Popylisen’s Walk-Off Keeps the Aggies Baseball Alive At WAC Tournament

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

MESA, AZ - Greg Popylisen’s walk-off single kept the Aggies alive as New Mexico State (34-22) defeated Sacramento State (30-28) 5-4 on Friday afternoon.

Contrary to the Aggies first game of the day, the second was a true pitcher’s duel with both teams held scoreless until the fifth inning. The Aggies were held hitless until the fourth inning, when Austin Botello laced a single to right field.

The Aggies got on the board first in the fifth as Mason Fishback led off with a double to right center. Trey Stine drove him in with a single to center field. Tristen Carranza laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Stine to second. Daniel Johnson singled to right field, scoring Stine and putting the Aggies up 2-0 early.

The Hornets answered in the top of the sixth with singled to left, with the runner stealing second during the next at-bat. The run came in on a single up the middle to pull within one run at 2-1.

NM State added an insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth as Austin Botello led off with a single through the left side of the infield, and advanced to second on a wild pitch during the next at-bat. Mason Fishback scored Botello with a RBI single to right.

Sacramento State refused to die as they tied the game in the eighth inning. A single to center got the ball rolling, with the runner advancing to second on an E3 as part of a failed pickoff attempt. A base hit through the left side put runners at the corners with one out. A full count walk loaded the bases with two outs. A two-RBI single through the left side of the infield tied the game at three runs apiece.

The Aggies responded and retook the lead in the bottom half of the eighth as Greg Popylisen led off with a single to right. Dan Hetzel scored Popylisen with a single up the middle, putting the Aggies up 4-3 going into the ninth.

The Hornets keep fighting in the ninth as they tied it up once again. Sacramento State drew a leadoff walk. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second and a wild pitch during the next at-bat moved him to third. A single to center scored the run and tied the game at four runs apiece.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Aggies got two quick outs with a foul out and a fly out. Brent Sakurai singled up the middle to give the Aggies a baserunner and a chance for the win. Daniel Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice, and Sakurai was safe at second on an E6 fielding error. On a 2-2 count, Greg Popylisen laced a ball into right field, scoring Sakurai and clinching the 5-4 victory for the Aggies.

NM State advances to play the loser of the game between Utah Valley and Seattle U tomorrow at 4 p.m. MT.