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UNM men’s tennis team clinches MWC title

Ricky Hernandez Tong, the University of New Mexico’s No. 1 singles player, won in singles and doubles to help lead the Lobos to a 4-1 win over San Diego State and to clinch at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

The University of New Mexico men’s tennis team’s underclassmen delivered the perfect gift for their special teammates on senior day.

Stepan Holis, one of four underclassmen in the lineup, took a three-set victory at No. 3 singles, giving New Mexico a 4-1 win over San Diego State, and with it, clinched at least a share of the 2019 Mountain West Conference regular-season title.

Senior Ricky Hernandez Tong, the Lobos’ No. 1 singles player, certainly did his part. He won both his singles and doubles matches on the day.

The regular-season title is UNM’s 13th overall, and seventh as a member of the Mountain West.

UNM won outright Mountain West titles in 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2015, and the Lobos can win the outright title with a win on Saturday at Air Force or a Utah State loss to Boise State in Boise on Saturday.

The win pushed UNM’s record to 11-6 overall and 6-0 in the Mountain West. It also was the seventh straight win for UNM, and the team’s 10th win in the last 11 matches.

San Diego State dropped to 12-9 overall and 3-3 in the league.

The day started with a senior day ceremony in which Hernandez Tong was honored, along with outgoing trainer Ashley Kahldusdal. Hernandez Tong then ended up in the key match of doubles. With he doubles point equal at one after Dominic West and Facundo Bermejo picked up their 10th straight doubles win.

UNM has three matches left, all in Colorado. UNM will face Northern Colorado in Greeley on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. before its final conference match on Saturday at noon at Air Force.

UNM’s regular season ends with an important non-conference match with the top team in the Summit League, Denver.

BASEBALL: The Lobos lost the rubber game of a three-game series with the University of Nevada, 14-8 on Sunday afternoon out at Santa Ana Star Field.

The Lobos (16-19, 7-11 MW) out-hit the Wolf Pack (18-17, 8-10 MW) 14-12 and for the third-straight game had a pitching strikeout total in double digits, but a seven-run top of the sixth inning for Nevada ultimately proved to be the difference.

Ahead of that big inning, the Lobos had just trimmed a 7-1 deficit down to 7-3 on a two-RBI single to right-center off the bat of Justin Watari in the bottom of the fifth to score Brayden Merritt and Reese O’Farrell.

The Wolf Pack then doubled their score on three hits and a Lobo error in the top of the sixth to pull away at 14-3. The Lobo error in the inning was costly and resulted in the last four of the runs scored by Nevada to be unearned.

The Lobos outscored the Wolf Pack 5-0 over the final three innings of the game. Three of those runs scored in the seventh inning. The first run scored when Jared Mang singled to right-center to score Watari. Tyler Kelly then scored in the next at-bat as Connor Mang singled through the right side. Hayden Schilling followed that up with a double down the left-field line to score Jared Mang.

That three-run seventh made it a 14-6 game. The Lobos then added their final two runs in the ninth to bring the game to its final of 14-8. In the ninth, Connor Mang scored on an error by the Nevada left fielder on what was already a double off the bat of Schilling. Schilling later scored on lineout sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Ediberto Reyes.

The Lobos will play host to rival New Mexico State on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. out at Santa Ana Star Field.

WOMEN’S GOLF: UNM is set to compete at the Mountain West Women’s Golf Championship today through Wednesday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The tournament will take place at the 6,270-yard, par-72 Dinah Shore Tournament Course at the Million Hills Country Club.

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