ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 6-run rally helps beat Wolf Pack
Tough to see this one coming.
Mitch Garver’s two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning turned a frustrating Friday night into a glorious one for the UNM baseball team.
Garver’s line drive into the right-field corner capped a six-run rally that lifted the Lobos to a stirring 9-8 victory over Nevada in the first of a three-game Mountain West Conference series at Isotopes Park.
Nevada at New Mexico, 5 p.m., Isotopes Park
It was the highlight of a big night for New Mexico’s senior catcher, who went 3-for-4 and extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games.
“Oh my gosh,” Garver said outside a jubilant Lobos locker room, “I still don’t know what to say about that one. Definitely a lot of fun.”
Lobos coach Ray Birmingham had a more definitive description.
“We stole one, man,” he said with a grin.
How unlikely was the comeback?
Consider that Birmingham effectively emptied his bench by sending up three straight pinch hitters to start the ninth. Two of them, John Pustay and Erik Suarez, singled, and Ryan Padilla drew a walk. One out later, Sam Haggerty dropped a bunt single with the bases loaded.
D.J. Peterson followed with a two-run double to left off Nevada closer Michael Fain, and suddenly the score was 8-6. Luke Campbell made it 8-7 with an RBI grounder that left runners on first and second thanks to a Nevada error.
Garver followed with his shot to the corner, enabling Campbell to score the winning run from first.
“It’s nice to finally take one away from someone else,” Peterson said, referring to several late losses UNM has suffered this season. “I knew Mitch was going to come through in that situation. He’s Mr. Clutch.”
The rally made a first-time winner of freshman right-hander Victor Sanchez, who worked 1â…” scoreless innings. Sanchez (1-0) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth with a double-play grounder that hardly seemed significant at the time.
Ironically, the game started as a pitchers’ duel between Nevada’s touted Bradey Shipley and Lobo right-hander A.J. Carman. UNM scored two runs in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead, but the Wolf Pack got to Carman for four runs in the sixth and eventually built an 8-3 lead by roughing up the Lobos’ bullpen.
The Wolf Pack (13-9, 2-2 MWC) outhit UNM 16-12, paced by a 4-for-5 outing by Brooks Klein. Peterson and Alex Real had two hits apiece for the Lobos (10-11, 3-1), who retained a share of first place in the Mountain West Conference with San Diego State.
NOTES: At least 15 scouts were in the stands Friday, most of them likely on hand to watch Shipley and Peterson. Peterson twice hit the ball hard off Shipley, but finished 0-for-3 against him.
… UNM is holding a “Cowboy Night” promotion for tonight’s contest. Fans wearing “their best cowboy gear” will be admitted for $3.