NMSU Baseball Drop Regular Season Finale 5-4 At UTRGV

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

EDINBURG, TX - The New Mexico State baseball team took on Western Athletic Conference foe UT Rio Grande Valley in the regular-season finale on Saturday. After gaining the lead in the top of the ninth on a dramatic four-run triple, the Aggies ended up losing the game, 5-4, to a walk-off home run in the bottom half.

Game three began different than the previous two contests with the NM State (36-19, 17-7 WAC) bats being held quiet to open while UT Rio Grande Valley (23-31, 8-16 WAC) put the first runs up on the board in the third inning.

The third inning started on a high note with Aggie starter Alex Pinedo striking out the first batter swinging, which set a new program record for single-season strikeouts with the 460th on the year. Unfortunately, the tide changed quickly with the next batter for the Vaqueros knocking a triple to the corner in left field that was followed by an RBI single up the middle.

Then with two on and two outs, UTRGV saw a single to the outfield bring in one more run to put NM State behind 2-0. The trouble continued with a walk loading the bases, but Pinedo escaped the jam as he caught the final batter looking to leave the bases juiced.

NM State got their first hit in the top of the sixth when Braden Williams led off with a single through the right side. Marcus Still then laid down a sacrifice bunt and another groundout moved Williams to third with two outs. Standing just 90 feet away the runner was not brought home with a fly out ending the Aggies chance to get on the board.

The Crimson & White threatened again in the eighth inning after the Vaqueros puled starter Trevelle Hill following a one-hit performance on just 80 pitches. A flare out to shallow center saw Marcus Still advance to second and leave two runners in scoring position before a walk loaded the bases with two outs. That was the closest the Aggies would get when a ground out ended the frame.

UT Rio Grande Valley added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to make the road back a bit tougher for NM State. A single to right scored the Vaquero runner from second to put the Aggies behind 3-0 heading into the ninth.

In the top half of the final frame, the NM State bats got going. Caleb Henderson led off the inning with a single through the left side and a Trey Stine walk put the tying run at the plate. This saw Tristen Carranza get hit by a pitch, which tied the individual single-season record with 19, to load the bases. Then with one swing of a bat the lead changed as Nick Gonzales roped a ball into right center for a three-run triple before a throwing error at the plate advanced the freshman home for the fourth run to give NM State a 4-3 lead.

The lead was short-lived, however, when in the bottom of the ninth the Vaqueros got a runner on to lead off the frame and then the next batter sent a ball over the left field wall for a walk-off two-run home run and the Aggies lost 5-4.

New Mexico State now awaits the final score in the Sacramento State finale as a win for the Hornets puts the Aggies into the WAC Tournament as a No. 3 seed, but a loss gives NM State a bye and a No. 2 positioning. If the Aggies are dealt the No. 3 seeding, the team takes on No. 6 CSU Bakersfield to open the tournament on Wednesday, May 23, at 8 p.m. MT playing at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.