The University of New Mexico Lobos and host Air Force Falcons combined to score 29 runs and notch 38 hits in an offensive-fueled series finale on Mother’s Day Sunday in Colorado Springs.
First baseman Nic Ready drove in a game-high eight runs, and catcher Rob Dau added five RBI of his own as the Falcons managed to avoid the series sweep by scoring 21 runs on 21 hits while scoring at least one run in each of the first seven innings of play.
It was an impressive display of offense by the Falcons on senior day, with four of the first five batters in the Air Force batting order posted three hits on the afternoon.
Starter Tyler Mortenson gave up five earned runs on 12 hits, with three strikes and one walk to earn his fourth win of the year. Lobo starter Nathaniel Garley was tagged with the loss after allowing nine earned runs in just 1.2 innings of work.
Although UNM dropped the final game of the series in lopsided fashion, the Lobos won the first two games of the series, as the offense exploded for 59 total hits and 28 runs at the Air Force Academy. The series sweep in the final conference series of the season is a perfect way for a young Lobo roster to end conference play on a high note.
In an otherwise meaningless game between to teams not destined for NCAA tournament play, arguably the most important at-bat of the contest occurred before the first pitch was thrown by Mortenson.
Lio Ortega, a five-year-old Lobo fan battling cancer, opened the game with a ceremonial first at-bat off of a batting tee as both UNM and Air Force players cheered him on from the field. With a field full of college baseball players cheering him on, Ortega rounded the bases and scored the first unofficial run of the game.
It was an emotional moment that Ortega and all those in attendance will likely remember for years to come.
The 18-31-1 Lobos close out the regular season with a three-game series at home against the UC Davis Mustangs at Santa Ana Star Field. Be sure to tune in for all the exciting action, as Robert Portnoy will have the call on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM.