Las Cruces, NM — The New Mexico State baseball team kicked off Western Athletic Conference play with a 9-4 loss to Texas-Pan American Friday night at Edinburg Baseball Stadium.
The Aggies fall to 8-13 on the season and begin conference play at 0-1. The Broncs, meanwhile, improve to 11-13 and win their inaugural game as part of the WAC.
NM State only allowed six UTPA hits on the night while marking eight of its own. In fact, the Aggies held the Broncs scoreless and hitless in seven of the nine innings, as UTPA scored all of its runs and marked all its hits in the fourth and fifth innings.
Senior Michael Medina and junior Michael Paulson each had two hits on Friday to lead the Aggies. Medina also marked three RBIs on the night, all with one swing as the NM State right fielder hit a three-run triple in the seventh inning.
Aggie starter Chris Bradley did not allow a hit through the first-three innings but struggled during the next two innings en route to picking up the loss. Bradley pitched into the fifth allowing five runs on four hits to fall to 1-3 on the season.
Broncs’ pitcher Sam Street matched Bradley through the first three innings as neither team could collect a hit. In fact, Street would not allow a runner through three innings as he went into the fourth with a perfect game. The UTPA ace would put the Aggies down in order a total of five times as he went the distance to stay perfect at 6-0.
The first hit of the game, however, came off of Street as Medina started the top of the fourth with a single. NM State sophomore Kent Blackstone followed with a bunt single and after third baseman Derek Umphres was hit by a pitch, the Aggies had the bases loaded with nobody out.
Unfortunately for NM State, the bases would remain loaded and no runs would score as the next three batters could not come through. A Paulson flyout to center field ended the inning with no harm done.
UTPA got its first hit in the bottom half of the fourth. Unlike the Aggies, however, the Broncs would score two runs after starting the inning with consecutive doubles. UTPA led 2-0 after four innings.
The two runs in the fourth would be followed by a breakout seven-run inning for the Broncs in the fifth. Bradley started the inning by hitting the first batter, allowing a double to the second and walking the third before being pulled for right-hander Riley Barr.
Barr faced three batters, allowing a run on a hit batsman, but also marking the first-two outs of the inning. NM State’s third pitcher, Matt Moriarity, didn’t fair that well as he hit two batters and allowed two hits including a three-run double. UTPA scored seven runs in the inning to take a commanding 9-0 lead after five innings.
The Aggies did all of their damage in the seventh, scoring their four runs on four hits, with the big hit coming off of Medina’s bases-loaded triple. It wasn’t nearly enough, however, as NM State could not get any closer. The Aggies got two runners on base during each of the final two innings but could not get a run across the plate.
The two teams play game two of the three-game series on Saturday, March 22, at Edinburg Baseball Stadium. Gametime is set for 5 p.m. (MDT) with radio coverage in the Las Cruces area on KSNM 570 AM.