NMSU Baseball Races Past UTRGV In Series Opener

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State baseball team opened a three-game Western Athletic Conference series versus UT Rio Grande Valley with first place on the line on Friday night. After falling behind 5-0 early, the Aggies rallied to post multi-run frames in each of the final five innings to defeat the Vaqueros 17-8.

In the opening of game one, each side went scoreless in the first inning before UT Rio Grande Valley (29-16, 14-5 WAC) struck first to put NM State (32-11, 14-5 WAC) behind early. Scoring opened in the top of the second when the Vaqueros saw a bases loaded single to left score a pair of runs putting the Aggies down 2-0 heading into the third.

Then in the top half of the third inning, the opposition got going again at the plate. A runner stood on third base with two outs when a double down the left field line plated the first run. Then the man on second was brought home on a single into right that put the NM State deficit at 4-0 through three.

NM State’s hole grew larger in the top of the fourth with UTRGV added another run to the board. With a runner on second and two outs, the Vaqueros saw a base knock to right center score one run and the Aggies trailed 5-0 into the home half of the inning.

This was when the offense for the Crimson & White got rolling. The bottom of the fourth saw NM State load the bases with no outs before Tristan Peterson beat out an knocked an infield single to score the first run of the game for the Aggies. The bases remained loaded for Eric Mingus who sent a double down the line in left to plate two more runs. The scoring then closed on an infield groundout that brought in one more run to put the Aggies deficit at just one, 5-4.

After NM State starter Brock Whittlesey tossed a scoreless frame in the fifth, the Crimson & White offense took the lead in the bottom half. After a Nick Gonzales triple and Tristen Carranza being hit by a pitch, runners stood on the corners with one out. The first run then crossed the plate on a Logan Ehnes single through the right side to leave men on first and third. Peterson then knocked a ball that resulted in an error by the shortstop that scored the run from third. Then Kevin Jimenez continued to add to the lead with a two-RBI double that gave the home team an 8-5 advantage into the sixth.

The opposition went down in order in the top of the sixth and NM State took advantage adding to its lead in the home half. After Joey Ortiz led off the frame with an infield single, Gonzales stepped to the dish and crushed a two-run home run over the wall in left field to put the Crimson & White up 10-5.

UT Rio Grande Valley cut into the NM State lead in the top of the seventh. The Vaqueros for their first runner on with a base on balls. Then in the next at-bat, UTRGV saw a homer to left put two runs on the board and the Aggies lead stood at 10-7.

This was the closest the score would get, however, with NM State putting up multiple runs in each of the final two frames. Scoring in the bottom of the seventh opened with a one-out RBI single from Logan Bottrell that put the Aggies lead at four runs. Then with runners on the corners, Tristen Carranza knocked a single into left that plated one run. Ehnes followed this up with a double to the gap in left that plated the next run. Peterson closed the scoring in the seventh with a double to right field that brought in two more runs and NM State led 15-7.

The Vaqueros got back on the board in the top of the eighth inning, but could not cut into the Aggies lead by enough. The opposition had men on first and second with one out when a single into left plated one run and the NM State advantage became 15-8.

Then in the bottom half of the eighth, the Crimson & White added a few insurance runs to the lead. This opened with Jimenez recording his most memorable at-bat to date as the freshman led off the frame blasting the first home run of his Aggie career to right field. Then with runners on second and third with one out, a sacrifice fly plated one more to give the home team a nine-run lead into the ninth.

Any hope of a comeback for UTRGV were squashed quickly in the final frame. Reliever Alex Reyes held the Vaqueros scoreless and closed the game with a strikeout to secure the 17-8 series opening win for NM State over UTRGV.

At night’s end, the Aggie offense finished with 17 hits. This was led by Gonzales who went 5-for-6, becoming the second NM State player this season to hit for the cycle, adding two runs batted in and four runs scored, Peterson who went 3-for-5 with four RBI and Jimenez who went 2-for-4 with three RBI and the first home run of his collegiate career.

New Mexico State now gets ready for game two of the weekend series with conference challenger UT Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, May 4, at 2:05 p.m. MT on Presley Askew Field.