NMSU Baseball Falls In Extra Innings To GCU In Series Opener

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State baseball team opened a weekend series against Western Athletic Conference foe Grand Canyon University on Friday night. A high-scoring contest took extra innings to decide a winner in a game which saw the Aggies fall 11-9.

How it happened

NM State (26-17, 11-2 WAC) starter Marcel Renteria took the mound against Grand Canyon (20-21, 14-2 WAC) right-hander Jake Wong to open the three-game series on Friday evening. After a scoreless first, the Aggies took the lead in the bottom of the second when Marcus Still roped a single to left center which brought home the one run.

A one-two-three inning for both squads in the third kept the 1-0 lead for the home team, but the bats came to life in the fourth. In the top half the Lopes first baseman, Ian Evans, led off with a solo home run to center field. The opponent then recorded three straight base knocks to score three more runs and give GCU a 4-1 lead.

The Aggies responded in the bottom half beginning with a double through the left side by Tristen Carranza which brought home Austin Botello on an error at the plate. That at-bat was followed by a ground-out to third which allowed LJ Hatch to cross and then Marcus Still doubled to right center to bring home the tying run, 4-4, to end the fourth.

Renteria and Wong pitched two scoreless innings to hold the tie into the seventh inning. In the top of that frame, a double down the left field line brought in the go-ahead run for the Lopes, followed by a double to the opposite corner to give GCU a 6-4 lead.

The two-run advantage would not last long as the Aggies came out in the next half inning and cut into the deficit on a grounder to second base which brought in Jason Bush from third. The Aggies then went on a two-out rally in the inning which started with a double to right center by Dan Hetzel to tie the game at six.

An infield single by Hatch and an error at first base allowed Hetzel to score from second and NM State went up 7-6. With runners on the corners Mason Fishback knocked a single to left field which increased the team’s lead and Still laced one through the right side to put the Aggies out in front 9-6 through seven.

Ruger Rodriguez came to the mound in the eighth, but the Lopes had a two-out rally of their own with a double to left which scored one run and then a two-run home run by Evans, his second of the game, brought the score back even.

Neither team could go ahead in the remaining inning and a half which sent the game into extras. With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the 10th Rodriguez got the next batter to whiff on the 0-2 pitch, but a dropped third strike allowed all the runners to advance bringing in the go-ahead run for GCU. The visitors then added an insurance run on an RBI single to shortstop.

The Lopes only allowed one Aggie to get into scoring position in the bottom of the 10th, before striking out the final two batters and defeating NM State, 11-9.

Rodriguez (1-1) took the loss at the end of the extra-inning contest. The NM state squad finished the night with 12 hits which featured four Aggies with multiple base knocks led by Still with three and Hatch, Carranza and Fishback each added two.

New Mexico State and Grand Canyon will square off for game two of the three-game series on Saturday, April 29, at 2 p.m. MT on Presley Askew Field.