Mitchell Garver called his shot.
At least that was what his coach claimed after Garver hit a walkoff, two-run homer in the 11th inning to give the New Mexico baseball team a 12-10 win over New Mexico State at Isotopes Park on Tuesday night.
“Mitchell Garver came up to me right before that last at-bat and he said, ‘You want to see a walkoff?’ I sure do. How about that, he called it,” coach Ray Birmingham said with a smile.
Garver, who went 4-for-7, was more tired than elated after the 4-hour, 13-minute contest came to a close.
“I thought I was going to go to bed early, but it ended up being an almost 5-hour game,” Garver said.
Jacob Nelson had singled to lead off the 11th. Garver fell behind 0-2 against Jeff Neptune (0-1) before “golfing” a shot to left field that cleared the fence and landed in the NMSU bullpen.
“The first two were sliders,” Garver said. “I was thinking slider when I went up there. The first two were in the exact same spot, a little bit in on the plate, something I didn’t think I could get my hands to. The third one was actually a slider that was low, I kind of golfed it out of the yard. I can’t believe it got out.”
The game was a wild, back-and-forth affair throughout. The Aggies (31-20) jumped out 4-0 after an inning and a half. The Lobos (30-22) scored two in the second inning and five in the fifth to go ahead 7-4.
NMSU rallied for three in the seventh, two in the eighth and one in the ninth, while UNM countered with two in the eighth and one in the ninth to force extra innings.
“Really, extra innings was not good for us, but it was a win,” said Birmingham, who did not like taxing his pitching staff in a nonconference game.
Freshmen stole the show early as Alex Real hit a two-run homer in the second and Chris Nunez smacked a solo homer in the fifth, his first collegiate blast.
Hobie McClain (2-1) earned the win in relief. He allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out three in 3.2 innings.
All told, the Lobos and Aggies each used seven pitchers, who combined to throw over 400 pitches.
NMSU left 17 runners on base, including the bases loaded in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
The victory helped UNM keep the Rio Grande Rivalry Trophy, an all-sports competition between the in-state rivals.
“It’s a good thing to finally go out there and beat them,” Garver said after the Aggies had won every game between the teams last season and earlier this year.
The Lobos will take a one-day breather before finishing the regular season with three home games against Air Force, beginning Thursday at noon.