Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
SACRAMENTO, CA - The New Mexico State baseball team closed out a three-game series at Sacramento State on Saturday afternoon. The team held the opponent scoreless in eight innings and won the game 5-2. The victory took the series over the Hornets, 2-1.
How it happened
Saturday’s showdown pitted NM State (23-14, 8-1 WAC) starter Jonathan Groff against Sacramento State (17-18, 4-8 WAC) right-hander Max Karnos.
The Aggies got started early offensively when Brent Sakurai led off with a triple to right field and then scored on a sacrifice fly to put the team in front 1-0. Sacramento State threatened to tie the score in the top of the first with men on second and third, but Groff got the final batter to strike out swinging and preserve the Aggies lead.
NM State maintained their one-run lead over the next five innings. Each pitcher threw scoreless baseball through the sixth and only allowed a combined four baserunners to advance into scoring position.
In the top of the seventh, LJ Hatch led off with a double down the left field line and the shortstop was brought home on a single from the next batter, Mason Fishback. After a Marcus Still bunt moved Fishback to second, the Aggie then crossed the plate when Sakurai a single to right center. Joey Ortiz added more run support grounding into a fielder’s choice which scored Still and put the team up 4-0.
Sacramento State responded in the following half inning on a double to right field which scored the runners from first and second, allowing the opponent to cut into NM State’s lead that stood at 4-2.
Each team went three-up and three-down in the eighth inning, bringing the team’s two-run advantage into the ninth. Still led off with a double to left field and Brian Kiser then came in to pinch hit. The move worked when Kiser roped a double to center which brought in Still.
Dalton Shalberg came out in the bottom of the inning and allowed only one hit to preserve the Aggies lead and the team won 5-2.
Groff (5-4) earned the win after throwing six scoreless innings, only allowing two hits with eight strikeouts. Shalberg earned the save, his first of the year.
NM State recorded seven more hits than the opposition (11-4) and the team’s offense was led by Sakurai with three base knocks, followed by Hatch and Still with two apiece.
New Mexico State baseball remains on the road and travels for a neutral site contest in Midland, Texas for a midweek contest against No. 6 Texas Tech (30-8, 7-4 Big 12). First pitch for the game is slated for 6 p.m. MT at Security Bank Ballpark.