MESA, Ariz. –The No. 6 seeded New Mexico State baseball team had an 8-1 lead heading into the sixth inning but struggled in the last four innings of play and fell 11-10 to No. 3 seed Utah Valley on Wednesday, May 21 at Cubs Park in Mesa, Ariz., during the first day of the 2014 Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
NM State falls to 21-30 on the year after the loss and Utah Valley improves to 26-28 overall. Starting pitcher Christopher Bradley was given a no-decision after working 5.0 innings, giving up four runs, allowing nine walks and four runs to score while also posting four strikeouts. Relief-right hand pitcher Riley Barr was credited with the loss as he entered the game with an 8-7 lead but gave up four runs and the lead. Relief pitcher Tory Ulibarri was credited with the win for Utah Valley and is 1-0 on the year.
Senior right fielder and lead-off hitter Michael Medina had the best offensive day for the Aggies going 3-of-4 at the plate with two walks, an RBI and three runs scored. Sophomore Derick Umphres, who just missed a ball that could have given the Aggies the lead in the ninth, also had a three-hit day, his fourth of the year, going 3-of-5 with a run scored and two RBI.
The Aggies scored four runs in the top of the first inning, which was the first time NM State scored in the first inning of a WAC Tournament game since it did it against Nevada in 2011, to take a 4-0 lead. Media started the inning and the game with a lead-off double to right field to get the NM State bats going and after he and three other Aggies crossed the plate, the Crimson & White enjoyed its first lead of the day.
NM State scored another run in the top of the second when Umphres hit a single through the left side to score Jory Goldstrom, who got on with a walk. UVU scored a run in the bottom of the inning making it a 5-1 game in favor of the Aggies before a scoreless third. The Aggies got two more runs up on the board in the top of the fourth with Medina scoring on a wild pitch after he got aboard with a walk. Umphres tallied his second RBI of the evening on a double to left-center field.
Another run in the top of the fifth on an RBI single up the middle by Medina gave the Aggies an 8-1 lead heading into the sixth but that’s where the momentum seemed to shift towards the side of Utah Valley. The Wolverines pulled to within one run at 8-7 after scoring six runs on four hits, three walks and three wild pitches in the bottom of the sixth. Two of the three walks came with the first two batters coming to the plate.
Neither team scored in the seventh and NM State seemed to take a comfortable 10-7 lead after crossing the plate with on one run going up on the board on an RBI single by senior Michael Paulson and the other run being posted on a passed ball to bring Paulson in. Those two runs weren’t enough insurance for the Aggies as UVU scored four runs on four hits, an error and a lead-off walk to go up 11-10, which would be the final of the game.
The Aggies are still searching for their first win during a WAC Tournament that is held in Mesa will try to get that win when they take on No. 5 seed Seattle U, Thursday, May 22 at 12 p.m. (MT) with radio coverage in Las Cruces on KGRT AM 570. In-game score updates are available on Twitter @NMStateAggies and live stats can be found online at www.NMStateSports.com.