ST. GEORGE, Utah – New Mexico State (2-14, 1-4 WAC) baseball secured its first win over a division one opponent this season after it beat Utah Tech, 6-2, at Bruce Hurst Field in St. George, Utah on Saturday.
The win also marked NMSU’s first win in league play and first road win this season.
Mitch Namie went 3-5 from the plate and was the Aggies’ first run of the game in the first inning. In the third inning, Kevin Jimenez extended NMSU’s lead after he hit a solo shot to right field. Jimenez’s third homer of the season gave the Aggies a 2-0 early lead.
New Mexico State led 3-0 after four innings of play.
In the fifth inning, Utah Tech got its first run of the game after a homerun to lead off the inning. Later in the inning, Utah Tech would load the bases but didn’t score another run in the frame after Pablo Cortes struck out two and got a ground out to end the inning.
Cortes struck out a career-high eight hitters on the day in five innings pitched on the day. Previously, Cortes had fanned seven against Seattle U on March 12, 2022. Cortes collected his first win of the 2022-23 season.
New Mexico State will now look to win its first series of the season. The Aggies and Utah Tech will play game three of the series on Sunday. First pitch is set for 12:00 p.m. MT. The game will stream on ESPN+.
Game Notes (Courtesy: NM State Athletics)
ST. GEORGE, Utah – For the first time this season, NM State finds itself on the winning side of a conference game. The Aggies took Saturday’s matinee against Utah Tech by a score of 6-2, backed by stellar pitching from Pablo Cortes and Noah Estrella.
Mitch Namie continued his red-hot weekend with another three-hit day on Saturday. After leading off Friday’s game with a home run, Namie kicked off Saturday’s contest with a double to left center. Later in the first inning, Kevin Jimenez would bring home Namie on a hard-hit ball that ricocheted off the second baseman’s glove.
Jimenez would once again make some noise for NM State in the third inning. The senior lifted a no-doubter home run to right field to double the lead. The long ball was the third of the season for Jimenez and the fourteenth of his career.
The fifth inning appeared to be unraveling quickly underneath Cortes. The Trailblazers led off the inning with a solo shot to cut into the deficit. From there, Utah Tech would load the bases before Cortes would use two strikeouts to escape the jam.
Just as was the case in the 2022 WAC Tournament, Cortes was masterful on Saturday in St. George. The Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico native fanned a career-high eight while only allowing four hits.
After Christian Perez and Edwin Martinez-Pagani both reached in the ninth inning, it was evident that the Aggies were looking to tack on insurance runs. Perez scored on a balk before Martinez-Pagani was brought home on a single by Keith Jones II. Stepping to the plate as a pinch-hitter, Nolan Funke came up in a huge way and doubled home Jones II from first.
Out of the bullpen, Estrella was lights out for the Aggies. Estrella absolutely shut down the Trailblazer hitters, allowing just one hits over 3.0 innings to pick up a three-inning save.
The victory checked several “first” boxes for the Aggies this season. First win over a Division I opponent. First road win. First victory in WAC play. The Aggies will look to add another first on Sunday – The first series win of the season. NM State and Utah Tech will play the rubber match on Sunday, beginning at 12:00 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.
- Pablo Cortes struck out a career-high eight hitters on Saturday. Previously, Cortes had fanned seven against Seattle U on March 12, 2022.
- Cortes picked up his first win of the season on Saturday.
- Noah Estrella notched his first save of the season and the first save for an Aggie pitcher.
- Kevin Jimenez’s 48th career double moves him into sole possession of third place in NM State’s career record book.
- With three more hits on Saturday, Mitch Namie now has six hits on the weekend.
- With his pinch-hit double in the ninth inning, Nolan Funke is now 2-2 on the season in pinch-hit opportunities.
- The Aggies are now 2-0 when holding opponents to two runs or fewer.