NMSU Baseball Loses To GCU 8-3, Faces Elimination Game Against Sacramento State

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

MESA, AZ - The New Mexico State baseball team took on rival Grand Canyon in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday night at Hohokam Stadium. After taking a lead in the seventh, the Aggies gave up six runs over the final two innings and lost to the Lopes 8-3.

Much like the night prior, the tournament clash for NM State (38-16) opened with some great early pitching. The teams combined to retire the first nine batters of the night before Grand Canyon (36-22) struck first in the bottom of the second.

A leadoff grounder was misplayed for the Lopes to get the first baserunner of the game on. Two batters later, GCU saw a two-run home run sent over the fence in right field that put the Aggies in a 2-0 hole into the third.

This deficit was cut in half in the next frame when NM State got its first run on the board. Eric Mingus led off the top of the third and on a 0-1 count; the third baseman crushed a ball deep onto the berm in left field for a solo home run that put the Aggies deficit at 2-1 that lasted into the seventh.

Aggie starter Chance Hroch continued to cruise with a one-two-three frame in four of his first six innings, including retiring 10-straight GCU batters and compiling 10 strikeouts before the NM State offense got back on the board in the seventh. Mingus led off the frame with a base on balls before a Braden Williams single moved one man into scoring position. Logan Bottrell then brought in the runner from second with a single through the left side to tie the game up at two runs apiece.

After the game-tying base knock, the Crimson & White still had runners on first and second with just one out. Joey Ortiz then did what he was accustomed to and produced in a big moment when he sent an RBI single into the left center that gave NM State its first lead of the day, 3-2, into the bottom of the seventh.

Then in the bottom half, the opposition responded. After the Lopes leadoff batter reached on an error, he then made it to third on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt. The runner was then brought home on a single up the middle to get the game tied up. This was followed by a single through the left side to put two Lopes runners on and a double down the left field line brought in both runs putting the Aggies behind by two runs. Another double into left came in the next at-bat to plate one more and the NM State deficit stood at 6-3 at the end of the seventh.

This hole for the Aggies then grew in the bottom of the eighth. The leadoff batter for the Lopes sent a ball over the wall in left field for a solo home run to put NM State behind by four. Then after a GCU doubles, the Lopes runner was scored on a single to left putting the Aggies down 8-3 into the ninth.

Looking to climb back into the ballgame, NM State would have no such luck stranding one runner and being held scoreless in the final frame to lose the game to GCU, 8-3. Each team tied with 10 hits apiece, but the Aggies totaled three errors by game’s end.

The New Mexico State baseball team now looks to keep its title hopes alive with an elimination game versus Sacramento State at 3 p.m. MT on Saturday, May 25, at Hohokam Stadium.