Tabak plays hero in Aggies’ walk-off win against Purdue Fort Wayne


LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Three series, three sweeps.

NM State continued its tear through the non-conference portion of its schedule, completing yet another four-game sweep Sunday at Presley Askew Field.

Junior outfielder Tommy Tabak drove home the winning run on a ninth-inning triple to the gap in right center, walking off Purdue Fort Wayne and giving the Aggies a thrilling 10-9 victory.

NM State is now 12-1 overall, matching its best 13-game start in program history. Rocky Ward’s 2009 squad is the only other team in school history to begin a campaign with wins in 12 of its first 13 contests.

Senior pitcher Chris Jefferson was filthy from the start.

The righty worked quickly and efficiently on the mound, needing only 53 pitches to toss seven innings. He struck out a season-high seven and did not issue a walk, allowing just two runs on five hits.

While he silenced Purdue Fort Wayne’s bats, the Aggie offense was pounding away. Tabak’s RBI single up in the middle in the second opened the scoring before NM State tacked on three more in the third.

Junior outfielder Noah Haupt stayed hot, doubling in two runs in the bottom of the third and knocking in senior catcher Jason Bush on a sac fly in the fifth. He finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI.

Junior infielder Zach Smits drove in two with an RBI single to left in the sixth, as the Aggie lead grew to 9-2 by the end of the seventh.

The ‘Dons’ bats, however, came alive when Jefferson’s day was finished. Purdue Fort Wayne tagged NM State’s bullpen for seven runs, tying the game at 9-9 in the top of the ninth.

The adversity was no match for the Aggies, though. Sophomore infielder Austin Duffy was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth, bringing Tabak to the plate with one on and nobody out.

The Calabasas, Calif., native wasted no time sending the Aggie faithful home happy, ripping the first pitch he saw to the alley in right center. His triple scored Duffy from first, securing the 10-9 win and finishing off the series sweep.

On the Aggies sweeping a series for the third time this season
“Every day is a learning process. The guys really work at it every day. If we keep working, maybe we’ll keep winning some games.”

On Purdue Fort Wayne staging a late comeback
“Baseball’s a crazy game. I thought we executed some good pitches, but they went down and got them to tie the game up. It’s a good thing to see how you respond to adversity, and I thought our guys responded well.”

The Aggies are on the road for the next two weekends.

NM State begins an eight-game away stretch with a series at nationally ranked Texas A&M. The three-game set begins at 6:05 p.m. MT Friday, March 6, inside Blue Bell Park in College Station, Texas.

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