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Lobos Falter Late in Midweek Rivalry Matchup in Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico baseball jumped out to an 8-2 lead through four after back-to-back four spots in its third matchup with New Mexico State Tuesday at Presley Askew Field, but couldn’t hold off the Aggies (21-23, 7-11 C-USA) in the final frame when a two-out walk-off homer handed them a 10-8 loss to snap UNM’s four-game win streak.

Two days after rallying from down six against San Diego State and walking off the Aztecs with a grand slam to win by two, the Lobos hit another grand slam, went up by six and got walked off with a tie-breaking two-run bomb from NMSU’s Keith Jones in the bottom of the ninth. UNM got it sixth grand slam of the season and third in their last five games – this time from Kyle Smith – and outhit the Aggies 10-9 but were stranded on base 12 times as they were held scoreless through the final five frames to drop to 1-2 against their in-state rivals this season.

The two teams will square off one more time this season May 7 at Santa Ana Star Field – UNM can salvage a season series split with a win.

Khalil Walker continued his torrid stretch with a 3-for-4 outing that extended his hit streak to 14 games – the longest of any Lobo this season – while scoring two runs and drawing a walk to lead UNM at the plate. Tye Wood added a double and a single and drew a pair of walks and Kyle Smith drove in four with a swing of the bat to lead four other Lobos – Konner Kinkade (1 R), Will Asby (1 R), Gene Trujillo (2 R, 1 RBI), and Akili Carris.

Reed Spenrath finished without a hit but was one of four Lobos to draw two walks each along with Asby, Smith and Wood to extend his team-best on base streak to 25 games, scoring a run in the process.

Six different pitchers saw the mound for UNM, with LHP Daxton Purser getting the start and tossing a scoreless first (0 H, 1 BB, 1 K) in his first action since April 7 but not returning for the second due to a pitch limit as he works his way back from an injury that has sidelined him for the better part of three weeks. RHP David Lopez (4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) took over in the second and ate up the most innings of any UNM arm on the day, with LHP Arthur Steinkamp (1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K), LHP Jaren Jackson (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K), RHP Ryan Castillo (1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) and RHP Wil Bannister (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) pitching the rest of the way.

Castillo tossed a 1-2-3 frame in the eighth to hold off the Aggies after they tied things up with four in the bottom of the seventh and kept the Lobos off the board in the top of the eighth, but NMSU returned the favor with a 1-2-3 innings of their own in the top of the ninth and Castillo was tagged for the loss after allowing the winning run aboard in the final frame. Taking over from there, Bannister produced the first two outs of the bottom of the frame with a pair of flyouts but gave up a two-run bomb that ended the game short of extra innings. It’s only the second time Bannister surrendered an earned run in his last 11 appearances.

The Lobos continue Mountain West play on the road with a rematch with UNLV (24-20, 10-14 MW) in Las Vegas May 3-5. UNM swept the Rebels in a three-game series at home March 9-10 and needs a series win to maintain its grip on second place in the league standings.

Friday’s series opener is set for a 7:05 p.m. MT first pitch — all three games this weekend will be streamed via the MW Network, with live stats available via Follow @UNMLoboBaseball on socials for promotional/marketing and gameday updates, behind-the-scenes content and more.