Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
GREELEY, CO - A four-run eighth inning lifted New Mexico State (31-20, 19-6) over Northern Colorado (15-31, 10-11) 10-6 on Thursday. The Aggies four triples in the game tied a single-game school record set against C.W. Post in 1990 and against Chicago State in 2005.
Northern Colorado got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with two outs. The third wild pitch of the inning scored the game’s first run, putting the Bears up 1-0.
The Aggies answered in the second as Dan Hetzel led off with a single through the left side. Mason Fishback grounded into a 4-3 double play. L.J. Hatch drew a full count walk. Trey Stine brought him home with a double off the left center wall, tying the game at one run apiece.
NM State added two insurance runs in the third as Brent Sakurai drew a four-pitch walk to lead off. Sakurai advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher as Daniel Johnson struck out on a 1-2 pitch. Greg Popylisen cleared the bases with a stand up triple to deep center field. Austin Botello scored Popylisen with a sacrifice fly to right, putting the Aggies up 3-1.
The Bears fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the third. A leadoff walk put a runner on base, as UNC hit a two-run blast to left field tying the game at two runs apiece.
The Aggies responded again in the fourth, reclaiming the lead. Mason Fishback led off with a single through the left side of the infield. L.J. Hatch hit a triple off the left center wall, scoring Fishback. Joe Koerper grounded out to second, but Hatch scored putting the Aggies back up 5-3.
UNC tied the game again in the sixth inning. The Bear got a leadoff walk, and was moved over on sacrifice bunt. A double down the left field line scored the run from second. Another double to down the left field line scored the second run, tying the game at five runs apiece.
Once again, the Aggies responded and took the lead for good in the seventh, as Austin Botello hit a leadoff double to right. Mason Fishback singled to left center, scoring Botello and giving the Aggies a 6-5 lead.
NM State broke the game open in the eighth inning, as Brent Sakurai led off with a single to left. Daniel Johnson cleared the bases with a triple to deep center, scoring Sakurai. Greg Popylisen reached on an E5, putting runners on the corners. Austin Botello unloaded the team’s fourth triple of the day off the right center wall, scoring both Johnson and Popylisen. Mason Fishback reached on an E5, scoring Botello and putting the Aggies up 10-5.
Tyler Erwin came into pitch with one out in the seventh, making his 30th appearance of the season and tying Orlando Griego’s school record for most appearances in a season set in 1989. Erwin shut down the Bears offense in the seventh and eighth innings, striking out three batters. However in the ninth, UNC got a leadoff double down the left field line, and later scored. After the leadoff man, Erwin induced two ground outs and a line out to left to capture the 10-6 victory for the Aggies. With today’s win, NM State clinched a first-round bye in the WAC Tournament next week.
The two teams will face off again tomorrow at 2 p.m.