PHOENIX – The New Mexico State baseball team got a great outing from starting pitcher Billy Conard and after some tempers were raised in the seventh, the Aggies pulled off a 2-1 road win over Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz., Saturday, April 26. NM State moves to 17-21 overall and 8-6 in Western Athletic Conference play, while GCU falls to 22-18 and 11-6 in league play.
Grand Canyon scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first before the Aggies eventually tied the game 1-1 in the top of the fifth after collecting three straight two-out singles. Senior outfielder was the Aggie who tallied the RBI, his 22nd of the year.
The Aggies had a chance to score in the top of the sixth but an NM State base runner was thrown out at home to end the inning. The Aggies returned the favor by getting a GCU runner at home for the third out of the seventh inning. That GCU player doubled with two outs and tried to score on a single to left field two batters later but was called out at the plate as the game remained tied.
The Aggies threatened again in the eighth with three consecutive one-out hits, but a nice play by the ‘Lopes right fielder to get an out at third secured the scoreless frame for GCU. However, the Aggies were able to push a run across in the top of the ninth after a leadoff double eventually came around to score on a two-out single to left field. Junior outfielder Michael Paulson earned a hit at the right time to pick up the winning RBI. He has now picked up a hit in eight straight games and has reached base safely in 12 consecutive games. Medina, who was 2-of-3 on the evening has now reached base safely in 14 straight games.
“I am really proud of the kids,” said head coach Rocky Ward. “It was a great outing by Billy [Conard]. He walks one and strikes out six and does an outstanding job for us, even though he didn’t get the win.”
Right hander Billy Conard worked 6.2 innings and struck out six batters allowing just one run to score. Relief pitcher Riley Barr earned the win and is now 5-1 on the year after entering the game to work 2.0 inning, giving up just one hit.
The Aggies face GCU in the rubber match, Sunday, April 27 at 1:30 p.m. (MT) with radio coverage on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces.