Aggie Baseball Defeats Incarnate Word 8-7 In 12 Innings; Green Picks Up First Career Coaching Victory

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State baseball head coach Brian Green tallied his first-career win as a head coach as the Aggies defeated Incarnate Word, 8-7 in 12 innings of play at Presley Askew Field, Saturday, Feb. 28.

NM State took an early 5-2 lead but UIW eventually came back and sent the game into extra innings. With one out to start the bottom of the 12th inning second baseman Aaron Duran reached base safely when he was hit by a pitch. He advanced to second on a single through the right side by leftfielder Daniel Johnson and senior first baseman Michael Paulson marked the winning RBI on a single to right. Relief pitcher, right-hander Billy Conard got his first win of the season after entering the game in the seventh and working 6.0 innings, striking out seven batters.

“I didn’t expect that it would take three weekends [to get the first win] but the kids have fought hard for three straight weekends,” Green said. “It would have been pretty devasting if we didn’t pull it off. For me, it’s an emotional win but most of all I am happy for the kids.”

The Aggies, as a team, posted eight runs on 13 hits that included a three run home run from third baseman Derek Umphres in the third inning to help give NM State a 5-2 lead, after falling behind 2-1 in the first. Johnson was a big contributor to the NM State offense on Saturday as well going 4-of-6 at the dish with a walk and two runs scored. With contributions from Johnson and Umphres, along with a 3-of-6 day from Paulson, UIW was forced to use nine pitchers.

NM State Starting pitcher Matt Loeffler went 6.0 innings and struck out four batters but had a no-decision as UIW took the lead after he left the game. Conard gave up three runs and stayed in for the second half of the game, although he gave up two three runs in the eighth.

“Conard comes in and we’d like him to be the closer but we saw what he is capable of,” Green said. “Our kids kept fighting and it was great to see the crowd as well. The fans helped today by giving us the support we needed.”

With a 5-2 lead for NM State heading into the eighth inning, UIW crossed the plate three times, taking a 7-5 lead. But the Aggies fought back and posted two runs in the bottom of the inning after the lead-off batter of the inning was hit by a pitch and the very next batter was walked. Both those runners, Lucas Martinez and Kyle Young scored on a pinch-hit single through the left side by Brent Hermannusen. After three consecutive scoreless innings with the game tied at 7-7, the Aggies put the 4 hour, 25 minute game in the books.

NM State and Incarnate Word play the rubber match, Sunday at 1 p.m. (MT) at Presley Askew Field with radio coverage on KRUX 91.5 FM in Las Cruces, while fans from around the world can listen online at www.NMStateSports.com.