LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team put together a five-run inning to pick up their second come from behind victory in as many days against New Orleans at Presley Askew Field in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, Feb. 23.
The Aggies (2-0) were down 7-6 coming into the bottom of the eighth when five different players scored off of some good team offense to win 11-8. Head coach Rocky Ward surprised some people when he bunted a couple of times in the inning to move players into scoring position.
“We were lucky enough that New Orleans made a mistake on the Leghorn bunt to move the runners,” Ward said. “It’s awkward to have one of the best hitters on the team bunt, but Leghorn is also one of the best bunters on the team and we needed to take advantage of that.”
In the eighth junior catcher Jake Hammons (Snohomish, Wash.) got on with a lead off walk. Junior Geoff Downing then came in to pinch run for Hammons as Leghorn came into to pinch hit for freshman Paul Moreno (San Antonio, Texas), who was 1-of-3 with a triple and an RBI on the day.
Leghorn would move Downing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Junior Richard Stout (Boise, Idaho) singled up the middle to get his second RBI of the day and tie the game at eight. Stout had a huge day going 2-for-3 with two RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases.
“Stout’s speed can just disrupt the whole game for an opponent,” Ward said. “Our power guys usually get the attention here, but we have to recognize Stout with his fabulous defense and great base running.”
Senior Marcus Quade (Littleton, Colo.) also came up to bat in the eighth and came up with a sacrifice bunt to advance Stout and Leghorn. Both Stout and Leghorn would score when junior first baseman Chris Auten (Augora Hills, Calif.) hit a single through the left side. Auten had another big day as he was 3-of-5 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored.
Two more runs scored as junior Joseph Scaperotta (San Diego, Calif.) and Auten crossed the plate in the same inning.
Junior Jeremy Joustra (Sparks, Wash.) was credited with the win as he came in during the eighth inning to give up only one run. Junior Heath Goin (Hood River, Ore.) got the start for the NMSU and was able to pitch five strong innings. He struck out one batter and gave up only two walks.
The Aggies put up at least one run in the first five innings with to take a 6-5 run before UNO scored a run in the sixth and the eighth to get their only lead of the game. NMSU was able to overcome the Privateer charge and pick up the win with outstanding defense in the seventh and eighth innings to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
NMSU will finish out the series Sunday, Feb. 24 at Presley Askew Field in Las Cruces. Game time is set for 11:00 a.m. Live stats, a recap and box score of the game will be available at www.nmstatesports.com.