Lobo fans were treated to some exciting baseball over the weekend as UNM took two of three games from the San José State Spartans at Santa Ana Star Field, capped by a ridiculous 22-18 shootout on Sunday that included 39 players, 15 pitchers, 434 pitches, and 40 combined runs in game that lasted nearly five hours.
UNM rode a strong pitching performance by Justin Slaten to win the opening game of the series on Friday night 14-2. Slaten allowed just one earned run over six innings of work to notch his second win of the season, while Hayden Schilling led the Lobos offensively with two hits and five RBI on the day.
Game two of the series proved to be one of the more exciting finishes in recent memory with the Lobos scoring two runs on a throwing error with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to steal the victory away from the Spartans. Jared Mang and Tanner Baker scored on a throwing error by third baseman Troy Viola that looked like a routine groundout for San José State. Instead of squaring the series at one with the Lobos, the Spartans watched as the Lobos celebrated a walk-off victory at home plate.
Game three turned out to be just as crazy as the ninth inning of game two, with the Spartans jumping out to a 15-4 lead in the fourth inning on tremendous offensive performances by centerfielder Kellen Strahm, designated hitter Blake Berry, and first baseman James Shimashita. The trio combined for 12 hits and drove in 10 runs for the Spartans, including home runs by Strahm and Shimashita.
Down 15-4 with nine outs remaining, UNM stormed back with eight runs in the seventh inning to jump back into the game. Jared Mang plated a run with a double to right center, and Jeff Deimling drove in three with a monster three-run blast to score Conner Mang and Tyler Kelley.
The two teams would go on to score a combined 13 runs in the final two frames, with the Spartans clinging to a three-run lead when Ediberto Reyes flew out to center for the final out of the game.
Although the Lobos came up short in their comeback bid, a series victory against the Spartans is an excellent way to kick off Mountain West Conference play. UNM is 8-4 on the season and tied with UNLV atop the conference standings at 2-1.
The Lobos host Cal-State Fullerton at home this weekend before continuing conference play on the road against Nevada in Reno on Friday, March 15th.