Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State baseball team completed a three-game weekend series against Western Athletic Conference opponent UT Rio Grande Valley on Sunday afternoon. The Aggies scored in six innings and won by run rule, 15-5, in the bottom of the seventh. The victory moves NM State to 6-0 in WAC play, which is the best start in conference action in program history.
How it happened
NM State’s Sunday starter Jonathan Groff took the mound for the Aggies (20-13, 6-0) to square off against UTRGV (18-18, 2-7) hurler Andrew Garcia. The early innings did not lack scoring, beginning with the opponent putting three runs up on the board in the opening half.
The Aggies then responded with their highest scoring inning of the game in the bottom of the first. Marcus Still advanced from third on a passed ball for the team’s first run of the game. A double to center by Dan Hetzel then brought Joey Ortiz home and Hetzel then crossed the plate on a single up the middle to tie the game at three. Then NM State took the lead when a double to right center brought home LJ Hatch and put the team up 4-3 heading into the second.
UTRGV added a run to the board to tie the game in the top half, but then the Aggies bats stayed alive at the plate. A double to left center by Austin Botello scored a run and then Hetzel hit a blast over the wall in straight away center field to extend the teams lead to 7-4.
In the third inning, the opposition was able to close in on the deficit and put another run on the board before NM State came back to the plate. With the bases loaded and no outs, a passed ball scored the man from third and then another runner crossed the plate on a bases loaded ground out and the Aggies carried a 9-5 lead into the fourth.
Jonathan Groff then closed out his day throwing three innings of scoreless baseball to maintain the team’s lead. In that time, the Aggies added three more to their total with one run in the fourth and a pair in the sixth.
Chris Butcher then came in the game and shut down the UTRGV bats in seventh, only allowing one walk. With a 12-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh, NM State was not done offensively. The first run of the inning came on a double through the left side by Hatch to bring in a run. Then a single to right field by Mason Fishback brought home two more runs and gave the team a victory by 10-run rule, 15-5.
Groff (4-4) picked up the win on the night and UTRGV’s Garcia (3-2) was charged with the loss. The high-scoring contest saw the Aggie team record 14 hits and five players recorded multiple base-knocks. This was led by Hatch and Fishback with three apiece, followed by Still, Ortiz and Hetzel with two.
New Mexico State baseball will take a short break before they are back in action at home on Tuesday, April 11, at 2 p.m. MT against Sul Ross State.