The University of New Mexico Lobos closed out the 2018 regular season with an 8-4 victory over UC Davis at Santa Ana Star Field on Sunday afternoon.
Although the Lobos finished with a disappointing 20-33-1 record and failed to make the Mountain West Conference tournament for the first time under head coach Ray Birmingham, UNM ended the season on a high note and sent out seniors Daniel Herrera, James Herrington, and Danny Collier with a win in their final game with the school.
UNM got on the board first with an RBI single by Connor Mang off of UC Davis starting pitcher Chris Brown, plating shortstop Hayden Schilling. The Mustangs would quickly respond with two runs in the top of the third inning, aided by some sloppy play by the Lobos on a single by third baseman Brad Pluschkell.
The two teams would stay within one run of each other before the Lobos opened up a three-run lead in the sixth inning, as Herrera and Justin Watari each notched a home run off of relief pitcher Brett Erwin. UNM would then put away the game for good in the seventh inning when Jeff Deimling and Connor Mang each scored on passed balls by catcher Logan Denholm.
Nathaniel Garley scattered nine hits and three earned runs over six innings of work to earn his third win of the season, while Malachi Emond struck out three batters in just over two innings of work to notch the save.
Schilling would end the game with two hits in five at-bats, giving the junior from Santee, California a team-best .348 batting average and 30 RBI to close out the year. Jared Mang ended the season with a team-high eight home runs, while senior Danny Collier led all Lobos with eight stolen bases in nine attempts.
Pitching proved to be an area of weakness for Birmingham’s young Lobo roster, with no starting pitcher posting a season ERA below 5.00. Addressing starting pitching over the offseason will be an area of focus for Birmingham and his coaching staff, as the Lobos finished with a composite ERA of 6.58, nearly two full runs worse than their opponents.