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Lobos hang on to defeat Gamecocks

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The New Mexico baseball team got just enough timely hits and a solid night from the bullpen in a 5-3 victory over visiting Jacksonville State on Friday.

Jake Cole pitched two innings for his third save. He came on in the eighth with a runner on second base and no outs, then struck out the next two batters before ending the inning by inducing a groundout.

The ninth was not as kind as gave up back-to-back singles and then hit a batter with only one out to load the bases. The Lobos (21-10-1) stuck with their closer and after he gave up a sacrifice fly, Cole struck out Stephen Bartlett to end the game.

"The biggest thing to me was we pitched pretty good," coach Ray Birmingham said.

Freshman left fielder Danny Collier was the hitting star for UNM. He reached on an error and scored on a groundout in the first inning. In the sixth, Collier came up with one out and the bases loaded in a 2-2 game. He promptly chopped a two-run single up the middle to put the Lobos ahead for good.

In the eighth, Collier came up with a runner on second and two outs. He went the other way, slicing an RBI single through the left side as shortstop Andrew Bishop was trying to hold Jared Holley at second base.

"I was just trying to do my job, do what I always practice," Collier said. "Work on getting people in and getting it done for the team."

Birmingham said Collier aiming for that hole in the defense was the plan all along.

"We planned on doing that last one, that's why I was yelling at Holley, work the bag, try to steal third so the shortstop stayed at second," Birmingham said. "Then maybe a bounder gets through there. We were trying to make the six hole big."

Jared Meek, Chase Harris and Sam Haggerty also had two hits apiece.

"Sam Haggerty's swings were really good," Birmingham said.

UNM starter Jonathan Cuellar gave up two runs on five hits and two walks in 4.2 innings. He ran out of steam in the fifth inning.

Carson Schneider and Taylor Duree combined for 2.1 scoreless innings before turning the ball over to Cole.

Griff Gordon went 3-for-5 with an RBI and Michael Bishop was 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored for the Gamecocks (18-11).

The series will continue Saturday at 2 p.m.

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