El Paso, TX — The New Mexico State baseball team opened a four-game series Friday afternoon, with a 6-4 win over UC Davis at Dobbins Stadium on the UC Davis campus. The Aggies are now 8-9 on the season, while UC Davis falls to 8-9 on the year.
The win breaks the Aggies’ four-game losing streak, pulling them one game within .500. As a team, the Aggies were out hit by UC Davis, 10-to-13 but were able to cross home plate two more times than their opponent.
"We got an outstanding performance from Chris Bradley today," head coach Rocky Ward said. "He had his best command of the year walking only one. It was good to see Chris get his first win of the year so close to his home town. Today was a good team effort by our offense. We executed the game well throughout the lineup."
Christopher Bradley took the win for NM State, earning his first win of the season. He pitched six and one-third innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, while striking out four batters. Bradley only walked one runner on the night. Riley Barr pitched one and two-thirds of an inning, allowing just one run on three hits, striking out three UC Davis batters. Trey Gonzales got the save, his third of the season, throwing for one inning of action, allowing no runs on one hit, with a strike out.
The Aggie batters were firing on all cylinders Friday night. Kent Blackstone led NM State scoring three runs on 2-for-4 at the plate, also recording a team-high two RBI in the game. Michael Medina and Joseph Koerper also had two hits apiece, while each scoring a run in the game. Kristoffer Koerper, Derek Umphres, Ryan Wagner and Jory Goldstrom also recorded a hit on the night.
NM State quickly got on the scoreboard in the top of the first. The Aggies loaded the bases with just one out. Three singles in the inning, by Medina, Joseph Koerper and Goldstrom allowed NM State to push three runs across home plate in the top half of the inning, giving the Aggies an early 3-0 lead. UC Davis led the bottom half of its inning off with two singles but three straight fly-outs stopped the threat, as NM State held a 3-0 lead after one full inning of play.
Blackstone tripled in the top of the second to give NM State a runner in scoring position with just one out. Umphres then hit a sac fly to right field, allowing Blackstone to score from third. Kristoffer Koerper then grounded out to first base, but not before NM State extended their lead to 4-0 after one and a half innings. Bradley would shut UC Davis down in the top of the inning.
NM State started the third with a single by Joseph Koerper but the next three Aggie batters would record an out, as the score remained 4-0 in favor of NM State after two and half innings. UC Davis put a runner on base with two out in the bottom of the inning but again Bradley’s pitching forced a fly out to end the third.
The Aggies added to their lead in the top of the fourth, scoring one run in the inning. With two outs, Blackstone singled up the middle and then stole second. Umphres stepped to the plate and hit a single to center, allowing Blackstone to score from second. NM State was holding on to a 5-0 lead. Bradley continued to pitch solid for the Aggies in the bottom of the inning, facing four batters, forcing two batters to ground out and striking out one.
Over the next two innings of play, neither NM State nor UC Davis could mustard up any type of offense, as the Aggies continued to lead 5-0 after six innings.
UC Davis final got in the score column in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs on four hits. Only three of the four runs were earned due to a throwing error by the second baseman. Bradley would be relieved by Riley Barr in the inning. After seven innings of play, NM State held on to a 5-3 lead over UC Davis.
Wagner led off the top of the eight for NM State with a double down the right field line. Austin von Blasingame would come in to pinch run for Wagner. He would advance to third on a ground out to the short stop. Taylor Noyer would then flied out to center field, allowing von Blasingame to score from third, giving the Aggies a 6-3 lead with one and a half innings to play in the game.
UC Davis would score one more run in the bottom of the eight to make it 6-4 in favor of NM State but it wasn’t enough. The Aggie defense shut down UC Davis in the bottom of the ninth to win 6-4, as Gonzalez came to the pitcher’s mound for the Aggies to close out the game.