April 12, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The Fresno State baseball team had a chance to pick up what could have been a key conference road win, but the Bulldogs fell victim to New Mexico's big seventh inning in dropping the Mountain West series opener with the Lobos 11-4 on Friday afternoon.
Fresno State (8-21, 3-8 Mountain West) collected 14 hits, including seven doubles, but stranded 12 base runners and couldn't overcome its bullpen giving up seven runs to the Lobos in the seventh.
"It was an outstanding day for us offensively and we got their starter out of there after 29 pitches," Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole said. "We did so many things well and we just lost it at the end again."
The win kept New Mexico (18-16, 9-4 MW) in a first-place tie with San Diego State, who dispatched Air Force 4-2 in a rare one hour-and-57 minute game in Colorado Springs. UNM's lefty starting pitcher Alex Estrella lasted just two innings, but the Lobos' bullpen allowed just one run over seven innings of quality work.
After UNM tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the opening frame, the 'Dogs responded with two runs in the second to take a 3-1 lead.
The Lobos then rattled off three runs - two in the fourth and one in the fifth - to take a 4-3 lead over the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs' right-handed starter Derick Velazquez was lifted after 5.1 innings, striking out three, walking two and allowing four runs on nine hits, but his strong command and mixture of pitches kept the Lobos off balance throughout his day on the hill.
"Derick did an outstanding job pitching inside and we had a great day defensively," Batesole said.
But after turning to the bullpen, the bottom of the seventh quickly turned into a nightmare for the Bulldogs as reliever Luke Wiechec was tagged for seven runs. The first three came off the bat of New Mexico's catcher Mitch Garver when he crushed a 450-foot home run well past the left field wall and the Lobos put together four more to put the game out of reach.
"The home run didn't bother me," Batesole noted of Garver's three-run shot. "What bothers me is we come in for relief... and (our bullpen's) sloppiness was the difference. We give up a walk, hit a batter, walk a batter and throw a wild pitch. Our bullpen didn't finish it and theirs did."
Offensively, sophomore Chris Mariscal led Fresno State by going 3-for-4, with one of the seven doubles. Five Bulldogs posted multi-hit games, including Judge with two doubles by himself.
Fresno State and New Mexico will play game two of the three-game series on Saturday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. PT. The game can be heard live on 790 AM ESPN The Deuce.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- The flagship radio station of Fresno State baseball is ESPN Radio (940 AM & 790 AM ESPN The Deuce). Follow @FSAthletics on Twitter for live in-game updates of all games during the season.
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