The Lobos were scheduled to take on UNLV at home this past weekend in a three-game series that was canceled due to a covid-19 issue with the Rebels.
Instead of playing against a conference foe at home, the Lobos pivoted to a last-minute series on the road against a talented Washington Huskies team.
In addition to the schedule change, UNM players learned earlier in the week that coach Ray Birmingham, the winningest coach in New Mexico baseball history and the manager for the school for the past 14 seasons, will retire following the conclusion of the 2021 campaign.
All things considered, the Lobos should not have been much of a match for a Washington team that took two of three games against the No.10 ranked UCLA Bruins earlier this month.
Don’t tell that to coach B and the Lobos.
UNM battled the Huskies in all three games of the series, taking Washington to extra innings in two of the three games.
Washington won the opening game of the weekend with a 4-3 victory in ten innings on Friday in Seattle.
New Mexico would respond with their own extra-inning victory on Saturday, highlighted by three consecutive RBI hits by Connor Mang, Mack Chambers, and Kyler Castillo to plate three Lobos in the top of the 12th. Washington would rally with a run in their half of the inning, but it proved to be not enough as the Lobos held on to a 5-3 win.
The Lobos jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the rubber match of the series on Sunday, with a run in the top of the third and fourth innings. The Huskies responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game, capped by an RBI single by infielder Will Simpson.
The two teams played three more innings of scoreless baseball before the Huskies won the game in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off single by Simpson, who drove in two of the three Washington runs on the day.
“These kids battle their butts off and just need a break,” said head coach Ray Birmingham in a quote to GoLobos.com.
“Washington came off of beating UCLA in a series, and we had our chances to take this one. Not an easy week for us as Texas Tech is loaded, and then we get back home for Fresno State. We have to keep fighting.”
With the loss, the Lobos fell to 9-16 on the year. They continue the 2021 season against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Wednesday before heading home for a four-game series against Fresno State at Santa Ana Star Field.