June 4, 2010
FULLERTON, CA - Ryan Honeycutt's bases-loaded walk drove home the go-ahead run and Chris Juarez's two-run single keyed a four-run seventh inning to help lift No. 3 New Mexico to a 9-5 victory over No. 2 Stanford on Friday night in NCAA Regional action at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, CA.
The Lobos (38-20, 1-0 in NCAA Regional play), in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since finishing 1-2 in the 1962 event, advance to face the winner of Friday night's Minnesota-Cal State Fullerton clash on Saturday at 8 p.m. PDT.
The Cardinal (31-24, 0-1) fall into the losers bracket to face either the No. 4 Golden Gophers or top-seeded Titans in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. PDT.
Jason Oatman (1-2) earned the victory in relief of starter Willy Kesler, allowing just one run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. Keseler was tagged for four runs on 11 hits while striking out five in 5 2/3 innings en route to the no decision.
Starter Jordan Pries (4-4), one of six Stanford arms on the night, suffered the loss, allowing five earned on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out four.
Trailing, 4-3, entering the decisive frame, New Mexico put runners on the corners thanks to a hit batter and a one-out infield single sandwiched around a sacrifice. After a pitching change, Adam Courcha's deep fly ball to centerfield plated Cameron Smith with the tying run to make it a 4-4 ballgame.
The Lobos continued to apply the pressure, drawing back-to-back walks by Justin Howard and Rafael Neda to load the bases and force a second pitching change, bringing Scott Snodgress in from the Stanford bullpen.
The Cardinal's luck didn't change, however, as Honeycutt worked a four-pitch walk to drive home Daniel Gonzalez with the go-ahead run, giving the Lobos a 5-4 advantage.
After another pitching change, Juarez continued the momentum and struck the big blow of the inning, lining a 1-1 pitch from reliever Brian Busick back up the middle, scoring two to make it a 7-4 contest.
Stanford got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Kenny Diekroeger to cut the deficit to two runs, but that would be as close as the Cardinal would get as UNM loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, plating two more runs to cap the scoring.
The ball was flying out of the park early as the two teams combined for three home runs in the first inning. Neda had a solo shot with two outs to give the Lobos the early lead while the Cardinal countered with a solo shot by Tyler Gaffney to lead off the bottom of the inning and a two-run home run by Ben Clowe three batters later to give Stanford the 3-1 advantage.
New Mexico rallied to tie the game with a pair of runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Juarez and a run-scoring ground ball by Max Willett to make it 3-3. Stanford, however, regained the lead in the fifth on an RBI single by Diekroeger with runners on the corners and one out.
Juarez finished 3-for-4 with three RBI to pace the Lobos while Willett finished with a pair of hits and two runs driven in. Gaffney and Diekroeger each had three hits to pace the Cardinal, which outhit the Lobos by a 14-10 count and had five players finish with multiple hits on the night.