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UNM baseball team back at home

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On one hand it was a road trip to forget.

The University of New Mexico baseball team did not have much of a vacation on its excursions to Oklahoma State and Cal State Fullerton last week. The Lobos (11-8) went 0-5 against the nationally ranked Cowboys and Titans, with four of the games going to the wire.

UNM, which entered the week ranked second nationally in batting average, scored runs in just three of 45 possible innings.

Frustrating? Absolutely.

“Our hitters were overmatched,” Lobo coach Ray Birmingham said. “Good pitching stops good hitting and our guys didn’t perform. We found out we’ve got some things to fix.”

Fortunately, not all the news was bad. With one exception — a 13-0 blowout loss at Oklahoma State last Wednesday — UNM’s pitchers performed well on the trip. Starters James Harrington, Tyler Stevens, Johnathon Tripp and Luis Gonzalez allowed a total of five runs in 26 combined innings.

With that in mind, Birmingham was not overly upset about the winless trip.

“The pitching I feel really good about,” he said. “Our guys stepped up and kept us right in those games. Our hitters faced a different level of pitching and didn’t make the adjustment, but they will. If we pitch like that, we’ll have a shot against anybody.”

The Lobos have an opportunity to get back on track this week with a pair of home games beginning Tuesday against Grand Canyon (5-12) and then a Mountain West trip to UNLV. UNM is 6-0 at home this season and 6-0 in MWC play.

Grand Canyon comes in mired in a four-game losing streak but has a pair of early season home wins over Oklahoma State to its credit.

“They’ve played a tough schedule and are better than their record,” Birmingham said of the Lopes. “But these two games are really more about getting the Lobos up and running right again.”

UNM’s tough road week did not leave too dark a spot on its national RPI ranking. The Lobos were rated No. 1 going into Oklahoma State and enter this week with a No. 6 RPI ranking.

“That’s why you play tough road series like that,” Birmingham said. “We saw outstanding pitching and those games will help us down the road.

“That doesn’t mean it was fun going 0-5 though. Getting your butt kicked is never a whole lot of fun. We need to get that taste out of our mouths as soon as possible.”


Tuesday: Grand Canyon at New Mexico, 6:30 p.m., 101.7 FM

Wednesday: Grand Canyon at New Mexico, 1 p.m.