Two out of three ain’t bad

It didn’t end in very impressive fashion, but the weekend still worked out for the U baseball team. The Utes took two of three from the visiting New Mexico Lobos this weekend, winning the first two games before stumbling late in the Lobos’ come-from-behind victory Saturday afternoon.

After two days in which the Utes had been able to contain one of the most potent offenses in the Mountain West, the Lobo bats finally awoke Saturday-and at just the right time for Utah. After holding a 4-1 lead through six innings, the Ute bullpen — which had been more virtually dominant over the first two games of the series — suddenly showed signs of vulnerability. New Mexico scored two runs in each of the final three innings, rallying to salvage one game of the weekend set, stealing a 7-4 victory.

Back-to-back RBI singles from Matt Foote and Jay Russell put the Lobos on top in the eighth, and Drew McDonald put on the finishing touch an inning later with a two-run double. Brett Bruneel took the brunt of the damage off the hill, giving up seven hits and four runs in just two innings of work.

The team wasted a strong effort from starter Brad DeVore, who yielded just one unearned run in five innings of work. On the other side, New Mexico didn’t have to worry about such a problem. Starting pitcher Jacob Norton went the distance, scattering 12 hits over nine innings to pick up his third victory of the season.

Despite the win in the series finale, the Lobos did it without much from cleanup hitter Daniel Stovall, who entered the weekend as the league’s top run-producer. But he struggled in Salt Lake City, going just 2-for-14 and failing to drive in a single run.

Having taken two of three from New Mexico for the second time this season, the Utes (18-21) improved to 7-5 in conference play, tied for third in the league with rival BYU.

The team followed up its 13-4 Thursday night victory with another impressive showing Friday. Jesse Shriner drove in three runs and Nate Burnham and Corey Shimada had three hits apiece as the Ute offense took control in the middle innings en route to a 10-4 win. The Utes pounded out 18 hits and all but one starter reached base at least twice. Erik King (5-1) didn’t have his best outing, but held his own against the potent Lobo attack.

The Utes host a non-conference game Tuesday against Southern Utah before heading out of state for the first time in more than a month this weekend against UNLV.