Las Cruces, N.M. – The NM State baseball team completed the sweep of the Chicago State Cougars Sunday afternoon at Presley Askew Field with a 20-4 victory. This was the second straight sweep of the season for the Aggies and the best start for the baseball team since the 2003 season. The Aggies improve to 7-0 on the season.
"Guys were playing relaxed today and they have settled into their roles very well," head coach Rocky Ward said. "We had a couple little hiccups but that is going to happen. We've worked pretty well through the bad luck baseball can throw at you. After seven game I feel like we are pitching (2.95), batting (.432) and fielding (.976) pretty well and those numbers put you at the top in those categories. It gives us a nice baseline to work from."
Noah Garza got the win for the Aggies on the mound, going four and a third innings, allowing just four runs on eight hits, while striking out four batters. Nate Shaver led the way for the Aggies at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a homerun and three runs scored. Jeffery Farnham also had a great day at the plate hitting 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Wade Reynoso had three hits and four RBI, while Ben Harty went 3-for-6 with three hits and three RBI.
After three quick outs in the top of the first inning, the Aggies wasted no time getting on the board. Nate Shaver stepped to the plate and hit a double to left center to get things started. Jeff Farnham then smacked a single down the left field line to score Shaver from second. The Aggies held a 1-0 lead after the first.
The Cougars answered in the top of the second with two runs on three hits to take a 2-1 lead. Marquez then led off the bottom of the inning with a double off the center field wall. But the Aggie offense could not push him across home plate, as the score remained 2-1 after two innings.
Chicago State could get nothing going in the top of the third as the score stayed the same at 2-1, in favor of the Cougars. Shaver led off the bottom of the inning with a single to right, followed by a single from Farnham. Leo Aguirre was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wade Reynoso hit a sac fly to right to score Shaver and advance Farnham to third. Ben Harty then hit a single to left to score Farnham. With runners on first and second Steven Anderson hit a single to left to load the bases for the second time in the inning. Mike Sodders cracked a double to left to score two more, pushing the Aggie lead to 5-2. The Aggies would strand two runners at second and third but not before scoring four runs in the bottom of the third, taking the lead at 5-2.
A two run double by the Cougars in the top of the fourth pulled Chicago State to within one run at 5-4. In the bottom of the inning, Shaver hit his third homerun of the season to lead off the inning to extend the Aggies’ lead to 6-4. Farnham and Aguirre would reach on walks to put runners at first and second, while Reynoso was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch by the Cougars allowed Farnham to score from third. Harty then ripped a double down the left field line to score Aguirre and Reynoso, giving NM State a commanding 9-4 lead. The Aggies would load the bases again and a sac fly by Stout to left scored Harty from third. The Aggies took a 10-4 lead going into the fifth inning.
Chicago State would threaten to close the scoring gap in the top of the fifth after a double to lead off the inning but relief pitcher Jake Wilson came in and got the Cougars to ground into a double play to end the top half of the inning.
A leadoff single by Farnham and a two run homerun by Reynoso upped the Aggie lead to 12-4, with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Harty then double to left center and Marquez single to left to put runners at the corners. An Anderson sac fly scored Harty from third and the Aggies increased their lead to 13-4 after five full innings.
A double off the left field wall for the Cougars was all Wilson would allow Chicago State in the top of the sixth as the score remained 13-4. The Aggies would add one run to their lead in the bottom of the inning, giving NM State a 10 run cushion after six.
The Aggies would load the bases in the bottom of the seventh before scoring two more runs as the Cougars walked one run in and a single by Chuck Howard scored another to give NM State a 16-4 lead. Max Taylor hit a chopper over the third basemen to score two more for the Aggies. A single to right by Wes Schneinder scored another for NM State to push their lead to 19-4 after seven innings.
Anderson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth and crushed his second homerun of the season to add to the Aggie lead at 20-4. In the top of the ninth Jared Jordan came in and took care of the Cougars to secure the Aggies’ weekend sweep.
The Aggies will be back in action on Tuesday night at Presley Askew Field as they play host to I-25 rival New Mexico. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.