UNM baseball gets first-round bye in MW tournament

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By The Staff

The Lobos scored in each of the first four innings and UNM jumped out to an 11-0 lead on the way to a convincing 11-2 victory over Air Force Saturday, giving UNM the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Mountain West Tournament, hosted by New Mexico May 25-29 at Santa Ana Star Field.
The win was great for UNM in that the Lobos got a great starting pitching performance from Carson Schneider, who bounced out of a small slump with six solid innings, allowing two runs and just five hits, striking out two. It wasn’t so great in the ninth inning when Jared Holley, trying to beat out a double play, hurt his right leg in an injury that looked completely different from his quad injury earlier in the season. Holley had to be carried off the field by both trainers.
UNM got on the board in the first inning when Carl Stajduhar turned on a pitch and hammered it over the fence in left for a long solo home run. After getting a second run in the second inning on a double play grounder, the Lobos scored three times in the third and the fourth.
In the third, with two on, Jack Zoellner obliterated a Nick Biancalana fastball for a three-run home run that nearly made it to the football practice field beyond the right field fence. In the fourth, Luis Gonzalez doubled home a pair of runs and then scored on a Staduhar ground out.
Gonzalez’s three-run home run in the sixth completed the offense for UNM as he deposited one just over the fence and just inside the foul pole in left some 355-feet away.
That was more than enough for Schneider, who at one point retired eight in row. He threw just 77 pitches before giving way to Alex Estrella, who pitched three scoreless innings for his seventh save of the season.
The Lobos for the weekend allowed just five runs to Air Force, which was 8-4 at home before the series started. UNM’s bullpen was outstanding over the weekend, throwing 7.2 innings of scoreless baseball.
UNM finished the regular season 35-21 overall and 20-10 in Mountain West play, just one game behind Fresno State for the Mountain West title.
As the No. 2 seed, UNM received a first-round bye in the Mountain West Championships.
No. 7 San Jose State will play No. 6 San Diego State at 11 a.m. today to get into the tournament. The winner will play No. 3 Nevada at 7 p.m. tonight.
No. 4 UNLV and No. 5 Air Force will play at 3 p.m.
The Lobos will play the winner with the best seed at 7 p.m. Thursday in their first game of the tournament.
NOTES: Alex Estrella made his 70th appearance for UNM, the fourth such Lobo pitcher to do so … Estrella’s save was his seventh, and it’s the fifth-most in a season for UNM … the 35 wins by UNM is the 10th-most in school history … UNM finished the regular season 18-9 on the road, and the 18 wins in the second-most in school history, one behind the 19-14 record in 2000.