SUGAR LAND, Texas – Just as was the case throughout opening weekend, strikeouts doomed the NM State offense on Saturday afternoon. Sixteen Aggie hitters were sent down on strikes as Northwestern State secured a 7-3 victory in the Sugar Land Classic.
In his second start of the season for NM State, Tyler Hoeft was also handed his second loss, despite allowing just four runs. Hoeft worked around a leadoff single in the first inning and used a double play started by Xaige Lancaster. Hoeft used three scoreless frames to open the game as the Aggies were cruising into the fourth inning.
NM State got out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning off of a pair of home runs from Gunner Antillon and Logan Gallina. Antillon led off the frame with a solo shot to right field before Gallina went deep two batters later. In the bottom of the fourth, Northwestern State quickly responded with three runs of its own to take a 3-2 lead.
Alan Aguero came on in relief of Hoeft in the fifth inning to make his NM State debut. Aguero gave way to Noah Estrella in the sixth inning, tossing 0.2 innings is his first spot for the crimson and white. Estrella shut down the Demons in the sixth, fanning one.
Kevin Jimenez got in on the home run parade in the seventh inning. On just the second pitch the Northwestern State reliever threw, Jimenez ripped a solo shot to right center and brought NM State back within one. Jimenez’s long ball was just the third hit of the day for the Aggies – All of which were home runs.
The Demons managed to capitalize on a pair of NM State errors in the bottom half of the seventh inning, pushing three runs across. Using three hits and the pair of errors, Northwestern State expanded its lead to four and took a 7-3 advantage into the eighth.
Roman Bracamonte also made his debut as an Aggie on Saturday afternoon, coming in to pitch that eighth inning. Bracamonte needed just three pitches to record his first two outs as a collegiate pitcher. The Nogales, Arizona native worked around an error and a single to finish his first inning with his first collegiate strikeout.
The Aggies refused to go quietly in the ninth. After a Gallina single and a free pass to Jimenez, Brant Voth made his Aggie debut as a pinch-hitter. Voth drew a six-pitch walk to load the bases and forced Northwestern State to turn to Kyle Froehlich. Facing two hitters, Froehlich fanned both, including a strikeout looking to end the ballgame.
Quick Hits
·      With long balls by Logan GallinaGunner Antillon, and Kevin Jimenez, it was the first time the Aggies hit multiple home runs.
·      Antillon’s solo shot was his second home run of the season.
·      Antillon’s home run extended his hitting streak to five games. He is now the lone Aggie to record a hit in every game this season.
·      Jimenez and Gallina both ripped their first home runs of 2023.
·      Gallina was the lone Aggie to record a multi-hit game, marking his second of the young season.
·      Alan Aguero and Roman Bracamonte both made their first appearances for NM State.
·      Christian Perez earned his first start in an Aggie uniform.
·      Brant Voth also saw his first action as an Aggie, entering as a pinch-hitter in the ninth
·      NM State will be back in action on Sunday morning with a 9:00 a.m. MT first pitch against Seton Hall.
·      The Aggies fall to 0-5 on the season.