Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State baseball team played host to the UTRGV Vaqueros for the second game of a three-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies got a large lead early and escaped a tough situation in the ninth to defeat the Vaqueros 7-4.
How it happened
NM State (18-13, 5-0 WAC) right-hander Marcel Renteria got the start against the Vaqueros (18-17, 2-5 WAC) Connor Grant. The opening two and a half innings saw each hurler contain the opposing offense as the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third.
With two outs and a runner on second base, Austin Botello put the Aggies first run up on the board with a single to right field.
After putting the opposition down one-two-three in the top of the fourth, the Aggie bats added to the teams lead in the bottom half. The scoring began when Marcus Still brought home a run with a sacrifice fly. A single to right field following Still’s at-bat gave NM State their fourth run of the game. With two outs UTRGV went to their bullpen and Austin Botello then knocked a hit to left center which was bobbled on a diving play by the center fielder and allowed Joey Ortiz to reach home.
Renteria loaded the bases in the fifth inning with no outs, but pitching coach Joel Mangrum calmed the senior down and he escaped the inning unscathed to hold NM State’s 5-0 lead. In the bottom of that inning Tristen Carranza led off with a solo home run and two batters later Brent Sakurai knocked one over the center field wall to put the home team up 7-0.
The sixth and seventh innings were quiet for each team as neither could put more runs on the board. In the top of the eighth inning, Aggie reliever Keaton Graf walked in the Vaqueros first run of the game and Dalton Shalberg then came in to get the team out of the inning.
With a 7-1 lead at the start of the ninth, Matthew McHugh came to the mound and allowed two quick runs before loading the bases with no outs and the tying run at the plate. Ruger Rodriguez was then called in to put a halt to the UTRGV offense. Rodriguez allowed one run on a sacrifice fly but that was all the senior would give up to secure the victory for NM State, 7-4.
Renteria (5-2) picked up the win after throwing seven innings of scoreless baseball and Rodriguez earned the save (6). The Aggie offense saw three batters record multiple hits with Ortiz, Botello and Carranza each adding two.
New Mexico State baseball will close out the weekend series against UTRGV on Sunday, April 9 at 11 a.m. on Presley Askew Field. The game can be heard on 91.5 FM KRUX with Adam Young on the call.