Cody Dye matched his career-high with eight strikeouts as the University of New Mexico beat the Air Force Falcons 7-4 in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon at Santa Ana Star Field.
Dye tossed seven innings of four-run baseball, allowing four earned runs on eight hits, with two walks and eight strikeouts. After a lengthy extra-innings win for the Lobos on Saturday afternoon, Dye gave manager Ray Birmingham exactly what he needed in the series finale, with seven innings to give a tired bullpen some much-needed rest.
New Mexico got on the board first with a first-inning bases-loaded walk by Connor Mang to plate third baseman Hayden Schilling. UNM would end up scoring four runs in the frame, highlighted by a two-run sign by right fielder Phillip Sikes.
The Falcons would chip away slowly at the Lobo lead with two runs in the third inning and two more runs in the fifth. Catcher Rob Dau proved most of the offense for the Falcons on Sunday, with an RBI single in the third inning and an RBI double in the fifth frame to score shortstop Tyler Zabojnik.
But the slow and steady comeback by Air Force proved to be futile as the Lobos added a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh to pull away. Relief pitcher Nathaniel Garley pitched two scoreless innings to earn his first save of the season, with two strikeouts and one walk.
With the win, the Lobos move to 10-12-1 overall and 4-5 in Mountain West conference play. UNM continues conference play next weekend with a three-game series against San Diego State at Tony Gwynn Stadium.