ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Ray Birmingham and his University of New Mexico Lobos baseball team are headed to the NCAA Regionals after a 14-4, ten run rule, seventh inning victory over Nevada in the Mountain West Tournament final.
The championship is the seventh title for the program and sixth since 2011. Head coach Ray Birmingham now has an impressive six championships in his nine seasons as coach.
“I wanted this to happen. I really wanted to win this in front of the home crowd,” said Birmingham. “I wanted the people of New Mexico to see us.”
The Lobos took their first lead after a three run shot by Mountain West Player of the Year Carl Stajduhar in third inning. The three to one advantage would go away in the fourth inning as Nevada would add three runs to take a one run lead. The Lobos exploded for four runs in the fourth to retake the lead.
Freshman catcher and La Cueva grad Andrew Pratt blasted a three run shot to give the Lobos a 6-3 advantage. Lobos slugger Chris DeVito followed that up a solo shot in a five run Lobo fifth inning. The Lobos headed to the seventh inning two runs away from ending the game early.
That would happen on the bat of Stajduhar as he would drive in a pair of runs to end the game at 14-4. Lobo fans in attendance cheered wildly as the team finished off Nevada and formed a dog pile in the infield.
“You know the first game I was super nervous,” said Andrew Pratt. “I was super excited and know we just won it. I don’t know what to feel.”
Lobos pitcher Colton Thomson and outfielder Luis Gonzalez were named co tournament MVP. They also made all tournament with teammates Tyler Stevens, a pitcher, and designated hitter Chris DeVito joining them.
The Lobos will not wait for the NCAA Tournament Selection Show to see where they will be playing next.