STEPHENVILLE, Texas – As Nuke Laloose said in Major League, “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains.” The latter two were the case for NM State on Saturday as the Aggies dropped both ends of a soggy doubleheader to Tarleton. After outslugging the Aggies in the opening game, the Texans found a way to win a pitchers duel in the night cap.
After three scoreless innings from Noah Estrella, the Aggies finally cracked into the scoring column in a big way in the top of the fourth inning. After Kevin Jimenez’s 52nd career double, Christian Perez opened the scoring with an RBI single. Quickly after, Logan Gallina launched a home run into the trees beyond the right-center wall. Two batters later, Damone Hale ripped a run-scoring triple down the right field line, scoring Mitch Namie.
After that, though, it was all Texans. Tarleton scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game before taking the lead on a four-run fifth.
NM State plated a run in both the fifth and sixth innings to keep the game close but could not retake the lead. Both Nick Gore and Keith Jones II lifted sacrifice flies
As a pinch-hitter leading off the ninth, Edwin Martinez-Pagani launched a home run to right field to bring NM State back within a pair. Bak-to-back walks from Jones II and Funke put a pair of runners on baseball before Jimenez singled to juice the bags.
With nobody out, the Texans turned to Zane Badmaev to escape the crucial jam. Badmaev induced a foul out, a strikeout, and a fly out to end the ballgame and secure the series victory for Tarleton.
Game One – Quick Hits
- Kevin Jimenez moved into second place on NM State’s all-time doubles list with his 52nd career two-bagger in the fourth inning.
- Logan Gallina lifted his fifth home run of the season in the fourth inning.
- Edwin Martinez-Pagani’s ninth inning home run was his second of the season.
- Will Sierra took the loss for NM State, falling to 1-2 on the year.
- The Aggies’ ninth inning was the only time with team loaded the bases
- As a team, the Aggies continued to struggle with two outs, going just 1-9 (.111) in the ballgame.
A 46-minute rain delay in the bottom of the first inning could not deter the Aggies and Texans from finishing the doubleheader. Tarleon pushed a run across before the delay but Tyler Hoeft needed just one pitch following the break to record the final out.
The Aggies were held hitless until the sixth inning when Keith Jones II led off the frame with a dounle. Nonetheless, NM State pushed a run across in the fourth inning to cut into the deficit. After drawing a walk, Kevin Jimenez scored from first base on a throwing error by Tarleton’s first baseman. Following Jones’ double, Nolan Funke followed suit with an RBI two-bagger of his own, bringing NM State back within a run.
The pair of two-baggers were the only two hits the Aggie offense could muster on Saturday night. NM State got seven additional baserunners via the walk or hit by pitch, highlighted by three free passes by Jones II. With three walks and the double, Jones II reached base all in all four of his plate appearances.
Matthew Maloney was phenomenal out of the bullpen for NM State. Before exiting in the ninth inning, Maloney worked 3.1 scoreless, hitless innings, striking out three along the way. Hayden Johns recorded the final out of the evening for the Aggies, retiring the lone batter he faced.
Trailing by a run late in the ballgame, NM State saw the tying run reach scoring position in each of the final two innings. In the eighth, Jones II drew a walk, stole second base, and advanced to third before being stranded 90 feet away. With two away in the ninth inning, Romeo Ballesteros entered as a pinch-runner and stole second base before the game ended on a strikeout.
The Aggies will return to Las Cruces to square off with OUAZ on Tuesday morning. First pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. MT in the midweek tilt. Earlier this season, NM State thrashed OUAZ 23-2 at Presley Askew Field, powered by seven home runs.
Game Two – Quick Hits
- NM State was held to just two hits – Both of which were doubles coming in the sixth inning.
- Maloney did not allow a hit or run in 3.1 innings of work.
- The 46-minute rain delay in the first inning was the first of the season for NM State.
- The tying run reached scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings
- Originally scheduled for Sunday, the contest was moved to a doubleheader due to projected rainfall tomorrow.
- After 16 runs in the day game, the two teams combined for just five runs in the night cap.