LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team blasted five home runs and beat Texas Pan American 12-2 at Presley Askew Field, Friday, March 28. The Aggies go to 11-11 on the season, while UTPA fell to 8-14.
Catcher Joe Leghorn (Victoria, B.C.) led the way for NMSU with two home runs in the game. Those two were his first two of the season. The Aggies also got bombs from centerfielder Joseph Scaperotta (San Diego, Calif.), right fielder Franky Busani (Mesa, Ariz.) and left fielder Gavin Heinemann (Snohomish, Wash.). Busani was also 2-of-3 on the evening with three RBI and scored twice.
“We produced the way we are able to produce tonight,” head coach Rocky Ward said. “We also got a good outing from out starting pitcher.”
Junior Tyler Sturdevant (Littleton, Colo.) got the start for the Aggies and threw strong for seven complete innings. In his appearance, Sturdevant struck out eight batters, walked two, gave up one earned run and only three hits. The eight strikeouts is a high for any Aggie pitcher this season. He is now 3-2 in 2008 with an ERA of 3.91.
NMSU got off to a hot start when they brought in five runs in the first inning. After the first two Aggie batters got on with walks, the Broncs came up with a double-play and it seemed as if NMSU lost moment. However, as the Aggies have done in the past, five Aggies crossed the plate with two outs.
First baseman Chris Auten (Agovra Hills, Calif.) would come to the plate and hit a double to right-centerfield for an RBI, which was followed by a Colin Crouthamel (Elma, Wash.) single up the middle for another RBI. Busani then got on base with a single to advance Crouthamel and both would score when Heinemann hit a three-run blast over the centerfield wall.
UTPA squeezed the lead to 5-2 in the top of the second, but the Aggies put up another run in the bottom of the inning when Scaperotta hit a solo shot to centerfield.
Leghorn hit a two run homer in the third to give his team a 7-2 lead that was followed by Busani’s three run home run in the fourth. Leghorn would get his second bomb of the night in the fifth with a rocket shot just inside the right field foul pole to give NMSU a 12-2 lead.
Reliever Jeremy Joustra (Sparks, Wash.) came into the game in the eighth to finish off the Broncs. He threw just five pitches in the eighth and faced only six batter in his two innings of work.
The Aggies will play game two of the series at Presley Askew Field, Saturday, March 29 with the first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on KSNM AM 570 with Jeff Matthews giving the play-by-play action.