March 29, 2014
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Freshman Griffin Jax tossed a four-hit shutout in leading Air Force to a 5-0 win over New Mexico Saturday afternoon at Falcon Field. The righthander struck out six and walked just one.
Jax (2-5) notched the win in a dramatic finish, getting New Mexico pinch-hitter Lane Milligan to ground out with the bases loaded and a full count to end the game. Milligan, regularly a catcher, was Jax's battery-mate last season as teammates at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village.
Jax never allowed more than one hit in any inning, all singles, and just two over the last five innings of the game. The four hits were the fewest by New Mexico (18-9-1, 7-4) in 79 games and ended a streak of 10 games with 10-plus hits.
The shutout was the first by a Falcon pitcher since Ben Bertelson blanked Kansas, 3-0, on May 5, 2012.
The Falcons (5-20, 2-9) scored a run in the first inning that turned out to be the game-winner. Third baseman Noah Pierce doubled with one out and came around to score on a triple by leftfielder Tyler Jones.
Shortstop Russell Williams launched a two-run homer to left in the fourth inning to put the Falcons ahead 3-0. The Falcons added a run in the sixth as second baseman Spencer Draws doubled-in Jones, who walked earlier in the inning. The Falcons tacked on a fifth run in the seventh inning one a bases-loaded bunt single by catcher Travis Neubeck, scoring center fielder David Thomas.
The Falcons had nine hits in the game. Jones and Draws led the way with two hits apiece.
New Mexico starting pitcher Colton Thomson (2-4) took the loss, allowing five runs in six innings pitched.
The rubber match of the three-game series is back at Falcon Field tomorrow. First pitch is 12 p.m. MST.