MESA, Arizona (KTSM) – New Mexico State Baseball grabbed its biggest win of the 2021-22 season in their opening game of the 2022 WAC Baseball Tournament.
The Aggies grabbed a 3-1 win over Sam Houston State, the No. 1 seed out of the WAC Southwest Division, for a major upset at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona on Wednesday.
Edwin Martinez-Pagani opened up the scoring for the Aggies in the top of the 3rd. A well hit ball by Pagani to right field brought in Gunner Antillon and Cal Villareal from second and third base to score. The hit also gave Pagani enough time to leg out a triple. The Aggies went up 2-0 early on.
On the mound for the Aggies was sophomore Pablo Cortes. The right handed pitcher has been one of the Aggies’ best pitchers this season after transferring to NM State after playing at El Paso Community College.
Cortes was on it all day but caught fire in the 5th as he struck out three of the four batters he faced in the inning. The pitching product out Juarez, Mexico went on and pitched 7.2 innings, allowed seven hits, one earned run, struck out five, and did not allow a single walk.
Cortes would get some more help from his team on the offensive side of things. Tommy Tabak led off the ninth inning with a solo shot to center field to give NM State a 3-1 lead over the Bearkats.
Alex Bustamante came on the mound after Cortes to see if he could finish what the Aggies started. He allowed a pair of singles in the ninth inning but did manage to keep Sam Houston off the board and close out the game for his seventh save of the season.
A team that wasn’t even supposed to be in the WAC Tournament beat one of the top teams in the conference in Sam Houston State.
Per the ESPN+ broadcast, the Aggies grabbed the fourth and final spot from the WAC West Division in the tournament despite being 6th in the division standings because of California Baptist and Dixie State’s transitions to Division I. Both programs are currently undergoing their four-year reclassification process and are ineligible to compete in NCAA postseason play this year.
The Aggies did have to play for the final spot in the tournament bracket against Utah Valley last week and won the series.
The Aggies now move into the winner’s bracket of the WAC Baseball Tournament and will face No. 3 UTRGV on Wednesday at 5 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+ and can be heard on 91.5 KRUX with Adam Young on the call.
Quick Hits (Courtesy: NM State Athletics)
- NM State went 1-2 against UTRGV in a non-conference series at Presley Askew Field.
- Ian Mejia will be the starting pitcher for NM State on Wednesday.
- Cal Villareal led the Aggies with two hits from the leadoff spot in the lineup.
- Pablo Cortes and Alex Bustamante did not allow a walk for the Aggies in the contest.