Gonzales hits for cycle, Aggies sweep Iona


LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – It’s Nick Gonzales’ world; we just live in it.

The junior infielder wowed yet again, hitting for the cycle, socking two home runs and carrying the Aggies to an 18-4 series-sweeping win over Iona Sunday afternoon at Presley Askew Field. 

NM State and first-year head coach Mike Kirby are now a perfect 8-0 through their first two four-game sets of the year. The squad is one win shy of matching the best season-opening start (9-0) in program history, which most recently came in 2011.

The Aggies scored early and often. It was none other than Gonzales who delivered the first blow.

He clobbered a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall in his opening at-bat, putting the Aggies ahead, 2-0, in the bottom half of the first.

Staked with a two-run lead headed into the second inning, senior righty Chris Jefferson already had more than enough support. The native of Pearland, Texas, tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out six, to get his second win of the year.

The Aggie offense, meanwhile, had no interest in settling for two runs. NM State tacked on three in the third, four in the fourth and nine more between the sixth and eighth innings.

Gonzales, who doubled in the third, carded five more RBI after the first inning, knocking in runs on a sixth-inning triple, seventh-inning homer and an eighth-inning single. He finished the ballgame 5-for-6 at the plate with seven RBI and five runs scored, accounting for more than half of the Aggies’ 18 total runs.

His single in the eighth completed the cycle, and he became the latest NM State student-athlete to accomplish the feat since he did it for the first time in his career last season against UTRGV (5/3/19).

Seniors Tristan Peterson and Jason Bush also homered in the onslaught, and freshman lefty Sammy Natera tossed a scoreless frame with one strikeout in relief of Jefferson, as the Aggies routed the Gaels, 18-4, to grab their second consecutive series sweep.

On the win
“It was a crazy day here at The ‘Skew. I thank the man upstairs that Nick Gonzales is on my team. I don’t know what to say, but I’m just glad he’s with us.”

On Jefferson’s strong outing
“He had a tremendous week of work. I saw him really getting after his stuff. Throwing about 75 pitches in six innings with some strikeouts. That’s really well done.”

On starting the year 8-0
“It’s not me, it’s the boys. I complimented them after. Sweeps aren’t easy to get. I don’t care who you’re playing. The Aggies have showed up every day with great energy and great effort. We’re having fun, and it’s going our way.”

The Aggies’ first midweek game of the young season is this coming Tuesday. 

NM State travels to Tempe, Ariz., to face #13 Arizona State. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. MT.

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