LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State got 18 hits and three home runs as the Aggies hammered league-leading Hawai’i, 20-9 in seven innings to take the final game of the series Sunday at Presley Askew Field in WAC baseball action. The win gives NM State a series split with UH and jumps its record up to 34-10 overall and 9-7 in league play while the Rainbow’s fall to 26-16, 9-6 WAC.
Four different Aggies drove in multiple runs Sunday, with junior first baseman Ben Harty and junior third baseman Wade Reynoso leading the way with five runs driven in apiece. Harty went 2-for-4 in the box and Reynoso went 3-for-5 with two of NM State’s four doubles. Both of Harty’s hits were home runs to push his season homer total to 15 and move him momentarily into the top four in that category in the WAC.
Senor shortstop Bryan Marquez had a perfect day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with four RBI, a double and four runs scored. Designated hitter Mike Sodders was the fourth Aggie with multiple runs driven in. He went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and one run scored. Nate Shaver hit the Aggies’ third homer of the game in the sixth inning.
Senior right-handed pitcher Sebastien Vendette recorded his sixth win (6-1) Sunday. He pitched six innings, gave up seven hits and four earned runs with seven strikeouts. The Aggies were blowing out UH when he exited the game and four of the Rainbow’s runs came in the top of the seventh when the Aggies already had a sizeable lead.
Hawai’i used five different pitchers that gave up 16 earned runs and they committed two errors in the field. Starter Alex Capaul recorded the loss to give him a 1-3 record on the year.
Head coach Rocky Ward said that this was a very important win for his ball club.
“This puts us back a half game behind Hawai’i for the league lead,” Ward said. “This baseball team keeps bouncing back and we are very talented. We’ve got 12 games left and we’re just trying to prepare our team the best way to be playing at our best in Hawai’i for the conference tournament.”
UH stranded seven runners in the game, four of which came in the first two innings. Vendette was able to get himself out of early trouble to keep Hawai’i at bay.
The Rainbow’s had four base runners in the first inning, but only scored one run as they left the bases loaded. Centerfielder Kolten Wong drove in the only run on a single up the middle, but Vendette made up for a pair of walks and a hit batter when he got Jeffrey Van Doornum to ground out to kill their chances.
The Aggies answered back with four runs in the bottom half. Marquez drove in catcher Jeffrey Farnham with a grounder through the right side and two batters later Harty hit the three-run fly over the right field wall.
NM State added six more runs in the bottom of the second off of four hits and two walks. Two of those hits were doubles and the Aggies batted around the order in the inning. Reynoso drove in three of the runs on a double off the right field wall and Farnham, Marquez and Sodders all drove in runs.
Hawai’i got three runs back in the third, only two of which were earned, but NM State scored six runs in the fourth off six hits with one error. Marquez drove in two of the runs with his fourth hit on the day, as he doubled this time to center to bring in Farnham and Shaver.
Harty smacked his second homer of the game in the fifth, this time it was a solo shot to center and Shaver hit the third Aggie homer in the sixth with a hard liner to right-center to put New Mexico State up 18-5. The Aggies added two more runs in the sixth.
Vendette exited after six innings and Hawai’i answered back with four runs in the seventh frame.
Daniel Reyes came in with one out in the seventh to end the game for the Aggies with the run rule.
New Mexico State is back in action next weekend, May 1-3, at Presley Askew Field for a four-game series with Houston Baptist. Game one begins Friday, May 1 at 6:05 p.m.