Aggies clobber Lancers, clinch share of WAC regular season title

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The New Mexico State baseball team played host to Western Athletic Conference foe California Baptist in game two of the series on Friday. After putting up 12 runs over two of the first three innings, the Aggies lead was too far out of reach and the team evened up the series taking down the Lancers 18-6 in seven innings.

Each side got on the board in the first inning with California Baptist (34-20, 18-8 WAC) striking first in the top half. The leadoff batter was hit by a pitch to get one runner on and two batters later, the Lancers designated hitter sent a two-run home run to center that put the Aggies behind 2-0.

 

NM State then answered with a moon shot of their own. Joey Ortiz laced a double to left and Tristen Carranza got plunked to put two runners on with two outs for the Crimson & White. Tristan Peterson then stepped in the box and crushed a three-run homer deep in the trees behind the outfield fence to give NM State a 3-2 advantage at the end of one.

 

Both squads then got back on the board in the third. The top half opened with a single up the middle for the opposition before the runner moved into scoring position on an infield groundout. Then with two outs, the Lancers saw a double down the left field line tie the game up at three runs apiece.

 

This tie did not last long, however, as the Aggies put up their highest scoring frame of the contest in the bottom of the third. Logan Bottrell led off the home half with a single up the middle, followed by an Ortiz walk and a Nick Gonzales single to load the bases with no outs, forcing CBU to go to the bullpen. The reliever came in and struggled early with a wild pitch to open, allowing the go-ahead run to score for NM State.

 

Two runners remained in scoring position for Carranza who sent a base knock up the middle to bring in both runs. A single and a walk followed to once again loads the bags and the Lancers brought in their third pitcher of the frame. The new hurler walked the first batter he faced to bring in a run and keep the bases juiced with no outs on the board. An infield grounder saw an errant throw by the CBU third baseman plate one more run and keep the bases full.

 

At this point, the Aggies had gone around the order and Bottrell was back up at the plate to rope a two-RBI single into left. A hit by pitch two batters later loaded the bases once more and Carranza added to his totals with a hit into left field that scored the final two runs of the inning and NM State led 12-3 at the end of the third.

 

After a scoreless fourth, the Crimson & White added to the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Bottrell and Ortiz led off the frame with a pair of singles before an RBI single for Gonzales brought in the first run. Two batters later, Peterson continued his impressive day when he belted a three-run home run over the wall in left to give the Aggies a thirteen-run cushion, 16-3.

California Baptist responded in the top of the sixth, cutting into the NM State lead. Back-to-back base knocks, followed by a hit by pitch loaded the bases for the opposition with no outs. The next batter then laced a single into right to bring in the first run. With the bases still loaded, the Aggies went to the pen to escape the jam. The reliever walked the first batter to score one, followed by a double play that plated the final run for the Lancers, putting the Aggie advantage at 16-6.

 

In the home half of the sixth, the Crimson & White added a couple insurance runs. Another bases loaded situation saw the Lancers call in their sixth reliever of the day. Peterson then added to his gaudy numbers on the day when he sent a single up the middle scoring two runs for an 18-6 lead for the home team into the seventh.

 

That was all the Aggies needed as the top of the seventh saw the Lancers go scoreless to secure the game two victory for the Crimson & White, 18-6. Senior pitcher Justin Dehn (9-3) picked up the win on the mound in his final home start after 5.0 innings of work.

 

At the late, the Aggies recorded 14 hits led by Peterson who went 4-for-5 with two home runs and a season-high eight runs batted in, Carranza added a 2-for-4 day with four RBI and Bottrell went 3-for-5 with three runs scored.

 

With the victory and a loss by conference rival Grand Canyon, the New Mexico State baseball team claimed at least a share of the WAC regular season title and the team looks to earn it outright in the series finale versus California Baptist on Saturday, May 18, at 11:05 a.m. MT, on Presley Askew Field.

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