Tech Tames Lobos 13-4

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--Tech designated hitter <b>Nick Blankenship</b> homered and drove in <b>six</b> runs as the Raiders claimed a <b>13-4</b> win over New Mexico in the first of a three-game series Saturday at Lobo Field. <p> <br>

The series, originally scheduled to begin Friday, was postponed a day because of snow and cold weather in the area. The series continues today and concludes Monday with both games scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

Blankenship's three-run homer in the top of the ninth, his third of the season, completed a 3-for-5 day in which he also collected a pair of run-scoring singles. His two-run single to left in the top of the third gave Tech a 3-2 lead, which it would not relinquish.

His outing was part of an impressive offensive outburst for the Raiders (4-0), who collected 20 hits against four New Mexico pitchers. The 20 hits, all but three of which were singles, were the most for a Tech team since a 22-hit performance against West Texas A&M almost two years ago.

Tech broke open a close game with a five-run fifth inning in which the Raiders collected eight singles. Senior left fielder Austin Cranford's bases-loaded, two-run single was followed by back-to-back RBI singles from Blankenship and senior first baseman Bryon Smith, giving Tech an 8-2 lead at the time. That was set up by a single from junior second baseman Joel Buchenauer and bunt singles by junior outfielders Scooter Jordan and Jon Slack.

Slack was a perfect 3-of-3 with the first home run of his Tech career, a solo shot in the sixth that made it 10-2. He also walked three times and scored five runs. Jordan went 2-for-4 with an RBI, two walks and three runs scored. Smith finished 4-for-6 with an RBI, his first career game with more than two hits.

Senior right-hander Chris Phillips, meanwhile, tossed his eighth career complete game and his first of the season, scattering four runs, but only two earned, on 10 hits in nine innings. He walked one and struck out a career-high nine Lobos, lowering his ERA from 6.00 to 3.60.

Phillips (1-0) struggled in the first, allowing two singles and a walk before New Mexico's Troy Cairns gave the Lobos (0-4) a 2-1 lead when Tech shortstop Gera Alvarez misplayed his grounder. After that, Phillips was solid, making just two mistakes which Chris Alexander and Donny Sevieri turned into solo home runs when the game was well in hand.

New Mexico's James Vermilyea (0-2) took the loss for the Lobos, allowing eight runs, all earned, on 10 hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

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