Julian Escobedo went four-for-four with three RBI and one run scored to lead the visiting San Diego State Aztecs to a 7-3 victory in the rubber match of a three-game weekend series against UNM on Sunday.
Jorge Fernandez allowed three earned and scattered seven hits in 5.2 innings of work to earn his sixth win of the season, while sclera Casey Schmitt tossed two innings of shutout ball to notch the save out of the bullpen.
Although the two teams ended with a similar number of hits (14 for SDSU & 12 for New Mexico), the Aztecs came through in the clutch with runners in scoring position, while the Lobos left too many runners on base.
The Aztecs jumped on the Lobos early with a three-run first inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Escobedo off of UNM starting pitcher Nathaniel Garley. UNM would respond with two runs in the bottom of the third inning when Connor Mang drove in Justin Water with a single back up the middle.
The two teams exchanged a run apiece over the next five innings before San Diego State blew the game wide open with a three-run ninth inning. Once again Escobedo came through with a clutch hit with runners in scoring position, plating first baseman Jordan Verdon with a single between first and second base.
Although Garley pitched well with just one earned run over six innings, the sophomore from Albuquerque was tagged with the loss. Fellow Albuquerque native Drew Gillespie allowed two of the three runs in the top of the ninth inning, allowing three hits and two walks in just a third of an inning of work.
The Lobos take on the New Mexico State Aggies on Tuesday at home before heading up to Colorado Springs to play their final three conference games of the season against the Air Force Falcons.
With the loss, UNM fell to 16-30-1 overall and 9-18-0 in conference play. By taking two of three from New Mexico, the defending MWC tournament champion Aztecs improved to 14-8 in conference play, two games behind first play Nevada.