Lobos down Spartans in 11 innings, make Mountain West Tournament

May 18—In San Jose, Calif., Josh McAlister's RBI single in the top of the 11th inning and Daxton Purser's two innings of scoreless relief gave the New Mexico Lobos a 10-9 victory over San Jose State and a spot in the Mountain West Conference tournament.

With the victory, the Lobos (28-24, 17-13 Mountain West) finished second behind Air Force in the league standings. A loss on Saturday would have dropped the Lobos into a three-way tie for fourth — subject to a tie-breaker, given that only the league's top four teams advance to the tournament.

The Lobos are in the MW Tournament for the first time since 2017.

The second-seeded Lobos and the third-seeded Spartans (29-26, 16-14) will meet again at 2:30 p.m. MT on Thursday in San Diego in a first-round MW tournament game.

San Jose State had beaten UNM 8-7 and 5-1 in the first games of this three-game series, threatening the Lobos' chances of making the tournament. The Lobos took two of three from the Spartans when SJSU came to Albuquerque in March.

As dramatic as UNM's ultimate victory in extra innings turned out to be, it was made even more so by the 6-0 hole the Lobos found themselves in after seven innings. UNM had managed just two hits to that point.

But the Lobos banged out 12 hits the rest of the way, the big one a grand slam off the bat of Will Asby in a six-run eighth inning that tied the score.

New Mexico then scored three runs in the top of the ninth, but San Jose State answered with three of its own in the bottom half, sending the game to extra innings.

In the 11th, with one out, singles by Jake Holland and Reed Spenrath, a fielder's choice and a hit batsman loaded the bases for McCalister. He delivered with a single, sending Holland home with the go-ahead run.

In the bottom of the 11th, Purser gave up a leadoff double before settling down the Spartans with a groundout, a strikeout and another groundout.

Asby paced UNM's 14-hit attack, going 2-for-6 with five RBIs, his 12th home run of the season and his program-record fourth grand slam.

Holland and McCalister each went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Kyle Smith went 3-for-6.

Purser (1-2) struck out three and walked none in his two scoreless innings of relief.