FRESNO, Calif. - Top-seeded and 13th-ranked New Mexico defeated No. 5 seed Nevada 7-3 Thursday night at Pete Beiden Field in the Lobos' opening game of the 2013 Mountain West Baseball Championship. New Mexico now advances in the winner's bracket of the double elimination tournament to face No. 2 seed UNLV at 7 p.m. Friday night.
The Lobos (36-18) had nine hits in the game, three of which were deep home runs to left field that provided more than enough offense for starting pitcher Josh Walker.
Walker went 8.2 innings Thursday night and improved his record to 11-0 on the season. He gave up three earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks in his strong performance. Gabe Aguilar retired the final out of the game with two runners on base to record his third save of the season.
Nevada (25-31) was led by right fielder Brooks Klein, who went 3-for-4 and scored two of the Wolf Pack's three runs. Nevada will face Fresno State at 11 a.m. Friday in an elimination game.
Much like he did on the first day the tournament Wednesday night, Wolf Pack designated hitter Hugo Hernandez opened up the game with a first inning home run. His shot off the top of the scoreboard in left field gave Nevada an early 2-0 lead on Walker. Walker had only given up three home runs in 62.2 innings pitched entering the tournament.
New Mexico wasted no time answering Hernandez's shot. MW Co-Player of the Year Mitch Garver tied the game in the bottom of the first with a two-run double down the third-base line and then UNM launched two-run homers in both the second and third innings. Sam Haggerty tagged a two-run shot off the scoreboard in left field in the second, followed by Luke Campbell clearing the left-field fence in the third to give Walker and the Lobos a 6-2 lead.
Walker then took over from there, retiring 13 of the next 15 batters following the homer he surrendered in the first all the way through the end of the fifth inning.
Nevada's Brad Gerig cut the UNM lead down to 6-3 in the sixth with an RBI single up the middle that scored Klein, who doubled to lead off the inning.
DJ Peterson clobbered the longest of UNM's three homers in the seventh, a solo shot far beyond the left-field fence for the final Lobo run in the game.