NMSU Fall in Season Opener
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  02/02/2007

LAS CRUCES, N.M.-Junior centerfielder Ari Loiben went 3-of-4 at the plate, but that wasn’t enough to bring in a win for the New Mexico State baseball team in the season opener against Northern Colorado, as the Aggies lost 9-1 on Friday, Feb. 2 at Presley Askew Field.

Loiben (Waco, Texas) also had the Aggies lone RBI which came in the third inning when he brought in catcher Joe Leghorn (Victoria, B.C.).

Head coach Rocky Ward was disappointed in the Aggie pitching staff as they gave up eight earned runs on the day. However, senior Jason Conner (Las Cruces, Mayfield HS) started the game and came up with six strikeouts while walking one and giving up only one earned run.

“The bottom line is that we didn’t pitch well enough in the middle of the game to deserve the win today,” Ward said. “That’s still the Achilles heel of NMSU baseball. Guys have to go to the mound and expect to walk guys or hit guys and want to get out of those kinds of innings without giving up runs.”

Northern Colorado scored one run in the second off a Adam Symons (Aurora, Colo.) single up the middle. They would then score two more runs in the third when Grady Gorman hit a double to right center for the two RBI. That was just after the Aggies pulled off a 5-4-3 double play.

The NMSU pitchers hit three batters on the day and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch in the sixth inning. Two more runs would come in the sixth to put the UNC up 8-1.

As for the Northern Colorado pitching staff, they gave up ten hits and walked only two batters. They gave up no earned runs on the day. It was Eric Maydew who got the win for the Golden Bears, pitching five innings with four strikeouts.

“Their kids went to the mound and pitched really well,” Ward said. “They had college stuff out there today and those are the types of guys who can beat you.”

The Aggies didn’t hit the ball well on Friday with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 runners on. The Aggie defense was also a bit rusty in the first game of the season, committing four errors.

“It’s going to take a little bit to get our offense going,” Ward said. “We’re disappointed, but the good thing is that baseball isn’t about a single game. It’s about the series and we’re looking forward to coming out and playing tomorrow.”

The Aggie baseball team will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 3 with the first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on KSNM 570 AM with Jeff Matthews giving the play-by-play. A recap of the game can be found on-line at www.nmstatesports.com.

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