Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team (5-27-1, 2-10-1 WAC) combined a strong pitching performance from senior Billy Conard with an offensive explosion to defeat Grand Canyon (21-17, 10-2 WAC) 12-2 in seven innings during game one of a three-game Western Athletic Conference series at Presley Askew Field.
A crowd of just under 1,000 Aggie fans saw right-hander Conard work all seven innings for the first complete game for any NM State hurler this season. He finished the night with five strikeouts while giving up only one walk and two runs. Conard had great run support from his offense has the Aggie bats finished the night with 12 runs on 12 hits. Conard is now 3-4 on the season and has a team-high 35 strikeouts on the year.
The Aggies started the game on fire posting five runs on six hits that included a grand slam from junior catcher Brent Hermanussen. Sophomore lead-off hitter Daniel Johnson started the inning with a lead-off walk and the next three NM State hitters followed that up with consecutive singles before Hermanussen cleared the bases.
NM State was held scoreless in the second inning but scored at least one run in every other inning. The Aggies took a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when designated hitter Cameron Haskins blasted a lead-off home run, his team-leading fourth homer of the season.
The Aggies scored another run in the fourth on an RBI single by junior outfield Joseph Koerper, who finished the night going 2-of-4 from the plate with two RBI and one run scored.
After GCU cut the Aggie lead to 7-1 in the top of the fifth, the Aggie offense responded scoring another two runs on one hit and one costly error. Shortstop Lincoln Herendeen tallied two RBI when he hit a double to right field giving his team a 9-1 lead. NM State took advantage of a lead-off walk by senior Quinnton Mack in the bottom of the sixth that lead to a stolen base and eventually another run. The run came in on a throwing error by GCU third baseman.
The Lopes were able to get another run in the top of the seventh but the Aggies scored two in the bottom the seventh with Mack bringing the final run on a double to right-centerfield. Mack ended the night going 3-of-4 from the dish with a double, an RBI, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored.
The win snapped a 12-game losing streak that began back on March 22.
NM State and the Lopes meet in game two of the series on Saturday, April 18 with first pitch set for 6 p.m. (MT) at Presley Askew Field. The game can be heard on radio in Las Cruces on KRUX 91.5 FM.