LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team remained unbeaten during the first weekend of play after sweeping a doubleheader from St. Mary’s (Calif.) on Saturday at Presley Askew Field.
The Aggies, who have won the first three games of the four-game series, started the day by run-ruling the Gaels in game one of the doubleheader. NM State won by the final score of 14-2 after the game was stopped at the end of the seventh inning.
Game two was much closer than the first, but the Aggies scored six runs early and held on to defeat St. Mary’s 8-6.
NM State overpowered the Gaels on both sides of the diamond during game one. The Aggies racked up their 14 runs on 14 hits while the NM State hurlers only allowed five hits.
Senior right-hander Kyle Kilgore only allowed a couple of hits, one in the second and one in the third inning, and held St. Mary’s scoreless in five innings pitched en route to his first victory of the season and his first as an Aggie.
On the offensive side, NM State belted three home runs by three different players. Center fielder Kyle Young, sophomore Ryan Wagner and third baseman Derek Umphres all slammed their first long ball of the season.
After opening the scoring with one run in the first, the Aggies marked five runs in the second to take control of the game. After Wagner singled, Young came up and hit a two-run shot over the right-center field wall.
Five batters later, senior Kris Koerper came up with two runners on and hit a double to right field to bring in two more runs. He finished the game going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Koerper has started off the season with three RBIs in each of his first two games. NM State led 6-0 after a couple of innings.
The Aggies got four more runs in the fourth after three consecutive singles and Wagner’s three-run shot. Umphres closed the NM State scoring with a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth and the Aggie relievers closed out the Gaels in the seventh.
NM State once again got off to a 6-0 lead in game two. As in the first game, the Aggies got a big inning early. This time it was a six-run third inning.
Wagner continued his hot hitting with his second home run of the day, a two-run shot over the right-field wall. Catcher Taylor Noyer added a two-run double in the inning and senior Michael Paulson hit a two-run single.
Aggie starting pitcher Robert Kraft pitched well during his 2014 debut. Kraft held the Gaels scoreless through the first four innings, but was pulled in the fifth after allowing three runs. Kraft ended his day with six strikeouts.
NM State picked up a couple more runs in the bottom half of the fifth as Wagner collected another RBI off a double down the left-field line to make it three RBIs in each of Saturday’s games. The Aggies led 8-3 after five innings.
Right-hander Zach Freeman came in relief for NM State and pitched into the seventh, allowing five hits and striking out five en route to picking up the win for the Aggies.
St. Mary’s tried to mount a comeback during the final two innings, heavily aided by four NM State errors in the final two frames. The Gaels’ comeback came up short, however, as Carlsbad, N.M., native Trey Gonzales got the final three outs for the Aggies to pick up his first save of the season as NM State held on 8-6.
NM State will now go for the four-game sweep on Sunday at Presley Askew Field. The final game of the series is set for a 12:05 p.m. (MT) start and will be broadcast live on KSNM AM 570 with Jeff Mathews on the call. Sunday is also 50-cent hot dog day and kids will also be able to run the bases after the game.