Eric King tossed six solid innings for his third victory Saturday.
March 24, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of Utah baseball team jumped out to a big lead and held on to defeat New Mexico 12-8 Saturday evening at Isotopes Park. The Utes pounded out 19 hits and got a solid performance from starting pitcher Eric King en route to the victory.
Utah (8-15, 1-1 MWC) opened the contest with a bang. The Utes scored five runs in the top of the first. Second baseman Corey Shimada scored on a wild pitch for the first run of the contest. Later in the inning, right fielder John Welsh drove in a run with an infield single and catcher Cody Guymon plated two runs with a double to right-center. Third baseman Erich Kemp poked an RBI single to right field to account for Utah's 5-0 lead after half an inning.
New Mexico (12-16, 1-1 MWC) pulled within three, with a pair of runs off King in the bottom of the first. The Lobos added a single tally in the fourth to get within two runs, 5-3.
The Ute bats came to life again in the sixth. Center fielder Nate Burnham got things started with a single. Shimada followed that up with a home run to left field to put Utah on top 7-3. First baseman Jay Brossman quickly deposited another offering from New Mexico starter Sean Smith over the left-field wall to make it 8-3. A Dustin Hennis double knocked Smith from the contest and a Welsh single up the middle gave the Utes a 9-3 lead.
Utah added a single run in the seventh. New Mexico pushed two runs across in the bottom of the frame. The Utes pushed their lead to 12-5 in the top of the eighth and the Lobos added three in the bottom of the ninth to account for the final four-run difference in the contest.
Numerous Utes had strong days at the plate. Shimada was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs, while designated hitter Bret Baldwin was also 3-for-5 and scored a pair of runs. Guymon was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs, while Hennis was 3-for-6 with a run scored and an RBI. Brossman's home run was his seventh of the season. Matt Hibbits did most of the damage for New Mexico, going 4-for-5 with five RBIs and a run scored.
The rubber game of the three-game set is Sunday afternoon at Isotopes Park. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.