June 1, 2012
CBI Live: #1
UCLA 3, #4 Creighton 0
Around the Regionals
Scores & Schedules
Lobos Blank Toreros
By Abbey Mastracco
LOS ANGELES – New
Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham has been trying to sell his
state on baseball for a long time. With the third-seeded Lobos’
4-0 shutout of No. 2 seed San Diego Friday afternoon in Game 1
Los Angeles Regional, he may be well on his way.
Behind the big bat of D.J. Peterson and a stellar
performance on the mound by Austin House (8-5), the Lobos
(37-22) made all the right plays at the right moments, handing a
40-win team just its fourth shutout of the season.
House and Peterson both put up big numbers:
House, the junior right hander, scattered six hits over seven
innings and fanned five, while the third baseman Peterson went 4
for 4 with a two-run homer, his 17th of the season, in the ninth
inning that effectively pushed the game out of reach for the
It was a game that awed Birmingham, who was
arguably the most excited person in the State of New Mexico
after the win, fitting in quite nicely in shiny, happy Los
“It was a great baseball game, that’s what
college baseball is all about,” Birmingham said. “That’s as good
as it gets – San Diego. They wowed me, they played the game
absolutely right; they pitched right.”
The man on the mound for San Diego managed to
turn a few heads.
Head coach Rich Hill, never one to shy away
taking a risk, took a big one by throwing All-American closer
Michael Wagner instead of staff ace Paul Sewald.
Through three innings, the risk looked to have
been paying off, but Wagner got into trouble in the fourth,
giving up two runs.
Hill stayed coy on the decision to start the NCAA
“I was in the dugout for the first few innings
saying to myself, ‘Thank God we started Wagner,’” Hill said.
“But then he got tired, he was up around 90 pitches.”
The closer, who has gone for long outings a
handful of times this season, first showed signs of fatigue when
he gave up a leadoff single to Peterson in the fourth. After
Peterson advanced on the sacrifice, Josh Melendez ripped a
double to the left-center gap to easily score Peterson. With
runners on the corners two batters later, Kyle Stiner laid down
the bunt to score Melendez on the safety squeeze, giving the
Lobos a 2-0 lead.
The two runs would be the only ones that Wagner
would allow, as he was pulled with one out in the sixth. While
it was not the worst outing Wagner had ever seen, he ultimately
was tagged for the loss and will be unavailable for Saturday’s
The Toreros squandered the few opportunities they
had but still managed to hold the Lobos to just the pair of runs
until the ninth when Peterson pulled a 2-2 pitch deep to left,
just barely clearing the foul pole for a two-run bomb.
“The first pitch my coach told me, ‘Swing for it,
let me see what you’ve got.’ So I swung and missed,” Peterson
said. “I was at two strikes, but then he left it up and in and I
got a hold of it.
“Honestly I was not trying to get that out, I was
trying to go to right field and it worked out good.”
The victory has New Mexico talking a big game. A
deep run is on the minds of the Lobos and don’t tell them it’s
“I think we’re all pretty confident and the
numbers are true: Just look at what we did at TCU this year,”
Peterson said. “If they’re questioning it, just come play us at
our place next year. We’d love the challenge.”
New Mexico will resume play Saturday when it
faces No. 1 UCLA; San Diego faces Creighton in the hopes of
staying alive another day.