LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State baseball team (33-21, 8-14 WAC) split a series opening doubleheader with Hawai'i (31-22, 16-6 WAC) as each team had a chance to score 14 runs with NM State winning game one 14-5 and falling in game two 14-4 at Presley Askew Field, Thursday, May 19.
The Aggies took game one 14-5 from the Western Athletic Conference leaders as NM State junior Tanner Waite set the tone with hitting his first home run of the season. The Aggie offense produced 17 hits and played clean defense, backing up starter Ryan Beck, who earned win No. 10.
Beck is the first player since 1995 to earn 10 wins in a season after going five innings while picking up six strikeouts and allowing only three of the 24 batters he faced to get on with a walk. He now leads the teams with 69 strikeouts on the year in a team-high 84.2 innings of work.
"We got the first game and that's the good thing," head coach Rocky Ward said. "We move a little closer to getting a birth into the WAC tournament."
The Aggies took the Rainbow starter out after 1.2 innings as NM State posted seven runs in the first two innings of play. Senior Wes Starkes was big at the dish going 3-of-4 with a walk, three RBI and two runs scored. Tanner Rust made his first start at designated hitter and came up big for the Aggies going 3-for-3 with four RBI, a run scored and a stolen base.
"Both games were controlled by the offenses and our offense couldn't come up with the big hit at the right times in game two," Ward said.
Game two saw the Aggies outhit Hawai'i 16-14, but NM State left 14 runners on base and allowed five runs to score on only one hit in the top of the fifth inning. At that time the score was 8-2 in favor of Hawai'i and the Aggies continued to hit the ball hard but three costly wild pitches and an error seemed to deflate any NM State rally.
"I have had teams outhit opponents before and lose a game, but not by 10 runs," Ward said. "We didn't make the plays we needed to make, we left too many runners on and we didn't play clean enough defense. We can't do those things and expect to beat good teams like Hawai'i."
After the Rainbows marked a run in the top of the first, NM State scored a run on a Zach Voight single up the middle and another run on a single down the leftfield line by junior Bryan Karraker. After a scoreless second inning, Hawai'i scored five times on five hits with four of those hits coming from the No. 3, 4, 5, & 6 hitters in the lineup.
NM State allowed two more runs to score in the top of the fourth before the fifth inning which saw three runs cross the plate courtesy of a wild pitch. NM State scored its final two runs of the day in the bottom of the fifth with the game ending 14-4 with the Rainbows on top.
Senior Dan Reid falls to 7-4 on the year after getting the start and going 4.2 innings. Freshman Tim Torsney showed that he can handle extra innings out of the bullpen as he went 4.1 on the mound and allowed only one run on three hits.
NM State continues the four-game series with Hawai'i, Friday, May 20, at Presley Askew Field with first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. (MT).