Aggies Fall 6-5 To North Dakota In WAC Series Opener

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - North Dakota first baseman Ryan Reece’s RBI single in the sixth inning proved to be the game winner as the New Mexico State Aggies dropped a heart-breaking 6-5 Western Athletic Conference decision to UND Thursday night at Presley Askew Field.

In the opener of the season’s final three-game series that was delayed an hour and a half by rain and lightning, the Aggies (11-36-1) posted five runs on nine hits but suffered four errors that allowed North Dakota (21-25) four unearned runs.

UND plated six runs on 11 hits and committed three errors as both teams were struggling to get a good handle on the ball in the wet conditions..

NM State senior starter Riley Barr took the loss while working 7.2 innings, throwing 139 pitches and striking out a career-best 10 batters to fall to 4-7 on the year. He sat down at least one batter in every inning he worked except the first.

UND reliever Reid Jungling was awarded the win as he was in the game when his team took the lead in the sixth and is now 4-0 this season.

North Dakota scored the first two runs of the game in the top of the third but the Aggies responded with two runs of their own on three hits in the bottom of the inning to tie the ball game. The visiting team took its second lead of the game in the top of the third on an error by the Aggie centerfielder but got the run back in the bottom of the fifth on a throwing error by UND.

The UND offense produced three runs on three hits and an error in the top of the sixth with the final run of the inning scoring on a bloop-single to right field giving North Dakota a 6-3 lead.

The Aggies started the bottom of the sixth with a lead-off double by Derek Umphres down the leftfield line before shortstop Dan Kennon advanced him to third on a bunt single. Designated hitter Michael Paulson earned an RBI on a groundout to the second baseman to make it a 6-4 ballgame and the Aggies then pulled to within one when reigning WAC Hitter of the Week Kyle Graf hit a groundball single up the middle.

Neither squad threatened again after the sixth inning.

Right hand reliever Matt Loeffler entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and retired four of the five batters he faced, giving up just one walk and no runs.

Right fielder Joseph Koerper was the only Aggie with multiple hits on the night going 2-of-5 at the plate with an RBI and one run scored.

The Aggies face North Dakota in game two on Friday, May 15 at 6 p.m. (MT). The NM State marketing staff will be giving away plenty of Aggie prizes for “Fan Appreciation Night” including water bottles and Aggie bags.