ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –
New Mexico scored 11 unanswered runs to overcome a two-run deficit and cruise to a 17-8 victory over Missouri State to open the two clubs' three-game series Thursday evening at Santa Ana Star Field.
Trailing 7-5 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, the Lobos (19-13-1) gashed MSU pitching for nine runs over the next two innings to seize control of the contest. UNM's six-run sixth turned a one-run game into a 14-7 advantage for the home team, as Beau Capanna and Jared Mang registered two-out, extra-base hits with the bases loaded to break the game wide open.
UNM came through in key situations all evening, recording six different run-producing two-out hits that plated a total of 10 runs. The Lobos racked up 15 hits, in addition to MSU hurlers handing out 12 free passes via nine walks and three hit batsmen.
Mang turned in a 5-for-6 night for UNM, scoring three times and driving home four more while finishing a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Capanna drove home four runs with his 3-for-4 effort, and Hayden Schilling logged three hits and three RBIs for the Lobos as well.
The Lobos recorded five different scoring rallies of at least two runs, as their 17 runs represented the most surrendered by Missouri State pitching in 2017. Additionally, the setback marked the Bears' sixth in a row versus non-conference foes this spring.
The evening started on a promising note for the Bears (21-12), who grabbed an early two-run lead after a two-out Lobo error led to a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first. Hunter Steinmetz
drew a leadoff walk, before Justin Paulsen
's base hit to right, but Jake Burger
's hot shot to third was converted into the first of three twin-killings on the night for the Lobos.
Nevertheless, UNM starting pitcher James Harrington mishandled a feed at first on Jeremy Eierman
's chopper to the right side, allowing Steinmetz to trot home with the game's first run. Aaron Meyer
followed with a run-scoring hit to center to hand MSU a 2-0 lead.
New Mexico would respond with five unanswered runs over the first three innings to command a 5-2 advantage. Carl Stajduhar's RBI grounder to third brought in the first of two Lobo runs in the home half of the first, before Andrew Pratt delivered the first of five UNM two-out, run-scoring hits to even the score at 2-2.
The Lobos would break on top with three more runs in the third, getting another run-scoring grounder from Stajduhar and back-to-back two-out hits by Schilling and Capanna to take their first lead of the night.
's third homer of the season—a two-run drive that cleared the wall in left—cut into the deficit to highlight a three-run rally in the fourth. Jack Duffy
brought home the tying run with the first of his two RBI singles after the second critical UNM error put Alex Jefferson
MSU would take another two-run lead in the fifth, using a leadoff double by Eierman to set up another scoring threat. A failed pickoff attempt with runners on the corners and two out allowed the go-ahead run to come home, before Duffy's third hit of the game plated Jefferson for a 7-5 MSU lead.
But UNM used RBI singles by Schilling and Danny Collier, as well as a Bears throwing error to erase their second two-run deficit and take the lead for good. After touching up MSU starting pitcher Jordan Knutson
(5-2) for eight runs on 10 hits — both career highs — over 4 1/3 innings, the Lobos roughed up Jake Fromson
for five of their six runs in the sixth.
With one out, Fromson plunked back-to-back hitters before striking out Pratt for the second out. An intentional walk to Schilling loaded the bases for Capanna, who drilled a bases-clearing triple into the right-center field gap for an 11-7 UNM lead. Two more walks from Tyler McAllister loaded the bases once again, and Mang laced a double just beyond Burger's reach down the third-base line to stretch the margin to seven runs.
The Lobos added two more runs in the seventh to claim their largest lead of the night, before Eierman's eighth-inning single drove home Steinmetz to slice the MSU deficit to back to eight runs.
Mang finished his night in style, belting his third homer of the season in the bottom of the eighth to account for the final margin.
Duffy led the Bears with career highs of three hits and two RBIs, while Paulsen went 3-for-4 with a walk. Both Eierman and Graham also logged two-hit games, while Jefferson and Steinmetz scored two runs apiece.
The two clubs continue their three-game series Friday evening with another 7:30 p.m. (CDT) contest, before wrapping up the weekend Saturday at 1 p.m.