The New Mexico State baseball team came up just short against No. 4 Rice on Tuesday afternoon falling 7-5. Early defensive miscues were the story of the game for the Aggies early with Rice scoring all seven runs in the first four innings and four of the runs following defensive mistakes.
After the Aggies took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Zach Voight solo home run, Rice would take the lead in the bottom of the inning as the Owls would put runners on first and third. The third batter of the inning, Craig Manuel, would ground into a double play scoring Christian Stringer from third. Jeremy Rathjen would follow with a solo home run to give Rice a 2-1 lead. Starting pitcher Tyler Mack would give up a single to J.T. Chargois but would get Shane Hoelscher to fly out to end the inning.
The Aggies would tie things up in the second getting back-to-back singles off of starter Chase McDowell. The Owls would go to the bullpen immediately and bring in Taylor Wall. The Aggies would call a double-steal putting the runners on second an third. Following a strikeout from Tanner Rust, Cody Edwards would send a single through the left side to drive in Bryan Karraker from third, however, Kyle Phillips would swing at the first pitch and ground into an inning-ending double play.
Ryan Lewis would lead off the bottom of the inning for the Owls with a single to right field but Michael Ratterree would hit a line shot to Aggie third baseman Robert Lecount who would throw to first for a double play, the second of the game for the Aggies. With two outs, Tyler Mack would get Derek Hamilton to strike out swinging, however, the pitch was a bit inside and bounced off of catcher Zac Fisher and halfway to the Aggie dugout allowing Hamilton to reach first base. Stringer would single to put runners at the corner and the next batter, Michael Fuda, would single to drive in Hamilton giving Rice a 3-2 lead. Mack would get Manuel to ground to second baseman Parker Hipp who appeared to have a routine play but Hipp would bobble the ball and be unable to throw to first for the out. The error would allow String to score as Hipp's throw home was too late, however, Aggie catcher Zac Fisher would immediately throw to third erasing Fuda who had tried to advance from second to third. When the dust settled the Aggies trailed the Owls 4-2.
In the top of the third the Aggies would once again answer putting the first two runners on base. A pivotal moment in the inning occurred on the next at-bat as Tanner Waite would attempt to steal third but appeared to be thrown out by Rice pitcher Taylor Wall, however, the umpire would call a balk and instead of being out at third, both runners would advance a base giving the Aggies a second and third with nobody out. Parker Hipp would hit a deep fly ball to the wall but it would be caught for the first out of the inning but it allowed Waite to score on the sacrifice. Zac Fisher would follow and grounded out but that would allow Zach Voight to score tying the game at 4-4 heading to the bottom of the third.
Rice would once again counter the Aggie scores with a pair of runs as they would load the bases after Rathjen reached on an apparent throwing error by third baseman Robert Lecount, however, it was scored as an infield hit. Chargois would lay down a perfect bunt for a single putting and Rice would load the bases as Shane Hoelscher would reach on a fielding error by Tanner Rust who dropped the throw to first. Tyler Mack would walk in a run and Michael Ratterree would hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score another run giving the Owls a 6-4 lead. Mack would get out of the inning without any further damage as Derek Hamilton would hit a soft liner to the second base bag and the Aggies would tag out Ryan Lewis on the play for their third double play of the game.
The Aggies would get the leadoff runner on in the fifth but Cody Edwards would ground into a double play.
The Aggies would send Adam Mott out in the fourth replacing Tyler Mack on the hill. Mott would load the bases giving up a walk, a single and a hit batsmen. Jeremy Rathjen would hit a sacrifice fly to give Rice a 7-4 lead. After recording a second out, the Aggies would turn to Ryan Beck who would get the final out of the inning and avoiding any further damage.
Neither team would score in the fifth, sixth or seventh as both Beck and Wall settled in on the mound. Rice would send Ryan Duffey to the hill in the seventh and pitch a scoreless inning but the Aggies would get to Duffey in top of the eighth as Bryan Karraker would lead off with a double and with one out, Andy Lyon would hit an RBI single up the middle to score Karraker and cut the Aggies' deficit to 7-5.
Beck would pitch a scoreless eighth giving the Aggies one more chance heading into the top of the ninth. The Owls would give the ball to T.J. Chargois who would retire the first two batters of the inning while touching 97 mph on the radar gun. Parker Hipp would draw a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Zac Fisher but Fisher would line out to left field to end the game.
Tyler Mack took the loss falling to 0-1. Mack threw 3.0 innings giving up nine hits and six runs, four of them earned. Adam Mott pitched two thirds of an inning giving up two walks, a hit and an earned run. Ryan Beck pitched the final 4.1 innings and scattered four hits while giving up just one walk and striking out four.
Taylor Wall picked up the victory for Rice moving him to 2-0 on the season. He threw 5.0 innings of relief and allowed two runs, both earned while walking three and striking out four Aggies.