LAS CRUCES, N.M. (April 28) – The New Mexico State baseball team lost an offensive battle to UT-Arlington, 13-11, on Sunday afternoon at Presley Askew Field. The team’s combined 24 runs came on a combined 32 hits, 18 for Arlington and 14 for NM State.
The Aggies fall to 24-21 on the season while the Mavericks improve to 24-20. NM State now sits at .500, 9-9, in WAC play. Arlington, meanwhile, jumps into a tie for first place in the conference at 12-6.
The top third of the Aggie lineup, right fielder Michael Medina, left fielder Quinnton Mack and catcher Tanner Rust, each went 2-for-4 on the afternoon. Senior center fielder Kyle Phillips also went 2-for-4, including hitting his fifth home run of the season and his second triple. Phillips also scored three runs for NM State.
The Aggies used a total of five pitchers on Sunday. Starting pitcher Christopher Bradley went 2.1 innings while allowing only two hits and striking out three Mavericks. Unfortunately, Bradley had some trouble with his control as he allowed five walks and Arlington’s first four runs.
NM State reliever Casey Collins, who came into the game after senior right-hander Michael Ormseth had relieved Bradley, was saddled with the loss after pitching 1.2 innings and allowing three runs. Collins fell to 4-5 on the season.
Perhaps the best showing by an Aggie pitcher on Sunday was by senior Evan Mott. The right-hander pitched the final three innings for NM State, allowing only one run and striking out a game-high four batters.
The Aggies jumped out to an early 4-0 lead during the bottom half of the second inning. After junior second baseman Jory Goldstrom reached on a single and Phillips reached on an error, NM State first baseman Joseph Koerper hit a shot up the right-center alley that bounced around along the fencing, giving Koerper a two-RBI triple. It was the first triple as an Aggie for the freshman and Las Cruces native.
Koerper would also score when freshman shortstop Kent Blackstone followed up Koerper’s triple with a single through the left side. Blackstone would tally the Aggies’ final run of the inning after an RBI single by Mack brought him home.
Just like the top-third of the NM State lineup, the bottom third, compromised of Phillips, Koerper and Blackstone, also came up big for the Aggies on Sunday, scoring five of the Aggies’ runs while also having a combined four RBIs.
Arlington, however, struck right back in the top half of the third, coming up with four runs of its own and tying the game at four. Bradley gave up four of his five walks in the inning before being pulled for Ormseth.
Phillips put NM State right back on top in the bottom half of the third with his solo shot over the left-field fence.
The Aggies would add a couple more runs in the fourth off of one hit, one hit batsman and a couple of Maverick errors to go up 7-4 after four innings. Unfortunately for NM State, that would be the last time it would see the lead in the ball game.
Arlington came storming back with five runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth off of Aggie relievers to take a 12-7 lead midway through the sixth frame.
Medina led off the bottom half of the inning with a single up the middle and then advanced to third when Rust hit a moon-shot which Maverick right fielder Brent Bollinger lost in the afternoon sun, leaving Medina at third and Rust at second. Medina scored on an RBI ground out by designated hitter Parker Hipp while Rust scored on a double to left field by Aggie third baseman Robert Lecount. The two runs closed the gap to 12-9 heading into the final three innings.
Each team scored one run in the seventh, NM State’s coming after junior Michael Paulson, who had come in for Koerper at first base, hit a sacrifice fly to left field that brought in Phillips, who had led off the inning with a triple.
The Aggies added one more run in the eighth off an RBI single by Lecount that brought in Mack, who had also singled to lead off the inning. Down two heading into the ninth, NM State could get no closer as Maverick reliever Daniel Milliman put down the Aggies in order for his first save of the season, ending the game at 13-11.
NM State continues WAC play with another home weekend series beginning Friday, May 3. The Aggies will face off for three games versus San Jose State. First pitch on Friday at Presley Askew Field is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. (MT).