PHOENIX, Ariz. – The nightmare start to the 2023 season continued for NM State in Phoenix over the weekend. Sunday’s contest was close until the Grand Canyon exploded for six runs in the eighth inning. The Aggies refused to go down quietly, scoring four runs in the ninth, but came up short as GCU claimed an 11-7 victory to complete the sweep.
After back-to-back singles from Keith Jones II and Edwin Martinez-PaganiKevin Jimenez opened the scoring in the third inning with his first double of the season. Jimenez snuck a two-bagger inside the left field line, scoring a pair.
An inning later, GCU took the lead with a three-run frame. The third inning was powered by a two-run home run off of the bat of Zack Yorke.
Christian Perez re-tied the game in the sixth inning with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Jimenez. The RBI was the first of Perez’s Division I career.
Throughout the seventh and eighth innings, Grand Canyon managed to shake down the NM State bullpen for eight runs to break the game wide open. The Lopes cashed in for a pair of runs in the seventh before pushing six runs across in the eighth inning.
In the ninth, Jones II got things started with a double, with Martinez-Pagani bringing him home on a single. As a pinch-hitter, Logan Gallina took a pitch to the leg to bring up Jimenez, who reached first on a fielder’s choice. Nick Gore drew a walk to load the bases as NM State refused to go down without a fight.
Following a fly out to shallow left field, Perez once again stepped to the dish. Down to his final strike, Perez ripped a single back through the middle to score Jimenez and Martinez-Pagani. On the very next pitch, Damone Hale singled to left field to plate Gore. Unfortunately, the heroics drew to a close when a groundout to second base closed the game.
NM State
Quick Hits
·      Five Aggies – Edwin Martinez-PaganiKevin JimenezChristian PerezDamone Hale, and Keith Jones II – all recorded multi-hit games for NM State.
·      The NM State pitching staff struck out just one hitter on Sunday as Sakemi Sato fanned Tyler Wilson.
·      The Aggies fall to 0-3 in the conference season
·      With 18 total runs, Sunday’s contest was the second-highest scoring affair for the season, trailing just a 10-9 extra inning contest against Bellarmine.