SURPRISE, Ariz. – A few hours after shutting out BYU 2-0 inside the spring training home of the Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals, the New Mexico baseball team moved over to a side field at the complex and completed a doubleheader sweep with a 5-4 win in the nightcap.
The Lobos (2-1) earned their first win of the season as two newcomers combined for a three-hit shutout in the opener. Junior transfer Aaron Makil allowed all three hits in his six-inning start, walking three as well while fanning six. Fellow junior transfer righty Payton Strambler finished with three scoreless innings of relief.
UNM bounced back after allowing nine first-inning runs in the 2020-opening 11-4 loss to No. 25 Oregon State.
“We challenged our guys to go out and win every inning after that,” said UNM coach Ray Birmingham. “They have gone out and won the last 17 innings. I am proud of them for that.”
Last year, the Lobos did not register a shutout until the second-to-last game of the year.
The Lobos scored both runs in the fourth inning to chase Cougar starter Cy Nielson. Connor Mang laced a one-out single to left field, stole second and scored on Kemuel Thomas-Rivera’s infield hit and an error. Thomas-Rivera scored from first on Ediberto Reye’s double.
• In Las Cruces, Tristan Peterson’s bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning gave New Mexico State (2-0) a 10-9 walk-off win over Texas Southern (0-2) in the first game of a doubleheader sweep. Alex Reyes (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth inning and earned the win.
The nightcap produced no such drama. Sophomore Chris Barraza and senior Alex Pinedo teamed up to go seven strong with eight strikeouts in a 13-2 Aggies win. Highly touted prospect Nick Gonzales went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two walks in game two, extending his on-base streak to 69 games.
The two teams play an 11 a.m. Sunday series finale.
TENNIS: In Tucson, Harsha Challa came back from a 6-1 loss in the opening set to claim a 1-6, 6-2, 10-6 triumph in her top-flight singles match, but that was the lone victory the New Mexico State women managed in a 6-1 loss to Pac-12 foe Arizona. NMSU faces Santa Clara in Tucson Sunday.
• In Abilene, Texas, the New Mexico State men lost 4-3 to Abilene Christian before a 4-0 victory over UT Permian Basin.
SOFTBALL: In the Susan Craig Classic at UNM, the host Lobos won twice and improved to 5-3. Early, they beat Northern Colorado for the second time in as many days, this time 8-3. Brianna Martinez went 2-for-3 with a homer and Skylar Jenkins belted a two-run pinch-hit homer for UNM. Kennedy Ferguson (1-1) pitched five innings of one-run ball. Later, UNM routed UCSB 9-1 in five innings. Kiana Spencer (3-0) allowed five hits in the complete-game win, and Cameryn O’Grady doubled and homered.
• In Cactus Classic tournament play in Tucson, Eastern New Mexico (4-1) won twice, 5-4 over Simon Fraser and Colorado Mesa.
• In Las Cruces, visiting Omaha (5-4) scored two eighth-inning runs and held on for a 7-5 victory of New Mexico State (5-3) in the first game of a doubleheader. The Aggies bounced back for a 6-5 win later. Albuquerque freshman Ramsay Lopez continued her hot start with two RBIs and a run scored, and Matalasi Faapito also drove in two runs in game one. In the nightcap, the Aggies scored on a hit-by-pitch, an error and a walk before Riley Carley’s RBI fielder’s choice.