Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
SEATTLE, WA - The New Mexico State baseball team (16-12, 2-0) squared off for game two of a three-game weekend series against Western Athletic Conference foe Seattle U (8-17, 1-4) on Saturday afternoon. The clash at Bannerwood Park saw NM State take their first road series win of the season with a game two victory, 8-5, highlighted by great hitting early on.
How it happened
The weekend contest opened with Aggie right-hander Marcel Renteria on the mound versus Redhawk hurler Janson Junk. A quiet first inning for both sides kept the game knotted at zero to open up.
In the top of the second, the Aggie bats came to life, beginning with a single up the middle to score two runners and give NM State a 2-0 lead with no outs. Brent Sakurai then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but an errant throw moved runners to second and third for the team. A wild pitch in the next at bat brought home the runner from third for a 3-0 lead.
Joey Ortiz proceeded to mash a ball over the right field fence but the outfielder for the Redhawks kept the ball in the park but could not hold the ball in his glove allowing Ortiz to leg out a stand up triple and score another run. Austin Botello followed that up with a triple of his own to put another run on the board before Botello crossed the plate on another wild pitch to give the Aggies six runs through the top of the second.
Looking to slow down NM State’s momentum, Seattle U brought home their first two runs of the game with a two-out home run as the second frame ended with the Aggies up 6-2.
Tristen Carranza added to his home run total in the third with a lead-off blast he put over the left field fence to give the squad a 7-2 lead. This was the third home run of the weekend and ninth of the season for the senior.
Each pitcher went through the fourth inning with no trouble, but the teams added to their totals in the fifth. Brent Sakurai knocked in the Aggie eighth run with an RBI triple to right field. Seattle U then added two runs to their score after a runner advanced on a balk by Renteria and the next batter brought home the opponent’s fourth run with a line drive to right field.
Allowing zero runs over the next two innings, the Aggies remained up 8-4 and brought in three different relievers in the eighth help to hold the team’s lead. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with only one out, the tying run came to the plate and NM State went to the pen bringing in Alex Reyes. After walking in the oppositions fifth run, Reyes calmed down and forced the final batter to ground into a double play and secure the 8-5 victory for the squad.
The win for the team saw the Aggie bats put up eight runs, on 11 hits which included five extra-base knocks. The offensive production saw Ortiz, Botello, Carranza and Hatch lead the way with two hits apiece.
Marcel Renteria picked up the win, moving to 4-2 on the year, after seven innings of work with a season-high nine strikeouts and only four hits allowed. Reyes picked up the save, the seniors first of the year.
The New Mexico State baseball team moves to 16-12 on the year and 2-0 in WAC play. The team wraps up the weekend series against Seattle U on Sunday, April 2 at 1 p.m. MT.