LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team lost its second-straight game to Chicago State, 8-5, on Friday at Presley Askew Field. The Aggies fall to 19-29 on the season and 10-13 in Western Athletic Conference play while the Cougars are now 17-35 and 5-18 in WAC competition.
Even with the loss, NM State punched its ticket into the WAC Tournament next week after Sacramento State defeated North Dakota earlier in the day.
The Aggies were outhit 14-10 on Friday and committed three errors on the night. Catcher Kevin Carswell, right fielder Michael Paulson and left fielder Joe Koerper each had two hits on the night for NM State. One of Paulson’s hits was his first home run of the season.
Sophomore right-hander Zach Freeman was saddled with the loss after pitching into the sixth and allowing five runs on eight hits. Freeman falls to 3-6.
Chicago State struck first with a run in the fourth and another in the fifth inning to take a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the fifth.
The Aggies, who only had three singles through the first-four innings, rallied to take the lead with three runs in their half of the fifth.
Paulson and first baseman Kris Koerper both reached on walks and advanced a base on a wild pitch. With one out, designated hitter Kyle Kilgore hit a bloop single to right field to score Paulson.
Three batters later Kyle Young came up to pinch hit with the bases loaded and hit a two-run double down the left-field line to give NM State a 3-2 lead after five innings.
The Cougars, however, would wrestle the lead right back with four runs in the top of the sixth. Freeman allowed two singles and a walk to the first-three batters of the inning before being pulled for junior right-hander Riley Barr.
Barr would strike out the first batter he faced, but an Aggie error, a walk and a single would give Chicago State a 6-3 lead after six innings of play.
The Cougars would pad their lead with a run in both the seventh and eighth innings to take an 8-3 lead heading into the NM State portion of the eighth inning.
The Aggies would cut into the Chicago State lead in the bottom of the eighth after Paulson hit his home run. Paulson’s two-run shot over the right-field wall cut the deficit to 8-5.
The next two NM State batters singled, bringing the tying run to the plate with two outs, but Kilgore hit a soft fly to left field to end the inning.
The Aggies could get no closer as NM State went down in order in the final frame.
The Aggies and Cougars conclude their four-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. (MDT) start time with the second game to begin half an hour after game one. The second game will be a seven-inning game and will not count as a conference matchup.
Saturday’s games will also conclude the NM State regular season as the Aggies will celebrate Senior Day. Both games will be aired live over the Las Cruces airwaves on KSNM 570 AM with Jeff Mathews on the call.