LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – On Saturday afternoon, the NM State baseball team took a trip to Funke town as Nolan Funke ripped a walk-off single in the ninth inning.
The Aggies got out to a 5-0 lead over the first two innings. Logan Gallina started the scoring with a two-run single through the left side to score Gunner Antillon and Kevin Jimenez. Tommy Tabak plated the third run of the opening frame with an RBI groundout, scoring Ryan Grabosch.
After chasing the Hornets’ starting pitcher from the game, the Aggies faced the first of seven relief pitchers they would see on Saturday. The Aggies tacked on two more runs when Jimenez homered to left field – His fourth of the season.
In the third inning, Sacramento State scored three runs to cut the NM State lead to two. Two innings later, the Hornets would use back-to-back home runs to plate four runs in the inning and take a 7-5 lead over the Aggies.
NM State wasted no time retaking the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Grabosch singled through the left side of the infield, scoring Antillon. After Brandon Dieter reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, Logan Gallina converted with a two-run home run to left field.
Another set of back-to-back jacks in the seventh inning put Sacramento State back on top, 9-8. After the stretch, Dieter tied the ballgame once again on a groundout to the third baseman, scoring Antillon for the third time on the day.
Both teams threatened to break the tie in the eighth inning, but neither converted. Alex Bustamante escaped a bases-loaded jam with just one out unscathed, keeping the game at nine apiece. In the NM State half of the frame, the Aggies loaded the bases with one out, but a double play ended the rally attempt.
Bustamante stranded two runners in the ninth inning to once again keep the Hornets at bay. The Aggies saw their first two runners in the bottom half of the ninth go down quietly before Tabak stepped to the plate. The senior outfielder singled up the middle before swiping second base to put pressure on the Sacramento State defense. With Tabak on second base, Nolan Funke bounced a single back up the middle and scored the senior from second for the Aggies first walk-off of the season.
With a series win on the line, NM State and Sacramento State will square off once again on Sunday afternoon, beginning at noon.