Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A 10-run third inning combined with a tough outing from the New Mexico State (9-34-1) pitching staff led to 22-8 win over in-state rival New Mexico (24-23) at Presley Askew Field, Tuesday, May 5.
Left fielder Daniel Johnson started the game for the Aggies hitting his first home run of the season and the Lobos tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second. The Aggies took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the second crossing the plate three times on six hits. Catcher Brent Hermanussen, short stop Dan Kennon, centerfielder fielder Jay Sheely, second baseman Kyle Graf, left fielder Daniel Johnson, and first baseman Cameron Haskins each hitting singles to give the offense momentum it needed to pick up the win.
NM State took a 14-1 lead when it posted 10 runs on six hits and two Lobo errors in the bottom of the third. Designated hitter Quinnton Mack opened the offensive onslaught with a single to center field before Hermanussen and third baseman Derek Umphres hit a single and a double respectively. Five different Aggies picked up RBI in the inning including Umprhes, who tallied three after hitting a three-run home run over the right field wall in his second at bat of the inning. Hermanussen also had three RBI when he hit a double to left centerfield.
Neither team scored in the fourth or the fifth inning but NM State was able to take a 16-1 lead scoring two runs on four hits. Three of those hits were singles from the first three batters of the inning and two of them scored when Haskins singled to left field.
The Lobos didn’t give up scoring seven runs on eight hits in the top of the seventh to make it a 16-8 ballgame. The Aggies responded in the bottom of the eight marking six runs on two hits, two errors and three walks to go up by the score of 22-8, which would be the final.
Starting pitcher Zach Freeman didn’t go the required 5.0 innings on the mound to get the win but he did strikeout a season-high seven batters, which ties for the most strikeouts in a game of any Aggie pitcher this season. Freeman worked 4.0 innings giving up just three hits and one run. Reliever Matt Loeffler was given the win after closing out the game, working 2.1 innings without giving up a run.
“I am really proud and happy for the guys tonight. There were a lot of quality at-bats and offensively we did a really good job of using the middle of the field and competing late in the count,” head coach Brian Green said. “Freeman set the tone and gave us an effort we had to have. Trey Gonzales and Matt Loeffler were huge out of the bullpen tonight. It’s a great day to be an Aggie.”
Kyle Graf had the best night of his season going 4-of-5 at the dish with three RBI and two runs scored. He also got on once by being hit by a pitch. Hermanussen was the second Aggie with four hit going 4-of-6 with a double, four RBI and four runs scored while guiding the NM State defense behind the plate. The Aggies finished with a season-high 21 hits against UNM, while the last time they scored at least 20 runs was during a 22-15 win over Chicago State (non-conference game) on May 17, 2014.
NM State returns to action with a three-game series Western Athletic Conference series versus Texas-Pan American at Presley Askew Field starting Friday, May 8. The game starts at 6 p.m. (MT) and tickets can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 575-646-1420 or at the ballpark ticket booth the day of the game. Follow Aggie athletics on Twitter @NMStateAggies and NM State base @NMSU_Baseball.