Courtesy of NMSU
HONOLULU – The New Mexico State baseball (3-15-1) team fought back from a 4-0 deficit scoring six runs in the final two innings to defeat the University of Hawai’i (7-14), 6-5 at Les Murakami Stadium, Thursday, March 19.
The Aggies were down 4-0 and there was one runner on and one out when junior Cameron Haskins came to the plate for his 10th pinch-hit appearance. He blasted his second home run of the year, which flew over the right field wall and landed about 340 feet from home plate, a home run that cut the UH lead in half and gave the Aggies the momentum they needed to put pressure on the Rainbows.
Senior Michael Paulson, who was tonight’s starting pitcher, came to the plate in the top of the ninth with two outs and two strikes on the board to hit a two-RBI single to leftfield tying the game 4-4. After defensive replacement Kyle Graf reached base on a walk to load the bases, nine-hole hitter Dan Kennon hit a single up the middle for two more runs to give the Aggies a 6-4 lead.
The Rainbows posted one more run in the bottom of the ninth and had a runner in scoring position but could not get him across the plate as right-hander Billy Conard forced the final batter of the game to groundout to the Aggie shortstop.
Relief pitcher Matt Stein was given the win although he worked just one-third of an inning retiring the one batter he faced. The win was Stein’s first of the year as he is now 1-0 on the season while Conard got his first save of the year working the ninth inning getting one strikeout to help closeout the game. Paulson finished the night working 4.1 innings giving up two runs.
After a lead-off walk was allowed by the Aggies in the bottom of the third, the Rainbows scored on a double to left-centerfield and again in the same inning on a sacrifice fly. UH scored two more run in the bottom of the sixth taking a 4-0 lead.
The Aggie pitching staff used seven hurlers on the night while UH used three. On the offensive side of the plate, Paulson led the way with a 3-of-4 night with two RBI. Haskins also had two RBI and Kennon had the other two RBI on a 1-of-4 night, although his one hit was the go-ahead hit.
Game two of the series starts at 10:35 p.m. (MT) with live stats available online at www.NMStateSports.com and in-game score updates on Twitter @NMStateAggies and @NMSU_Baseball.