Apr. 25—COLORADO SPRINGS — New Mexico’s men’s tennis team lost the doubles point, but there was no way that Air Force was standing in the way of another Lobo conference championship.
The Lobos took four straight-set victories, punctuated by a championship-winning ace from Player of the Year candidate Raul Dobai, and New Mexico won the Mountain West title with a 4-1 victory. The Lobos (8-9, 6-1) earned the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, UNM’s first postseason trip since 2015.
From 1 to 4, UNM’s Dobai, Dominic West, Stepan Holis and Rafael Abdulsalam won their matches, leaving Sergio Molina at No. 5 and Jake Trondson with matches unfinished.
The title was UNM’s Mountain West-leading eighth, and overall it was UNM’s 14th conference championship counting six Western Athletic Conference championships.
It is the first UNM conference championship in a men’s sport this season, joining women’s soccer and women’s golf this past week and women’s cross country and women’s basketball previously.
The men’s tennis selection show takes place on May 3, streaming live at 4 p.m. on NCAA.com. The NCAA Tournament runs May 20-29 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida.
MEN’S GOLF: In Provo, Utah, New Mexico finished fourth and New Mexico State tied for 16th in the 20-team PING Cougar Classic, hosted by BYU. (Click here for final team, individual results.)
Freshman Bastien Amat had seven birdies and shot a career-best 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third and final round, finishing fifth individually to pace the No. 29 Lobos to their 21-under-par 843 (279-283-281). That was 21 strokes behind wire-to-wire first-place team San Francisco.
Sophomore Albert Boneta, the reigning Mountain West Conference player of the week, was the second Lobo to finish in the top 20 as he tied for 12th with his score of 210 (-6).
Paced by Joseph Robson, who had an eagle en route to his 3-under 213, NMSU finished 18-over 882 (291-298-293).
The Lobos play the MWC Championships May 1-2 at Omni Tucson National. NMSU plays the WAC Championships Friday-Saturday at Boulder City, Nevada.
BASEBALL: In Seattle, New Mexico rallied for three runs in the top of the 12th inning and held on for a 5-3 victory over Washington.
Connor Mang, Mack Chambers and Kyler Castillo had RBI hits in the top of the 12th for the Lobos (9-15), who dropped an extra-inning game to the Huskies (16-18) on Friday. The series finale is Sunday at 2 p.m.
Castillo finished 4-for-6 and drove in two runs, and Jack Silverman hit a tying solo home run in the seventh for UNM. Terrell Hudson got the win in relief, one of six UNM relievers who combined to allow one run on six hits over the final seven innings.
Former Lobo and Las Cruces native Karl Korper was 2-for-2 with two RBIs for Washington.
In Stephenville, Texas, New Mexico State (12-23) committed four errors, allowed three unearned runs, left 13 runners on base and fell 4-1 to Tarleton State (17-25) in game one of a WAC doubleheader. It was the Aggies’ ninth straight defeat. Chris Jefferson (4-5) was the starter and hard-luck loser in his league-leading fifth complete game for New Mexico State.
But the skid ended in the nightcap. The Aggies scored four seventh-inning runs, three coming on Zach Smits’ home run, to snap a 3-3 tie and went on to win 8-3.
SOFTBALL: In St. George, Utah, catcher Nikki Butler went 4-for-4, and her grand slam in the fifth inning powered New Mexico State (24-18, 9-3 Western Athletic Conference) to an 8-6 win over Dixie State (18-24, 6-9).
The Aggies have won eight straight games in WAC play, their longest league streak since nine straight in 2016. They wrap their home slate with a three-game set vs. Utah Valley next Friday and Saturday.
Brianna Gallegos added three of NMSU’s 13 hits to support pitcher Matalasi Faapito (10-8), who allowed five earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
—At Lobo Softball Field, New Mexico split an MWC doubleheader with Boise State, winning 6-4 and losing 4-3.
The Lobos (5-31) and Broncos wrap up the series Sunday with a noon game.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: In Reno, Nevada, New Mexico fell 4-1 to Fresno State and ends its season at 8-9 overall and 2-7 in the Mountain West.
The match was the final one for Yue Lin “Polly” Chen, Natasha Munday, Danielle Quevedo (who missed the final 10 matches of the season) and Albie Huang, all four-year letter winners and part of the same freshman class in 2017.