LAS CRUCES, N.M. – After falling on Friday and Saturday, NM State looked to pick up its first win of the season against Bellarmine on Sunday afternoon. The Aggies and Knights went to extra innings but Bellarmine got the best of NM State, winning 10-9 in 11 innings.
The bats finally came alive for NM State on Sunday afternoon, but the nine-run outburst was not enough. Romeo Ballesteros lifted his first Division I home run I in the loss. Ballesteros was one of three Aggies to drive in multiple runs on Sunday.
NM State jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning when Logan Gallina and Kevin Jimenez plated runs. Gallina lifted a sacrifice fly to left field before Jimenez laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring Keith Jones II. Bellarmine quickly responded with three runs of its own in the top half of the second inning.
The Aggies jumped back in the scoring column in the third frame. Gunner Antillon got things going with a single before Gallina laced a double down the right field line to plate a run. Jimenez picked up his second RBI of the afternoon with a single to left field, scoring Gallina and giving NM State a 4-3 lead.
Bellarmine would add five runs in the fourth and fifth innings, highlighted by a four-run fifth. Will Aubel lifted home runs in back-to-back innings with a solo shot in the fourth before clearing the bases with a three-run blast in the fifth.
Trailing 8-4, NM State began to chip away with runs of their own in the fifth and sixth innings. Gallina’s second double of the day got the Aggies’ fifth inning underway before scampering home on a wild pitch. The following inning, Ballesteros smacked his first home run as an Aggie, bringing NM State back within a pair.
Bellarmine pushed a run across in the eighth inning before the Aggies looked to make a late afternoon comeback. After a pinch-hit single from Nolan Funke, Ballesteros pushed a single through the right side to score reigning WAC Tournament MVP Cal Villareal. Aggie skipper Mike Kirby dialed up a double steal, scoring Funke and bringing NM State back within a run.
In the ninth inning, the Aggies turned to a brotherly connection as Hunter Antillon lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing his brother, Gunner, to come across as the tying run.
Bellarmine finally broke the deadlock and got to Matthew Maloney in the eleventh inning with three consecutive base knocks to open the inning, including an RBI single from Peyton Back. Maloney ended up as the losing pitcher in the contest, despite allowing just three hits over 2.2 innings and striking out three.
- Xaige Lancaster, Romeo Ballesteros, and Hayden Walker each made their first starts for NM State on Sunday.
- Logan Gallina, Kevin Jimenez, and Ballesteros each drove in a pair of runs.
- Gallina doubled twice in the finale against the Knights
- Ballesteros lifted his first home run of the season and first as an Aggie
- The Aggies plated a season-high nine runs in the series finale.
- Sunday’s contest was the first extra-inning game of the season for NM State.
- As a team, NM State drew seven walks.
- The five Aggie pitchers combined to fan 11 Bellarmine hitters.
The Aggies will head to Sugar Land, Texas for three games in the Sugar Land Classic. NM State will battle Lamar, Northwestern State, and Seton Hall at the home of the Sugar Land Space Cowboys.