SAN DIEGO — New Mexico came through with clutch hits against BYU, winning 5-4 in 11 innings on Tuesday to open the Mountain West Conference Baseball Tournament.
The Cougars turned six double plays, but a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning by the Lobos' Jacob Nelson and a game-winning single by Trey Porras with one out in the 11th inning secured New Mexico's victory.
BYU, now 29-26 overall, led twice in the game, taking an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and a 3-1 lead in the sixth.
New Mexico's DJ Peterson doubled in the gap to tie it at 1-1 in the fourth, but the Cougars escaped further damage in the inning when BYU catcher Alex Wolfe held on as he was bowled over at the plate to help Jaycob Brugman turn the first of his two double plays in the game from right field.
Brugman turned his second double play, and his fourth of the year, when he closed the sixth inning on a fly-out to right field and threw to first base to double up Luke Campbell. BYU first baseman Austin Hall was on the tail end of five of those double plays.
Hall also hit a one-out RBI double to score a Ryan Bernal and give BYU a 2-1 lead in the sixth. Hall then scored after stealing third and coming home on a double by Wolfe, giving the Cougars a 3-1 lead.
BYU never led after that, but did get a 4-4 tie in the ninth when Dane Nielsen singled in pinch-hitter Alex Hancock to force extra innings.
BYU starter Matthew Neil was effective through eight innings, walking none.
"We are really disappointed not to come out with a win," said BYU coach Vance Law. "The pitchers from both sides fought well, but we were not able to come up with the big hits with two outs. That's the way baseball is sometimes; the breaks went New Mexico's way.
"We `burned' a couple of our pitchers and have a rough road ahead, but it can be done because we have enough pitching depth. Our defense was great with a couple of heads-up plays. We will bounce back and be ready."
The Cougars play again today at 11 a.m. in the double-elimination tournament.
UVU 13, CHICAGO STATE 3: At Grand Forks, North Dakota, For the second straight year Utah Valley opened the Great West Conference Tournament with a win over Chicago State, winning 13-3 in eight innings on Tuesday at Kraft Field.
Utah Valley plays New York Tech today at 3 p.m. Utah Valley swept a four-game series against the Bears earlier this year in Orem.
Chris Benson had three hits, including a home run while Alex Exon had three hits and three RBIs and Billy Burgess added two hits and drove in three, including a long single in the eighth to end the game via the 10-run rule. Goose Kallunki also had three hits and an RBI and now has 59 runs batted in on the year.
Jeremy Gendlek, who was named the GWC Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year on Monday, went the entire way for the Wolverines (31-22), allowing two earned runs on seven hits in eight innings of work.
"Our guys went out and did what they had to do. We swung the bats well and Jeremy had a good day. I feel like we did what we had to do, for sure," said Wolverine head coach Eric Madsen.
UVU broke through with three runs in the first inning. Kirk Doxey walked and Cole McWhorter singled before Benson drove in Doxey with a base hit. Kallunki and Exon also both singled to drive in runs in the frame.
A four-run third gave UVU a 7-0 advantage before Benson hit a solo shot to left in the fourth to make it 8-0. In the third, Exon had another RBI base hit and Burgess tripled home two runs.
The Cougars (9-40) broke through with three in the seventh to make it a five-run game. Doxey then had an RBI groundout in the bottom of the seventh to make it a 9-3 game.
The Wolverines closed it out with four in the eighth; Kai Hatch and Exon both drove in runs before Burgess ended the game with a hit over the head of Albert Carpen in center to score Exon from third.
BYU vs. UNLV, 11 a.m.
Utah vs. San Diego State, 3 p.m.
TCU vs. New Mexico, 7 p.m.
Great West Conference
At Grand Forks, N.D.
Utah Valley vs. New York Tech, 3 p.m.
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