After falling 18-14 on the opening night of a three-game series against the visiting Air Force Falcons, the University of New Mexico baseball team responded with two convincing wins, including an 11-6 victory in the rubber match on Sunday.
Starting pitcher Luis Gonzalez threw seven innings to earn the win, allowing four earned runs on 11 hits, with six strikeouts and one walk. It was an impressive pitching performance considering the poor weather conditions, with gusts reaching as high as 35 MPH on the afternoon.
In addition to leading the Lobos on the mound, Gonzalez was the top performer at the plate for head coach Ray Birmingham’s squad, with three runs scored and three RBI. Left fielder Danny Collier added two runs scored and two RBI, including a ground-rule double in the sixth to extend the New Mexico lead to 9-5.
“He was the player of the game, that’s for sure,” UNM coach Ray Birmingham said of Gonzalez after the game. “He was able to throw his curveball for a strike, so that was big. Air Force wants to drive the ball the other way and jump on those early fastballs, and Luis was able to keep them off balance.”
Carson Schneider and Christian Tripp each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Gonzalez to close out the game, with Tripp striking out two of the three batters he faced in the top of the ninth inning.
Win the series win over the Falcons, the Lobos’ magic number to clinch the Mountain West Conference regular season title moves to just four with six games remaining on the schedule. UNM heads west to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs over the weekend before finishing up with a three-game tilt at home against Nevada.