Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team (6-29-1, 3-11-1 WAC) hammered out 18 hits and a great pitching performance from seniors Riley Barr and Bob Kraft to defeat Grand Canyon (22-18, 11-3) 11-7, Sunday, April 19 at Presley Askew Field.
Right-handed started Barr worked 6.0 innings and gave up three earned runs to pick up his first win of the year while left-hander Kraft finished the game working 3.0 innings striking out two batters two earn his first save of the season. GCU reliever Jaren Drummond was credited with the loss as he gave up the go-ahead run in the fourth inning.
The Aggie offense came alive marking 11 runs on 18 hits with senior centerfielder Quinnton Mack leading the charge going 4-of-5 with three RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored. Senior Joseph Koerper also had a good day at the dish going 2-of-4 blasting a two-run home run in the bottom of the third. It was his third homer of the year.
NM State took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth with junior catcher Brent Hermanussen also hitting a solo shot over the left field wall. It was his fourth home run of the season to tie for the team high.
Grand Canyon scored four runs on three hits and two errors in the top of the fourth and took a 5-4 lead scoring a run in the top of the sixth but the Aggies showed resilience by scoring four runs on four hits and an error in the bottom of the sixth to go up 8-6. After a lead-off ground out in the sixth, the Aggies got runners on with a single, a fielder’s choice and three more consecutive singles to put the pressure on the Lopes, who came into the game with one of the best team-ERA’s in the WAC.
“Riley [Barr] was able to gut it out and Bob [Kraft] came in to finish things off, combined with the way the guys hit the ball today. It was a complete game for us,” head coach Brian Green said. “We were able to have guys come up clutch in a lot of big at-bats and Riley really showed his competitive side today and showed lots of poise.”
The NM State offense added some cushion by scoring three runs on three hits, which included a two-RBI single by second baseman Aaron Duran, to go up 11-5. GCU added two runs in the top of the eighth, and Kraft sat down the Lopes in order in the top of the ninth to close out the game at 11-7.
The Aggies look forward to Tuesday when they take on in-state rival UNM in Albuquerque at 6 p.m. (MT). Radio coverage will be available online free of charge at NMStateSports.com.