ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The New Mexico State baseball team defeated in-state rival New Mexico 6-2 at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M. on Tuesday night. Senior right-handed pitcher Casey Collins earned his second win of the year and senior closer Scott Coffman worked the eighth and ninth innings to record his 17th career save tying him for the career record with Orlando Griego.
Senior right fielder Bryan Karraker helped close out the game with an outstanding diving catch to rob the Lobo hitter Ben Woodchick of a single and a likely RBI as the Lobos led off the bottom of the ninth inning off with a walk. Coffman would get a pair of fly outs to end the Lobo threat and seal the Aggies' second victory over the Lobos this season.
The game started off shakily for the Aggie defense as the Lobos threatened to put together a big inning against starter Casey Collins. The Lobos put runners at first and third but Zac Fisher would catch Ben Pustay stealing second to record the first out of the inning. The next batter would record an infield single beating out the throw to first from third baseman Robert Lecount while scoring the runner from third.. The following batter would also reach on an infield single as Collins would slip fielding the ball and would have no play. The Aggie defense would pick up Collins getting a fly out for the second out of the inning and Zac Fisher would make an outstanding grab nearly falling into the Aggie dugout catching a foul ball for the final out of the inning and limiting the damage to just one run.
The Aggies would use the defensive momentum to establish offensive momentum leading to a 3-1 lead for the Aggies in the second as the first two Aggies would reach on an error and a hit by pitch. Robert Lecount would record an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1 and the Aggies would load the bases via a walk. Tanner Waite would draw a walk to drive in the Aggies' second run and the third run of the inning would come in on a wild pitch.
The Lobos would get one run back in the bottom of the third inning as a runner from third would score on a pickoff play at second base with the Lobos stealing second to help bring home the run.
Neither team scored in the fourth, fifth, six or seventh but the Aggies' defense again came up with big plays in the bottom fo the seventh to help establish momentum for the offense. Collins, pitching what would be his final inning of the game, would fall into a bases loaded jam with one out but would induce a ground ball double play from Josh Melendez to get out of the inning preserving the Aggies' 3-2 lead.
The Aggies would tack on two runs in the top of the eighth as Tanner Rust would deliver a double to the base of the wall in right center driving in a pair of Aggie runs to put them up 5-2. New Mexico State would add one more run in the ninth to go up 6-2 and Scott Coffman would work two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to earn the save.
"We had plenty of defenders turn hits into outs and our hitters squared up on the ball and did what we expect them to do," head coach Rocky Ward said. "We had a ton of quality at-bats. Overall, it was an outstanding outing for Casey Collins and our staff is pitching well right now."
NM State heads into the weekend riding a three-game winning streak and hosting Southeast Missouri State in a three-game series beginning, Friday, March 16 at 6pm at Presley Askew Field. For ticket information call 575-646-1420.