NMSU Baseball Drops 5-4 Decision At Arizona

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

TUCSON, AZ -The New Mexico State baseball team headed to Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, Ariz. for a midweek clash with Arizona on Tuesday night. The Crimson & White struck first in the midweek contest but a five-run fourth inning for the Wildcats was too much to overcome as the Aggies fell 5-4.

NM State (5-3) sent Brock Whittlesey to the mound to take on Arizona (5-3) southpaw Randy Labaut. Each pitcher was dealing early keeping the game scoreless, only allowing one hit, through the first two frames.

The Wildcats then threatened in the bottom half of the third with runners on the corners and only one out. Arizona moved one runner to second on a wild pitch, but Whittlesey regained his composure and got a strike out looking to end the inning and keep the Wildcats off the board.

A scoreless baseball game only lasted three innings as NM State struck first in the top of the fourth. After Caleb Henderson doubled to right centerfield, a wild pitch moved the Aggie to third base with no outs. Trey Stine then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Henderson and give NM State a 1-0 lead.

Arizona began the bottom half of the fourth with a pair of singles. A sacrifice bunt followed to move each runner into scoring position with only one out in the inning. The Wildcats then saw an infield error score a pair and put the Aggies down 2-1. The next two batters each laid down a bunt to bring home two more runs and a single to center completed the scoring for Arizona as NM State trailed 5-1 through four.

NM State was able to answer quickly and chip away at the deficit. Marcus Still led off the sixth inning with an infield single and an error on the throw moved him to second base. Logan Bottrell then laid down a sacrifice bunt to put Still just 90 feet from home as Joey Ortiz stepped to the plate. The sophomore knocked a single through the left side to bring in Still and the Aggies only trailed by three, 5-2, at the end of the fifth inning.

The three-run lead for the Wildcats stood through a scoreless sixth inning, and then the Aggies made a change at the plate. Nick Gonzales pinch-hit to lead off the seventh and against the wind knocked a ground-rule double to left center.

Following a throwing error putting men on first and second, Bottrell laid down another sacrifice bunt to put each runner in scoring position. One batter later, the Aggies saw a ground out to the shortstop bring in the first run of the seventh inning. Mason Fishback capped off the top half with a single to shallow left field, which brought home Still and NM State only trailed 5-4.

A potential scoring situation saw the Wildcats put runners on first and second with one out. Alvaro Castillo then came to the mound in relief and got the first batter to line out to center but that put runners on the corners. Castillo did not falter, however, as he got the final batter to strike out swinging to hold Arizona scoreless heading to the eighth.

The Aggies threatened in the top of the eighth when Caleb Henderson led off with a double and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Unfortunately, the runner was not brought home when a fly out and two strikeouts ended the inning.

Each pitcher then threw a scoreless half inning to close the game and NM State fell 5-4. Brock Whittlesey was charged with the loss and Arizona's Juan Aguilera got the win.

New Mexico State now returns home to host Harvard in a four-game weekend series. The matchup begins on Friday, March 2, at 6 p.m. on Presley Askew Field.