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Baseball Falls To New Mexico, 6-5
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/18/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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            TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The New Mexico baseball team snapped a 23-game losing streak to Arizona with a 6-5 win over the Wildcats at Kindall Field on Friday.

 

The series-opening win for the Lobos ended a streak for the Wildcats that started in 1997 and improved UNM to 4-2 on the year. Arizona dropped its second straight series-opener and fell to 4-3 with the loss.

 

            The Lobos roughed up UA starter Mark Melancon (1-1) for six runs on eight hits over five innings, took advantage of four errors committed by the UA defense and picked off two Wildcat base runners in the game.

 

            “We made a lot of mistakes,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “We made a lot of young mistakes, but we need to start making progress and getting ?'old’. We need to cut down on the mental and physical errors and slow the game down.

 

“Tip your cap to New Mexico, they got five straight hits off of Mark (Melancon) and I don’t think that’s ever happened to him. I know it hasn’t since he’s been here.”

 

Trailing 3-0, New Mexico indeed collected five straight hits, all singles, off of the UA right-hander in the third inning to jump out to a 4-3 lead. Dane Hamilton started the inning with a single to left and advanced to third on a base knock by shortstop Ryan Barba to place runners on the corners and no outs.

 

            Leadoff hitter Jordan Pacheo, left fielder Jay Russell and DH Chris Carlson all followed with run-scoring hits to tie the game at 3-3 before the Wildcats even recorded the first out.

 

            A one-out grounder to first by Matt Foote later in the inning added another run to hand UNM a one-run lead.

 

            Aided by three fielding errors, New Mexico tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a three-run advantage.

 

            The Wildcats closed within one run in the seventh inning on Jason Donald’s two-out, two-run triple to right, but fell short of tying the game in the frame when DH Eric Berger grounded out to second to end the inning.

 

            UA’s Jon Gaston singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but was picked off first base by UNM’s Damon Miller before giving leadoff hitter Brad Boyer or Donald a chance to advance him.

 

            New Mexico’s Nate Melek (1-1) picked up the win after settling down after a rough start. The Lobo right-hander gave up three runs on three hits in the first inning, but posted zeros in each of the next five frames before Donald’s triple chased him from the game. Melek gave up five runs, three earned, on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings for his first victory of the year.

 

            Reliever Chad Itokazu bridged the gap over the next 1 2/3 innings before giving way to Miller who picked up his first save after recording the final two outs in the ninth.

 

            A bright spot for the Wildcats was the work of freshman reliever Preston Guilmet. The right-hander shut down the Lobo offense to the tune of one hit over the final four innings. He struck out four and walked none.

 

            Offensively, UNM out-hit Arizona nine to eight on the night, with seven of the nine Lobo hitters collecting at least one hit. Barba and Russell led the way with two singles each in the contest.

 

            UA’s Derek Decater (2 for 3, 2B) and Jon Gaston (2 for 4) each paired hits in the loss and Donald hit his second triple of the year.

 

            The two schools will meet up for the second game of the three-game set on Saturday at 1 p.m. Berger will take the mound as the starting pitcher for the Wildcats.

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