ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team (19-18) fell 13-6 to in-state rival New Mexico (20-17) on a cold and extremely windy day in Albuquerque, Wednesday, April 17. NM State split the series with the Rio Grande Rivals this year and is now 4-2 against the Lobos in the last two years.
The Aggies opened the game with a solo home run by junior catcher Tanner Rust to take an early 1-0 lead but UNM crossed the plate twice in the bottom of the inning. NM State would not regain the lead again as the Lobos scored two more runs in the bottom of the second to take a 4-1 lead.
Another solo-shot by Rust in the top of the third made it a 4-2 game but UNM scored two more in the bottom of the third going up by the score of 6-2. NM State went into the fifth inning down 7-2 but a two-RBI single by senior Kyle Phillips squeezed the Lobo lead to 7-4.
After the Aggies allowed another two runs to cross the plate in the bottom of the fifth, the NM State offense threatened in the top of the sixth with bases loaded but the no runs would cross the plate. It was the third time in the game the Aggies left the bags full of runners as it also happened in the first and fifth innings.
The Lobos scored two more run in the seventh but a great diving catch by second baseman Kent Blackstone stopped the bleeding. The Aggies were held scoreless in the top of the eighth before the UNM scored two more runs, one off a throwing error by an Aggie pitcher.
Phillips picked up an RBI on a 4-3 groundout and Blackstone marked an RBI on a sacrifice fly to centerfield taking the score to 13-6.
Starting pitcher Robert Kraft was credited with the loss and is 0-1 on the year while UNM pitcher Jake McCasland got the win and is now 1-0 this season. The Aggie defense struggled as it tallied season-high six errors while allowing seven stolen bases. The NM State offense posted 11 hits but left 12 runners on base.
Rust led the Aggies going 2-of-5 at the dish with two homers and sophomore Cameron Haskins was 2-of-2 at the plate with a run scored. Phillips also had a 2-of-5 day batting while he marked a team-high three RBI.
NM State heads back into Western Athletic Conference play taking on Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La. in a three-game series starting Friday, April 19. First pitch on Friday is set for 5:00 p.m. (MT) and airs on the radio in Las Cruces on KSNM AM 570. Both NM State and La. Tech baseball teams are planning to wear Boston Red Sox (replica) hats to honor those affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy.