LAS CRUCES, N.M. (April 26) – The New Mexico State baseball team dropped its series opener versus UT-Arlington, 9-5, Friday night at Presley Askew Field. The loss drops the Aggies to 23-20 overall and 8-8 in WAC play. The Mavericks improve to 23-19 and 11-5 in the WAC.
NM State equaled Arlington with 10 hits and had only one error to the Maverick’s two. But while Arlington capitalized on its scoring chances with timely hits, the Aggies struggled with men on base, finishing with a total of nine runners left on base.
NM State’s 1-2 hitters in the lineup, right fielder Michael Medina and second baseman Kent Blackstone, both went 2-for-5 on the night. Medina also finished with two RBIs to lead the Aggies.
On the mound, Aggie right-hander Adam Mott suffered his fourth loss of the season after putting in over six innings of work. Mott, who struck out eight batters while only walking two, now stands at 5-4 for the season.
Arlington quickly jumped out in front with one run in the first inning. The majority of the damage by the Mavericks, however, came during a three-run third inning and a four-run fourth inning that included a three-run shot over the centerfield wall by Maverick catcher Greg McCall.
NM State, meanwhile, could only muster four hits and no runs through the first four innings off of Maverick starter Brad Vachon. Arlington held a commanding 8-0 lead midway through the game.
The Aggies finally broke into the scoring column in the bottom half of the fifth when a double down the left-field line by Medina scored NM State left fielder Quinnton Mack, who had walked and stolen second base to get into scoring position.
Mott, meanwhile, seemed to find his rhythm after allowing the eight early runs, retiring the next eight batters he faced after the McCall home run. He struck out three of the final six batters he faced before being lifted in the seventh for Aggie reliever Trey Higginbotham. Higginbotham worked the final 2.2 innings and did not allow a hit while striking out four.
After trailing 9-1, the Aggies mounted a valiant comeback in the eighth inning. NM State designated hitter Parker Hipp started off the inning by drawing a walk. Third baseman Robert Lecount then proceeded to slam a double down the left-field line to put two Aggies in scoring position. Hipp would score on a throwing error by Maverick second baseman Darien McLemore that also allowed NM State first baseman Michael Paulson to reach first safely. A little dribbler to the pitcher by Aggie center fielder Kyle Phillips would score Lecount. After a single by Mack, second baseman Jory Goldstrom hit an RBI single up the middle to score Paulson. Mack would later score off a ground out by Medina, giving Medina his second RBI of the game.
The four-run eighth for NM State cut the Maverick lead in half. Unfortunately for the Aggies, that would be as close as they would get as Arlington reliever Chase Weaver retired NM State in order in the final inning, ending the game at 9-5.
The Aggies and Mavericks continue their three-game series on Saturday at Presley Askew Field with first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m. The series concludes on Sunday with the final game at 1 p.m.