ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico baseball team sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven runs in the fourth inning to erase a 5-3 deficit en route to a 12-7 win over the Fresno State Bulldogs Friday night in front of 911 fans at Lobo Field.
“We’ve hit a lot of hard balls right at people lately,” UNM sophomore Lane Milligan said. “Today it just seemed like it was our day and the balls were falling. It shows what our offense is capable of when everyone’s swinging a hot bat. We’re seeing the ball well and finding the big gaps in this big ballpark.”
The top of the Lobo (13-10, 6-4) lineup was seeing the ball extremely well Friday, and the first five hitters were almost unstoppable. Danny Collier, Milligan, Chris DeVito, Cory Voss and Carl Stajduhar combined to go 12-for-24 with eight runs, 11 RBIs, five doubles and one triple. Milligan set a career high with four RBIs.
Fresno State (15-12, 6-4) helped UNM’s big rally get started with a one-out error off the bat of Dalton Bowers. Luis Gonzalez followed with a walk, and Jared Holley was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the top of the lineup. Collier got the first run home with a single to left. Milligan then cleared the bases with a double past the first-base bag. DeVito singled Milligan home before advancing to second on a single by Voss. Stajduhar then doubled off the wall in right to knock in DeVito, and Voss came around to score the final run of the frame on a wild pitch.
“It was nice to string some hits together,” said Voss, who finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs, “and we needed it at that point in the game. It shifted the momentum, and we brought that to the defensive side and it ended up working out for us.”
UNM starter Toller Boardman moved to 5-1 despite allowing 10 hits and six runs in 5.2 innings. However, nine of the hits were singles, and outside of the third inning, he was very good at limiting damage. The Bulldogs struck for four in the third on the back of three straight singles, the first of which came with the bases loaded, to take an early 4-1 lead.
“Toller wasn’t his usual awesome self tonight,” UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. “I’m still looking for complete baseball. We all can’t get on the same page yet. We gave them some cheap runs because of passed balls, and the bottom of our lineup is still looking for someone to fill those holes offensively.”
As good as the top of the Lobo lineup was Friday, the bottom four was almost as bad. The quartet combined to go hitless in 12 at bats, although they did reach six times via walk, plus Holley’s hit by pitch, and scored four runs.
“The biggest thing for me, though, is if you look at the lineup it goes sophomore, sophomore, sophomore, freshman, freshman, sophomore,” Birmingham said.
In fact, seven of UNM’s starters were underclassmen, and the only senior to see the field Friday was reliever Jake Cole, who struck out two in a perfect ninth.
Milligan also scored a career-high three runs and hit his first career triple in the third inning. Stajduhar drove in a pair and had his first career two-double game. DeVito had three RBIs to give him a team-leading 29 on the year.
The two teams will meet Saturday at 2 p.m. Freshman Tyler Stevens will make his fourth start of the year for the Lobos. ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM will broadcast the game, and it will be streamed live on the Mountain West Network at GoLobos.com.
Parking reminder: Due to New Mexico state spirit championships at WisePies Area, aka The Pit, there will be parking attendants in the parking lots. Fans should tell the attendants they are there to watch Lobo Baseball.
Notes: It was Holley’s 27th career HBP, which moved him into a fourth-place tie on UNM’s all-time list with Rafael Neda … Preston Ryan allowed one run in 2.1 innings of relief … UNM drew seven walks and struck out just three times … Lobo pitchers struck out seven and walked just two, one of which was intentional … UNM improved to 10-0 all-time vs. Fresno State in Albuquerque … Birmingham is now 14-2 in his career against the Bulldogs.