The New Mexico baseball team did its part Saturday afternoon, holding off visiting Air Force 5-4 to claim a third straight regular-season Mountain West Conference title. That title, however, will be shared as UNLV beat Nevada 4-2 later in the day.
UNM (37-18-1, 20-10) will be the No. 2 seed at the upcoming MWC tournament in Las Vegas, while the host Rebels (33-21, 20-10) will be the top seed. UNLV took five of six games head-to-head with the Lobos this year.
That UNM was even able to share the title came as a relief after the Lobos nearly coughed up a 4-1 lead to the Falcons (20-33, 10-20). With runners at the corners and one out in the ninth, Russell Williams singled through the left side to suddenly bring the Falcons within one run.
Pinch runner Adam Groesbeck eventually got to third base, but Victor Sanchez struck out Noah Pierce to end the game. Sanchez earned his 10th save despite allowing two runs in his two innings of work.
Drew Bridges (4-1) earned the victory with six solid innings. He gave up just one run on one hit and two walks while striking out three batters.
Senior John Pustay went 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead UNM at the plate. Pustay fell a home run shy of the cycle.
The Mountain West tournament kicks off with the lower seeds playing Wednesday. UNM will play the highest remaining seed Thursday at 4 p.m.