The New Mexico State baseball team took on Western Athletic Conference foe CSU Bakersfield in the series finale on Sunday at Presley Askew Field. Trailing by one run in the eighth, the Aggies saw a five-run outbreak lead the team to a 12-8 comeback victory and a 2-1 series win over the Roadrunners.
For the finale, NM State (17-6, 2-1 WAC) had Chance Hroch start on the mound opposite CSU Bakersfield (13-12, 1-2 WAC) southpaw Edgar Barclay. The Roadrunners got going early at the plate in the top of the first. A pair of RBI base knocks put the first runs up on the board as the Crimson & White fell behind 2-0 after the first frame.
Then in the bottom of the first, NM State put up its first run of the ballgame. A walk loaded the bases with two outs and Noah Haupt brought in the Aggies first run on an error at first to cut the oppositions lead in half at 2-1.
In the top of the second, CSUB was able to expand the deficit for the home squad. The Roadrunners has a runner in scoring position when a single to left center plated one more run to put the Aggies behind 3-1 into the third.
NM State was then able to take its first lead of the contest in the bottom half of the third. The scoring opened when Tristan Peterson continued his hot-streak at the plate for the weekend series when he sent a solo home run to center field. Noah Haupt then followed up in the next at-bat with a solo homer to right and the back-to-back shots tied the game up at three apiece.
Two batters later, the Aggies had two runners on with one out. Eric Mingus then stepped to the plate and turned on a ball that was sent over the wall in left for a three-run home run. This third homer of the frame put NM State up 6-3 heading to the fourth inning.
CSU Bakersfield then got going again in the top of the fourth. With two runners on, the Aggies went to the bullpen. The reliever walked the first batter to load the bases and another base on balls followed to bring in a run for the Roadrunners. This forced another pitching change and the new pitcher plunked the first batter he faced to score another run before getting out of the inning with the Crimson & White leading 6-5.
The fifth inning then saw CSUB retake the lead from NM State. With two runners in scoring position and no outs, the Roadrunners saw a single to left score one run to tie the game up at six apiece. This left runners on the corners with no outs and the Aggies again went to the bullpen. The reliever allowed one more run on a fielder’s choice that put NM State behind 7-6. Then in the top of the sixth, the opposition added to its total with a solo home run that put the Aggies deficit at two runs, 8-6.
Looking to get out of the hole, the Aggies put another run up on the board in the bottom half of the sixth. Peterson continued to mash at the plate with a solo home run, his second of the game and fifth of the weekend that saw the opposition’s lead cut to 8-7.
After a scoreless seventh for both sides, NM State looked to mount a comeback in the bottom of the eighth. The Aggies had the bases loaded with one out and Mingus sent a sacrifice fly to right field that scored the game-tying run. CSUB went to the pen and the reliever walked his first batter to load the bases. This saw a two-out, two-strike pitch to Ortiz get sent to the gap in left that cleared the bases to give NM State an 11-8 lead. Nick Gonzales then added an insurance run with an RBI double off the wall in left to put NM State ahead 12-8.
Matthew Munden then came back to the mound in the ninth. The Aggie hurler squashed any hopes of the opposition getting back on the board. The Roadrunners had a man on third with two outs, but Munden registered the final out to secure the 12-8 NM State victory. The final two-inning outing saw Munden earn the first win of his career on the mound.
At the dish NM State recorded 15 hits, led by Peterson who went 3-for-3 with two home runs and two runs batted in, followed by Mingus who had a 3-for-4 day with a homer and four RBI.
The New Mexico State baseball team now remains at home for its next contest when the squad welcomes Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico to Presley Askew Field for a midweek contest on Tuesday, March 26, at 6:05 p.m. MT.