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Lobos Run-Rule New Mexico St. in First Rivalry Matchup, 14-4

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico opened up its season series with New Mexico State with an emphatic 14-4 run-rule victory in seven innings at Santa Ana Star Field on Tuesday, racking up 17 hits with three home runs in the process.

The Lobos (13-8, 4-2 MW) weathered an early three-spot in the top of the third from the Aggies (10-11, 1-2 C-USA) after plating the first run of the game in the bottom of the second, blowing the game open with an eight-run inning – punctuated by Will Asby’s second grand slam at Santa Ana Star Field and sixth homer this season – and keeping their foot on the gas the rest of the way with five more runs — and two more homers from Reed Spenrath and Devon Dixon — over the next four frames. 

With the win, UNM Head Coach Tod Brown improves to 7-2 against the Lobos’ rivals to the south. The Rio Grande Rivalry will continue with two more meetings in Las Cruces, N.M. on April 9 and 30 before the four-game season series comes to a conclusion at Santa Ana Star Field on May 7.

“Really solid pitching today — got ourselves out of jams early in the game, and the bats really came alive the second time through the order,” Brown said.  “Asby’s grand slam was a game-changer — the guys in front of him took their walks and kept things going to break the game open.”

UNM stays home this weekend to continue conference play against San Jose State (7-14, 3-6 MW) March 22-24. All three games will be streamed via the Mountain West Network with live stats available via Follow @UNMLoboBaseball on IG, X and Facebook for gameday updates, behind-the-scenes content and more.

UNM got three hits each from Will Asby (3 R, 4 RBI), Reed Spenrath (2 R, 3 RBI) and Chase Weissenborn (2 R, 3 RBI) to lead a 17-hit outing, with Kyle Smith (1 RBI), Devon Dixon (2 R, 2 RBI) and Akili Carris (2 R, 1 RBI) all adding two knocks each. True freshman Gene Trujillo added another to go with two runs in his first collegiate start at the DH spot, with Khalil Walker also finishing with a hit and a run.

Asby, Spenrath and Dixon all homered – their sixth, fourth and second long balls of the year, respectively. Spenrath and Dixon have both hit all of their homers this season in UNM’s last six games, with UNM now winning eight straight games in which the Lobos hit at least one home run.

RHP Dayne Pengelly kept the Aggies off the board in the first two frames and responded well after their three-run third, finishing with five strikeouts for the third straight game while being tagged for six hits and walking four. RHP Brett Russell (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K), LHP Justin Still (1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K) and RHP Wyatt Hardy (0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K) were all the Lobos needed to close things out, with Russell earning the win to improve to 2-0 in games of record. Both Russell and Still got some help from their infielders, with a pair of inning-ending double plays in the fourth and sixth keeping State from capitalizing with runners aboard.

Pengelly retired the first two batters he faced to open things up, ending the inning with the game still scoreless despite letting two aboard with walks. He struck out two more in the second after the Lobos went hitless in the bottom of the inning, 

In his first at-bat of his first collegiate start, Trujillo got the Lobos going with a wall-grazing double in the bottom of the second – he advanced to third on a flyout and got across for UNM’s first run of the game thanks to a single up the middle from Carris in the next at-bat. Weissenborn got Carris to scoring position with a single of his own to make it three consecutive base knocks, but a fielder’s choice kept the Lobos from extending the lead any further.

The Aggies responded with three runs on four hits in the third before Pengelly could end the frame with his fourth strikeout, but Asby came through with a leadoff double of his own to ignite an eight-run bottom of the third for UNM that shifted momentum for good. After Spenrath got him across with his 17th RBI of the season to get UNM back within one, a pair of clutch two-out hits from Dixon and Weissenborn — sandwiched between walks from Carris (3-1 count) and Walker (3-2) — yielded three runs to go up 5-3. As the lineup turned over, Walker drew a walk to load the bases a second time, with Asby crushing his second grand slam of the season to give the Lobos a commanding 9-3 lead.

All in all, the Lobos connected on six hits in the third, with four of them – along with two walks – coming with two outs on the board.

A solo homer from Dixon – his second no-doubter in his last five games – extended the lead to 10-3 in the bottom of the fourth, but NMSU got one back on an RBI double before an inning-ending double play stopped the bleeding. Weissenborn helped the duo repeat the feat in the next frame, helping Still end a scoreless top of the sixth.

Another solo homer – this time from Spenrath – put the Lobos back up seven in the bottom of the inning. After not hitting a single homer through the first 15 games of the season, Spenrath has now gone yard four times in his last six games.

With a run-rule victory within reach, UNM plated the three runs it needed to save its bullpen for this weekend in the bottom of the seventh on five hits, with Carris and Weissenborn going back-to-back again with a double and single and Smith and Spenrath both driving in two more runs with a pair of two-out singles.

UNM’s series opener with San Jose State is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch on Friday. All three games will be streamed via the Mountain West Network with live stats available via Follow @UNMLoboBaseball on IG, X and Facebook for gameday updates, behind-the-scenes content and more.