MESA, Ariz. –The No. 6 seeded New Mexico State baseball team defeated No. 2 seeded Texas-Pan American 7-4 at Cubs Park in Mesa, Ariz., Friday, May 23 to stay alive in the 2014 Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
UTPA has been eliminated from the tournament while NM State moves onto another elimination game taking on No. 1 seeded Sacramento State at 4 p.m. (MT) with live coverage on the radio in Las Cruces on KGRT AM 570.
Starting left-handed pitcher Robert Kraft, who will also get the start against Sacramento State, earned the win against the Broncs to move to 4-4 on the year. He went 7.0 innings, striking out three batters and allowing just one walk and three runs. Right-hand relief pitcher Riley Barr worked one inning and right-hand closer Trey Gonsalez wrapped things up for the Aggies throwing in the ninth and marking two K’s while allowing just one run. Barr did not allow any runs and picked up one strikeout.
Catcher Taylor Noyer boosted the Aggie offense in the bottom of the second inning as he cleared the bases blasting a 3-run triple down the right-field line. He finished the game going 2-of-4 with one run scored and four RBI.
Senior outfielder Michael Paulson led things off in the bottom of the third inning by reaching base safely on a UTPA fielding error and eventually scored when outfielder Kyle Young hit an infield single for an RBI.
UTPA got on the board in the top of the fourth and held the Aggies scoreless in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh inning. The Broncs gave NM State a scare when they blasted a two-run blast over the left-field wall to pull to within one at 4-3. The Aggies answered that scare with three runs on one hit and two UTPA errors in the bottom of the eighth, taking a 7-3 lead. Two of the runs crossed the plate when Paulson hit a laser-shot to the second baseman that was called an error.
The Aggies allowed a run in the top of the ninth but that was not enough as the Aggies won their second game in as many days to keep their WAC Tournament title hopes alive.
NM State faces No. 1 Sacramento State at 4 p.m. (MT).