LAS VEGAS, Nev. — A night after throwing four shutout innings, the New Mexico bullpen couldn’t hold a three-run eighth-inning lead as the Lobos lost a back-and-forth 8-7 game against the No. 21 UNLV Rebels (15-4, 1-1 Mountain West Conference) Saturday afternoon. Gabe Aguilar (2-1) and Josh Walker, UNM’s two most reliable pitchers so far this season, combined to allow five runs in the game-changing eighth.
The Lobos (7-10, 1-1 MWC) had broken a 3-3 deadlock in the top of the frame with three runs, a two-run triple by Josh Melendez being the big blow.
With UNM up 6-3, Walker came in to start the bottom of the eighth and allowed the first three batters to reach base, including an RBI single that cut the Lobos’ lead to 6-4. Aguilar relieved him and didn’t fare any better. He allowed a single and a sacrifice fly that tied the game.
Then came the big blow courtesy of UNLV lefty Mark Shannon. He launched a two-run homer, only UNLV’s second of the season, to untie the game. Those were also the first two runs Aguilar gave up all season.
The Lobos loaded the bases in the ninth inning but managed only one run.
The two teams play the rubber match of the three-game set today at 2:05 p.m.
NMSU BASEBALL: In Las Cruces, the Aggies (11-10) swept Alabama A&M 24-4, scoring 12 runs in the first inning, and 5-3. Shortstop Parker Hipp was 3-of-3 with four RBIs on the day. The two teams conclude the four-game series at 1:05 p.m. today at Presley Askew Field.
UNM GOLF: In Tucson, the No. 3-ranked Lobo men have gone as far as senior John Catlin has carried them through two rounds of the National Invitation Tournament.
Catlin took the lead with a blistering 8-under 64 in the first round as the Lobos totaled an 11-under 277, one shot out of the lead. But Catlin’s 4-over 76 in the second round left him tied for fifth, and the Lobos’ even-par 288 left them in third place, six strokes behind leader Oklahoma State.
TCU’s Julien Brun is the individual leader after 36 holes.
Lobo Victor Perez (72-69—141) is tied in a group in ninth place at 3 under. Benjamin Bauch (68-75—143) is tied for 19th at 1 under. Senior James Erkenbeck (73-71—144) is tied for 23rd at even par, and Gavin Green (74-73—147) is tied for 46th at 4 over.
SOFTBALL: In Silver City, Western New Mexico split a doubleheader with New Mexico Highlands, losing 4-2 before winning 12-3 in five innings.
— This article appeared on page D10 of the Albuquerque Journal