LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State baseball team used a big second inning and held the momentum from that point on to defeat Utah Valley 11-3 at Presley Askew Field, Saturday, May 3. The Aggies move to 18-24 on the year and 9-8 in Western Athletic Conference play while UVU falls to 20-24 overall and 12-8 in WAC play.
The Aggies fell behind 1-0 after one inning of play but scored six runs in the bottom of the second to jump out on top while never losing the lead. Starting pitcher Billy Conard earned the win and is now 3-3 on the year after working 7.1innings and picking up seven strikeouts while giving up only two walks and three runs. The NM State offense gave the run support needed to get the win scoring 11 runs on 12 hits and three Utah Valley errors.
“We needed to have a good outing tonight and the offense really made things easy with the guys coming out huge,” said Conard. “It was an overall team effort and a lot of guys made plays tonight.”
The bottom of the second started off with a triple by designated hitter Kyle Kilgore before he scored on a single by left fielder Joseph Koerper. Freshman Chad Ramsey and senior catcher Taylor Noyer each got singles and each player scored while senior outfielder Michael Medina got on with a fielder’s choice before scoring on a two run single by shortstop Kent Blackstone. After a foul-out by the Aggie No. 3 hitter in the lineup, third baseman Derrick Umphres hammered a triple to centerfield before coming in on a Wolverine error. The second inning finished with the Aggies scoring six runs on six hits and two errors while leaving two runners aboard.
After a scoreless third inning UVU crossed the plate twice in the top of the fourth but the Aggies responded scoring once in the bottom of the inning and another four times in the bottom of the fifth. After senior Michael Paulson scored on an RBI single by senior Kristoffer Koerper to make it an 11-3 ballgame, the next 11 Aggie batters were retired.
Aggie left-handed reliever Trey Higginbotham entered the game in the seventh inning to pick up two key outs, including one by strikeout before reliever Matt Stein pitched in the top of the ninth striking out the three Wolverine hitters he faced.
NM State faces UVU in the rubber match, Sunday, May 4 at 1:05 p.m. (MT) with radio coverage on KGRT AM 570.