LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team lost to SIU-Edwardsville, 4-3, in 12 innings on Friday night at Presley Askew Field to fall to 3-2 on the season. The Cougars, meanwhile, pick up their first victory of the season and move to 1-3.
SIU-E scored the final run of the game in the top of the 12th inning on a wild pitch by Aggie reliever Zach Freeman. Freeman came on in relief for NM State starter Chris Bradley and pitched the final six innings. He only allowed five hits and the lone run in the 12th, while striking out six Cougars, but was still saddled with his first loss of the season.
The Aggies could do nothing in their half of the 12th as the game ended on a pop fly by left fielder Michael Paulson who had hit an RBI single earlier in the game to tie the score and send the game into extra innings.
The Cougars struck first, scoring three runs in the top half of the third off of Bradley. The NM State left-hander allowed three walks and three singles in the inning.
Aside from the third inning, Bradley had a good showing during his second start of the season. He pitched six full innings allowing only five hits and three runs, all in the third, while striking out six batters.
NM State could only muster up one hit and one walk through the first five innings off of SIU-E starter Ryan Daniels. The Cougar ace would end up with eight strikeouts in five innings of work.
To the Aggies’ delight, Daniels would not come out to pitch the sixth inning as he was on a pitch count. NM State immediately pounced on Cougar reliever J.D. Williams. After a couple of walks by Williams, sophomore shortstop Kent Blackstone came up and hit an RBI double to center for the Aggies’ first run of the game. NM State would score another run later in the inning to cut the SIU-E lead to 3-2 after six innings.
Still down 3-2 in the eighth inning, NM State tied the game off an RBI single by Paulson. He would end up as the only Aggie with multiple hits in the game. His single brought in senior Kris Koerper who had also singled earlier in the inning.
Neither team could muster up any offense after the eighth inning as the game went into the 12th inning. SIU-E left fielder Nick Lombardo led off the inning with single to right center. He then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a groundout, putting him in position to score the winning run, which he did after Freeman threw a pitch in the dirt that got past Aggie catcher Taylor Noyer.
NM State and SIU-E continue their four-game series on Saturday, Feb. 22, with a day-night doubleheader. The first game is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. (MT) start with the second game to follow about 30 minutes after game one is over. The series finale will be on Sunday, again with a 1:05 p.m. start.