LAS CRUCES, N.M.-The New Mexico State University baseball team swept Alabama A&M in the double-header on Saturday, March 16, scoring 29 runs by the end of the day.
The Aggies, now 11-10, won game one by a score of 24-4, with 12 of those runs coming in the first inning. In game two, the Aggies shifted gears to a focus on pitching, winning the second game 5-3.
As a team the Aggies scored 24 runs off 21 hits and 11 walks. Eight different Aggies had at least one RBI in the game, and five of those Aggies had multiple RBI's. Right fielder Michael Medina led the Aggies in RBI total for the game, going 2-for-5 with five RBI's. Shortstop Parker Hipp led the Aggies in hits, going 3-for-3 with four RBI's and one homerun. First baseman Robert Lecount joined Hipp in the 4-RBI club, and went 2-for-4 in the game. Designated hitter Michael Paulson also had a good game, going 2-for-3 with three RBI's. Third baseman Derek Umphres had two RBI's and went 2-for-4 in the game.
The Aggie pitching staff went nine strong innings, led by starting pitcher Ryan Beck who allowed three runs off five hits in six innings on route to winning his fourth game. Relief pitcher Kevin Piersol took over in the seventh inning, and fellow relief pitcher Tyler Aguirre took over for the final two innings shut out the game. The Aggie bullpen gave up 0 runs and three hits over the course of three innings.
In game one, the Aggies exploded out of the gate offensively by putting 12 runs on the scoreboard in the first inning. The offensive tear came in response to a strong start by Alabama A&M in the top half of the first inning where the Bulldogs scored four runs off four hits. By the end of the first inning for NM State, the Aggies produced 12 runs off seven hits. By the time Alabama A&M got its first out in the inning, the Aggies had already scored 11 runs. Lecount, Paulson, Umphres and Medina each accounted for two RBI's apiece in the inning.
Hipp contributed with his own two-hit at-bat in the third inning when he singled.
In the fifth inning, catcher Tanner Rust and Hipp produced back-to-back homeruns. NM State finished the game strong towards the end when the Aggies scored five more runs in the seventh inning. Medina had a bases-clearing double to add to his RBI total.
Centerfielder Kyle Phillips had the best game at the plate for the Aggies, going 2-for-2 with one walk.
Starting pitcher Trey Higginbothan had a solid performance on the mound, going five complete innings with seven strikeouts and 0 earned runs off two hits to earn his first win of the season.
In the second game, the Aggies took a small lead in the bottom of the first inning when Rust hit a solo homerun, his second homerun of the day. Alabama A&M tied the game shortly after in the top of the second inning. NM State answered swiftly in the bottom of the second inning when the Aggies scored three runs off five hits, which ended up becoming a scoring gap Alabama A&M would not be able to overcome. All three runs came with two outs.
The Aggies shut down any offensive hopes Alabama A&M had towards the end of the game, only allowing one run over the course of four innings in the shortened 7-inning game.
NM State concludes the 4-game home series against Alabama A&M tomorrow at Presley Askew Field at 1:05 p.m.