New Mexico came into Saturday's doubleheader against BYU with its WAC title hopes on life support.
The Lobos already trailed the Cougars by four games and had only come up with one win in four previous games against BYU.Making New Mexico's task even more overwhelming was the fact that BYU hasn't lost a game at home this season (15-0).
So you can imagine the celebration that took place on the pitcher's mound after Lobos pitcher David Meng struck out BYU's Corey Francom to end the second game and complete a 4-3, 5-4 sweep of BYU.
"No doubt, we came in knowing we had to win both games. We still need some help, but we had to have these wins to stay in the race," said New Mexico coach Rich Alday. "The key for us was our pitchers being able to throw offspeed pitches for strikes. BYU is a fastball hitting team."
Game two had to be settled in extra innings when the two teams completed the seventh inning tied at 4-all.
The Lobos then put the game away in the top of the eighth.
With one out, Ryan Wright singled. New Mexico then put on a hit-and-run that worked to perfection. Ronnie Ming stuck his bat out and punched a groud ball in the hole created when Francom broke to cover second base.
Jaime Garcia then drove in the winning run with a shot to left field that Leroy Brown couldn't handle.
The Lobos went on to load the bases off reliever Travis Dowdell, but BYU kept the game close thanks to a sensational defensive play by David Bayles who stabbed a line drive on the right side of first base, then jumped to his feet and drove back to the bag in time to complete a double play.
In the bottom of the eighth, BYU had runners on first and second when Francom struck out.
"We had an off game offensively. Our guys just didn't adjust very well," said BYU coach Gary Pullins. "We expect to be better down the stretch. We've had a tough week. We've played six games in a week all in the middle of final exams."
In game one New Mexico's defense turned four double plays and despite managing just four hits came away with a 4-3 win.
BYU starter Scott Haws pitched a complete game was pinned with the loss, despite striking out 10.
New Mexico's Mike DeMore squeezed in the winning run with a well executed bunt in the sixth inning.
New Mexico's Kurt Hildebrandt pitched all seven innings for the Lobos, allowing seven hits and two earned runs.
BYU was paced by McDowell and Francom who had five hits between them.
BYU now holds a two game lead over New Mexico. Next up for the Cougars is a pair of games on May 5 and 6 against Utah.