying run at third in the bottom of the ninth – the Lobos bounced back with two wins (11-7, 9-6) to avoid the series loss. UNM improves to 7-5 on the season ahead of Tuesday’s midweek matchup with No. 18 Texas Tech – the Lobos’ final game before Mountain West conference play begins next weekend at home against UNLV.

Wood (2 H, 1 R, 1 BB) drove in a career-high four runs with his grand slam and both Holland (2 H, 1 R) and Will Asby added two more each to plate eight of UNM’s nine runs – Asby did so without reaching base safely, connecting a pair of sacrifice plays in the fourth and fifth frames. Along with Wood and Holland, Sean Stephens (2 R), Reed Spenrath (2 R, 1 BB) and Josh McAlister (1 R, 1 BB) all finished with a pair of base knocks each. Luke Mansy (1 R) drew a team-high three walks and Ethan Ott added an RBI as both finished with a knock each to round things out.

LHP Daxton Purser worked his way out of trouble for three scoreless innings in his first career start for UNM, tagged with two earned runs on four hits over 3 ⅓ innings of work but not allowing any to cross home plate during his time on the mound.

Taking over in the fourth, RHP Dayne Pengelly held the Pride to just four earned runs on seven hits across 4 ⅓ innings to put himself in line for his first career win (1-1), stranding five runners in scoring position in that span while striking out five and walking two.

LHP Arthur Steinkamp retired the one batter he faced for a crucial out in the eighth, and RHP Brian McBroom earned his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth to slam the door on Hofstra’s hopes of a rally, culminating in a game-ending strikeout.

Stephens (8 H) and Spenrath (7 H) both batted .500 over the series to lead all Lobos who appeared in all four games, with eight Lobos batting above .300 on the weekend and 10 picking up at least three hits in that span. Stephens went 4-for-5 on stolen bases against Hofstra, with the rest of team combined going 1-for-3.

Holland drove in a team-high eight runs on 1.083 slugging — seven of which being in the last two games — and Kyle Smith added seven more in just two games, with Wood, Ott and Asby all finishing with five each.

UNM batted .355 as a team on the weekend, outslugging Hofstra .631 to .523 and connecting on 22 extra base hits to the Pride’s 18. Hofstra was a perfect 15-for-15 on stolen bases headed into this weekend but were caught stealing three times against UNM.

As a team, the Lobos got on base at a .484 clip — all but two Lobo batters finished the series with multiple walks, with Spenrath and Mansy both drawing a team-high six.

Purser kept Hofstra off the board in the first for the first time this weekend despite loading the bases with a pair of two-out walks, with Mansy transferring a grounder to Dixon for the frame-ending fielder’s choice.

After a 1-2-3 inning in the second from Purser kept things scoreless, Holland broke the seal with his third homer in his last two games to score himself and Spenrath – who led off with a base knock – for a 2-0 lead. Holland’s no-doubter traveled 507 feet on its way out of Santa Ana Star Field, clocking 109 mph off the bat.

More trouble came for Purser in the fourth in the form of a double and single in succession with just one out on the board, and this time the Lobos turned to Pengelly out of the bullpen to take over. A wild pitch and a grounder cashed in both runs, but the junior righty induced another grounder to end the inning.

UNM retook the lead in the bottom of the frame, with Stephens laying down a near-flawless bunt for a leadoff single and getting all the way to third on a base knock from Mansy in the next at-bat to put the Lobos up 3-2 on a sac fly from Asby that followed. But it was Wood who put the Lobos up big in the fourth, clearing the bases with UNM’s first grand slam of the season and his second home run in as many games to extend the lead to 7-2.

That four-run round-tripper proved to be the difference — the Pride continued to put a run on the board in each of the next four innings, but two more Lobo runs on a pair of sacrifice plays from Asby and Ott kept the lead at 9-6 heading into the final frame.

After Steinkamp induced a grounder to end the eighth, McBroom only needed 16 pitches to retire the side in order, getting two strikes on each batter he faced and closing things out with a punchout to put the finishing touches on the win.

The Lobos’ matchup with Texas Tech on Tuesday is set for a 2 p.m. first pitch. The game will be streamed via the Mountain West Network at Follow @UNMLoboBaseball on socials for game day updates, behind-the-scenes content and more.