Bret Baldwin was 4-for-5 at the plate in Thursday's season-ending loss to New Mexico. (Photo by George Seeley)
May 25, 2006
LAS VEGAS - The University of Utah baseball team saw its season come to a close Thursday afternoon at Earl E. Wilson Stadium. The Utes suffered a 12-10 loss to New Mexico at the Mountain West Conference Championship.
Utah fell behind 7-0 before getting the offense on track in the sixth and seventh innings. The Utes put four runs on the board in the sixth and three in the seventh, tying the contest at 7-7.
In the sixth, second baseman Tyler Kmetko ripped a two-run double to left field. The next batter - first baseman Jay Brossman - powered a home run over the left field wall to make it 7-4. A two-run triple from shortstop Ryan Khoury was the big blow in the seventh. Kmetko's RBI single pushed Khoury across the plate and tied things at 7-7.
But the Utah bullpen struggled down the stretch once again, allowing the Lobos to tally three runs in the bottom of the seventh and two more in the bottom of the eighth. Utah reliever Greg Krause loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh, before giving way to Shad McCord. All three of those runners crossed the plate before McCord could get out of the jam, giving New Mexico a 10-7 lead.
In the eighth, McCord allowed a solo home run off the bat of Chris Carlson. Two batters later, Daniel Stovall doubled in another run and the Lobso led 12-7.
But the Utes didn't go down without a fight. Kmetko and designated hitter Bret Baldwin hit a single and double, respectively, to lead off the ninth. Brossman then singled to score Kmetko. Center fielder John Welsh drove Baldwin in with a single to center, making it 12-9 and bringing the tying run to the plate.
Krause (4-1) suffered the loss, allowing four runs in two innings of work. Utah starter Eric King gave up six runs - just three of which were earned - in four innings to start the game. The Utes committed three errors in the game, allowing three unearned runs in the first four innings. Chad Itokazu (3-5) worked 1 2/3 innings of relief for New Mexico to take the win.
Utah got plenty of production from the top three batters in its lineup. Baldwin was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Kmetko was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs, while Khoury went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
Utah finishes its season at 28-28, marking just the second time in the last 10 years that the Utes have been .500 or better.