The New Mexico State baseball team closed out its four-game road swing with the final away contest of the regular season versus 2018 College World Series qualifier Washington on Monday night at Husky Ballpark. After carrying a tie ballgame into the fifth, the Aggies fell behind following a five-run bottom half and could not mount a comeback losing to the Huskies 10-7.
Each side got on the board in the first inning to open the scoring with NM State (36-13) striking first. The team had successful plate appearances against Washington (28-19) starter Cole Galvagno who made his first collegiate outing on the mound. Joey Ortiz produced the first hit with a double down the left field line; followed by a Nick Gonzales base knock and a Tristen Carranza walk to load the bases. A base on balls to Logan Ehnes in the next at-bat then brought in the first run. This forced the Huskies to make an early pitching change to get out of the top of the first with the Aggies leading 1-0.
Then in the bottom half of the first, the home team responded to put the Crimson & White behind. Runners stood on first and second with no outs when a single to centerfield plated the first run for UW. This left two men on and the next Husky batter sent a three-run home run over the wall in left. The scoring went on to close in the first inning with a sacrifice fly that put NM State down 5-1.
In the top of the second, the Aggies looked to cut into this deficit. Eric Mingus was the first runner on drawing a leadoff walk before an Ortiz single up the middle moved a man into scoring position with two outs. Gonzales brought one run in with a single to right center in the following at-bat and the Crimson & White trailed 5-2.
Washington threatened in the bottom of the third with two runners in scoring position when a grounder to third saw Mingus and Bush get the lead runner out on a rundown that again left runners on second and third. A walk followed to load the bases for the opposition, but Aggie reliever Andrew Edwards got out of the jam with the strikeout to close the scoreless frame.
This three-run deficit for NM State was erased in the fourth inning. The top half saw the first two batters reach base before Logan Bottrell moved them into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Ortiz then scored both runners with a triple down the right field line. This three-bagger set a pair of records as the junior became the program’s single-season triples record-holder with 10 and career triples holder with 18. The record-setter then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game up at five runs apiece.
A few more tallies were then put up on the board for UW in the bottom of the fifth. A one-out walk, followed by a wild pitch put a Husky runner in scoring position. The next at-bat saw a double down the right field line bring in the first run of the frame. This forced the Aggies to go to the pen but the new reliever walked back-to-back batters to loads the bases and then plunk a batter to score bring the next run across the plate putting NM State behind by two with the bags still juiced.
Two more runs then crossed the plate for the Huskies off a double into the gap in left that still left two runners in scoring position and the Aggies made their third pitching change of the half inning. The new hurler then walked the first batter he faced that again loaded the bases before plunking the next man to bring another Husky home for a 10-5 NM State deficit at the end of five innings.
NM State looked to chip away at the Washington lead in the top half of the eighth. Back-to-back singles from Tristan Peterson and Kevin Jimenez led off the frame to get two runners on. Mingus then roped a base knock down the line in right that scored one run and the Aggies trailed 10-6.
Run production for the Crimson & White continued in the ninth as the team looked to climb back into the game. An Ortiz base on balls opened the frame before Gonzales put runners on the corners with a single into right field. A runner stood 90 feet from home plate for Carranza who brought the man in with a sacrifice fly into the opposite field putting the score at 10-7. This was the closest the Aggies would get; however, as no more runs were put up on the board and NM State fell in the road contest at Washington.
The New Mexico State baseball team now return home for the final regular season series looking to hold onto first place in the Western Athletic Conference as the team takes on the second-ranked California Baptist Lancers, May 16-18, at Presley Askew Field.