LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The defending WAC Tournament champions are suddenly red-hot.
New Mexico State wrapped up a three-game set with Stephen F. Austin with a 12-6 victory on Sunday, their fourth consecutive win. With the win, the Aggies picked up their first sweep since February 25-27, 2022 and the first in conference play since March 19-21, 2021.
Out of the bullpen, Aaron Treloar picked up his second win of the weekend, tossing 1.1 spotless innings. Treloar entered in relief of Noah Estrella, who made his first start of the season on Sunday. Working 2.2 innings, Estrella fanned a season-high five hitters.
After SFA opened with a run in the first, the Aggies once again answered with an explosive inning. After three straight hitters drew walks to open the Aggies first inning, Nolan Funke continued his tremendous week with a grand slam to left field. After a walk to Christian Perez, SFA went to the bullpen as NM State chased the ‘Jacks starter from the ballgame before he could record an out.
The ’Jacks answered with a run in the second and three in the third to take a 5-4 lead over the Aggies. In the bottom half of the third, Damone Hale knotted the game at five with a blast to left field – His second of the season.
NM State tacked on five more unanswered runs between the fourth and fifth innings to take a 10-5 lead over SFA. Run scoring singles from Funke, Nick Gore, and Kevin Jimenez helped create the cushion as interim head coach Keith Zuniga relied on a strong effort from his bullpen to close out the series.
With a combined 6.1 innings pitched, the bullpen allowed just one run in the finale. Scoreless efforts from Aaron Treloar, Hayden Walker, Sakemi Sato, Kade Benavidez and Tyler Hoeft but a strong sense of momentum heading into the back end of the season.
Gore added a pair of insurance runs with a two-run home run to left field in the eighth inning, pushing NM State’s lead to 12-6. Hoeft closed out the ballgame in the ninth, securing the series sweep and the Aggies’ fourth straight conference victory.
The Aggies will return to action on Tuesday at home against rival New Mexico at 6 p.m. in Las Cruces.