NMSU Baseball Falls To Kent State 2-1 In Elimination Game At NCAA Regionals

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LUBBOCK, TX - The New Mexico State baseball team took on Kent State in an elimination game for the NCAA Lubbock Regional on Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies carried a one-run lead into the eighth when the Golden Flashes had a two-run home run put the Crimson & White behind as the team fell 2-1.

At the end of a historic season at the NCAA Regional in Lubbock, head coach Brian Green said, “First off, I want to thank Texas Tech for such a first-class regional and we were honored to be a part of it. What a game today, I could not be any more proud of our program, our coaching staff and our administration. In 2015 New Mexico State won 11 games and this season we won 40 with a WAC Tournament Championship, so we are very excited about the direction this program is heading.”

NM State (40-22) ace Kyle Bradish got the start against southpaw Jared Skolnicki of Kent State (40-17). Bradish made quick work in the opening frames and Skolnicki kept the Aggies scoreless as he escaped a couple jams.

The top of the second saw Mason Fishback rope a double to left field and Nick Gonzales tried to score all the way from first but was thrown out in a bang-bang play at the plate. Then in the third the Aggies had the bases loaded with just one out, but a 4-6-3 double play ended the scoreless frame.

Just a half inning later, Kent State threatened with the bases juiced and one out. Bradish did not falter, however, as he got the next batter on a strikeout swinging and then forced the final batter to ground out to second to hold the Golden Flashes off the board.

In the top of the sixth, the Aggies struck first to end the scoreless bout. After a leadoff single from Marcus Still, the senior moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Joey Ortiz. This was close enough as Caleb Henderson laced a double to the wall in left field to score Still and put NM State up 1-0.

After tossing another gem, Bradish exited the game with one out and one man on in the eighth as the Aggies went to the pen. The Golden Flashes capitalized on the pitching change as the next batter sent a ball over the wall in right field for a two-run home run that put the Crimson & White behind, 2-1.

The Aggies looked to get back in the game with two runners on in the ninth inning, but a groundout to first base marked the final out of the 2018 season for NM State as they lost to Kent State, 2-1.

At game’s end, Bradish recorded nine strikeouts and allowed just four hits through 7.1 innings of work. The Aggies had seven hits with five different players recording a base knock, led by Marcus Still and Mason Fishback who each had two.

New Mexico State baseball closed out a historic season that saw the team win its first Western Athletic Conference Tournament title and advance to its first NCAA Regional since 2012.

QUOTABLES
Head coach Brian Green on what Kyle Bradish meant to the team’s turnaround…
“Yeah, Kyle Bradish was part of our first recruiting class and, you know, he bought into a program that wasn’t where it was today. It’s really important to us as a coaching staff that when we recruit to student-athletes that we’re going to keep our word. And we cast out a vision to him, (Tristen) Carranza and all those guys that were on the field today. They (Bradish and Carranza) were both part of that first class. He (Bradish) absolutely emerged as a leader this year. It really means a lot to me and that is why you coach. Kids like that and you watch them grow up right in front of your face. Comes from a great family. Kyle’s one of the bricklayers of the program for us and I couldn’t be more proud of what he did in his career here at New Mexico State.”

Coach Green on his outfields contribution to this season…
“I’m really proud of them. Carranza is a self-made outfielder who came in as a catcher and converted to first base and then moved over to left. Marcus Still is one of the premier centerfielders. He’s one of the best centerfielders that we saw in the country this year and was on our team. He’s saved us so many runs. And Logan Ehnes is really aggressive out there. I thought our outfield play was great. I think that’s one of the things you see in tournament time, you see a lot of good infield play, but the outfield play is where you see a lot of plus speed and guys who can really track it down. Those doubles maybe in your regular season are caught in the postseason and I was really proud of their effort.”

Starting pitcher Kyle Bradish on his impressive NCAA Regional performance…
“I thought I pitched pretty well. I had great defensive plays out there. Very emotional right now, because this is probably my last college start, but I went out there tried to compete and get a win for my team. Obviously, that didn’t happen but I was pleased with our team effort.”

Bradish on the success this team has had and the challenges they have overcome…
“Yeah, it’s been tough and we’ve been through a lot. Coach Green has done a great job recruiting the first class. We have a few guys on the team still that have helped get us to this point. Himself, TD (assistant coach Terry Davis), Joel Mangrum, they’ve all done a great job bringing in great guys. Like I said, I just want to lead by example and do the best for my teammates.”