New Mexico State is no stranger to blowout victories. The Aggies have it in them. But that doubleheader against Texas Southern? That was something else.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The New Mexico State baseball team continued its series against Texas Southern with a double header on Saturday at Presley Askew Field. The Aggie offense continued to shine, outscoring the Tigers 62-14 as the Crimson & White have now scored 20-plus runs in each of their three games against the defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champions who did not allow a single opponent to score over 20 runs last season.
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In the first game, NM State (3-0) started right-hander Justin Dehn on the mound against Texas Southern (0-3) southpaw Mason Furlong. Dehn got right back into the groove in his season debut as he put the TSU batters down in order in the opening frame.
Then the Aggie offense got going in the bottom of the second. A leadoff walk, followed by a bunt single by junior Joey Ortiz put runners on the corners and Nick Gonzales laced a single to right field to bring home the first run of the game. Logan Ehnes proceeded to step to the plate in the next at-bat and knock a single up the middle to score two more runs. Tristen Carranza closed out the early scoring with an RBI single through the right side to put NM State's lead at 4-0 after one.
The bats did not slow down in the second inning beginning with Ortiz knocking a single to right that brought in the first run of the frame with just one out. Gonzales then put s single through the left side and each runner advanced on an error that brought another run across the plate. Ehnes then added to the lead with a double down the left field line that scored two more to give NM State an 8-0 lead.
Before the second inning was over, Tristen Carranza roped a single down the line to bring another Aggie across the plate and leave runners on the corners. Tristan Peterson was able to knock a sacrifice fly to right field that brought home the man from third and Braden Williams closed out the frame with single through the right side to score one more run and put the team's lead at 11-0.
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The bottom of the third opened with a single by Gonzales and then a one-out double from Caleb Henderson put two runners in scoring position. Tristen Carranza then made sure they all got home as he belted a three-run home run over the centerfield wall. Peterson then made it back-to-back then he crushed a ball to left center for a solo shot to give the Aggies a 15-0 lead through three.
Texas Southern was able to get on the board in the top of the fourth after a wild pitch put a runner on third base. A groundout to the shortstop was able to bring this runner home and the Tigers got their first run of the game. In the top of the fifth, TSU was able to add to its total and cut into the NM State lead. The Tigers leadoff batter hit a solo home run to right field that put the Aggies lead at 15-2.
With runners on first and second in the bottom of the fifth, Logan Bottrell knocked an RBI single through the right side. Then Ortiz floated a sacrifice fly to centerfield that put one more run up for the home team. To close out the scoring in the frame, Gonzales launched a two-run homer to right that gave NM State a 19-2 advantage.
NM State went to the pen in the sixth and the freshman reliever retired the first two batters of the frame before the Tigers started to connect. After a walk, the next batter of the frame sent a two-run home run over the fence in center to put the Aggies lead at 19-4. Then with runners on the corners and two outs, a single through the right side brought home one more run and a throwing error on the same play allowed another runner to cross the plate and cut into the NM State lead that stood at 19-6.
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This was the closest the Crimson & White would let the game get, however, as the offense poured it on in the bottom of the sixth. A pair of singles and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for NM State to open the frame. Braden Williams then laced a single to right that scored one run. The next batter, Eric Mingus was able to as to the total with a sacrifice fly that brought home one more runner and the lead became 21-6.
With only one out in the sixth, a passed ball put two Aggie runners in scoring position for Bottrell to beat out an infield single that scored one run. Then with runners on the corners, Ortiz knocked a base hit through the left side to bring in one more. The scoring closed out with a sacrifice fly by Ehnes to give NM State a 24-6 edge after six innings.
Each side was able to buckle down defensively, allowing zero runs over the next two innings. Then in the top of the ninth, TSU hoped to mount a miraculous comeback. With two outs and the bases loaded, a balk brought home one run for the Tigers. A walk that allowed another runner to cross the plate followed this, but the hopes of a comeback ended when a strikeout swinging ended the first game of the doubleheader with NM State coming out on top, 24-8.
The impressive offensive performance was highlighted by Gonzales who went 5-for-6 with a home run and three RBI, Carranza who added a stat line of 4-for-6 with a homer and five RBI and Ortiz who went 3-for-5 with three RBI.
Justin Dehn picked up his first win of the season after tossing 5.0 innings, allowing just two runs and striking out three. The three Aggie relievers who closed out the first game added five punch-outs over four innings to secure the win.
The second game featured even more runs than the first and Texas Southern was the first to get on the board in the top of the first. A leadoff single opened the game before a passed ball and ground out put the runner just 90 feet from home plate. A sacrifice fly in the next at-bat did the job to bring in the first run of the game for the Tigers. With two outs, the Tigers then saw a double to center bring in another run as the opposition held a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the first.
This was the only lead TSU would hold, however, as the Aggie bats continued to stay hot throughout the second game. Logan Bottrell led off the frame with a base on balls and then Joey Ortiz reached on an error that also scored Bottrell for the Aggies first run. Then Nick Gonzales roped an RBI single to left to tie the game up at 2-2 heading to the second inning.
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NM State transfer Chris Jefferson, making his first start as an Aggie, made quick work of the Tigers putting them down in order in the top half of the second before the Crimson & White offense got back to work. With a runner on second and one out, Bottrell reached on an error by the second baseman that scored Jason Bush to give NM State a 3-2 lead.
Still in the second, Ortiz laced a triple down the right field line to bring in the second run of the frame. A passed ball then brought the runner home from third and a one out RBI single up the middle scored the final run of the frame and the Aggies led 6-2 after two.
Jefferson tossed another quick one-two-three inning with a pair of strikeouts to let the Aggie bats get back to work. With runners on first and second, back-to-back passed balls brought home the first run of the frame for the Crimson & White. Then with men on the corners, Bottrell laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored one more and an infield groundout brought in the third and final run of the inning to give the Aggies a 9-2 lead through three innings.
Texas Southern looked to cut into the lead in the top of the fourth, beginning with an RBI triple to the gap with no outs. After a batter whiffed on three pitches, a sacrifice fly to left field scored another run and put the NM State lead at just 9-4 heading to the fifth.
The Tigers continued to whittle away at the deficit in the top of the fifth. With a runner on first, TSU used a double to right center to bring the runner home. Then with a man on third and two outs, a single up the middle brought one more Tiger across the plate and the Aggies lead now stood at 9-6.
NM State then responded in the bottom half of the fifth. The scoring opened when Ortiz laced a bases loaded double to the gap that cleared the bags for a 12-6 lead. With runners on first and second with just one out, Logan Ehnes sent a ball down the right field line that he legged into a triple that scored two more.
TSU decided to go to the pen in the middle of the fifth, looking to escape the inning. However, the Aggie bats had different plans beginning with the first batter Caleb Henderson beating out an infield single that brought home one run. Two batters later, with two runners on, Tristan Peterson crushed a ball to left field that hugged just inside of the foul pole for a three-run homer to push the Aggies lead to 18-6 after five.
The offensive production continued in the bottom of the sixth for NM State. Henderson opened the onslaught with an RBI single to left center. Then after a single and a walk loaded the bases, Jason Bush was plunked to bring in one more run. With the bases still loaded, Eric Mingus added to the Aggies total with an RBI single to center, leaving the bases loaded.
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Bottrell proceeded to add a base knock that saw an error by the Tigers shortstop allowing two runs to score to give the Aggies a 23-6 lead. With runners on second and third, Ortiz lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to bring home another run, followed by Gonzales with an RBI double up the middle. Ehnes closed out the scoring in this frame when he roped a double to the wall in the left field corner that scored one and a dropped fly ball in the next at-bat brought home the final run of the frame to give NM State a 21-run cushion at 27-6 through six.
Bats for the Crimson & White continued to roll in the seventh with another multi-run inning. After Noah Haupt led off with a walk, Bush laced a triple to the gap in right to bring home one run. Tristan Stacy then knocked a single to shortstop that scored the second run of the frame and put the lead at 29-6.
With runners on first and second, Bruno Teramoto added an RBI double to right center to give NM State 30 runs in just seven innings on the night. The scoring did not stop there, however, as a passed ball with the bases loaded put one runner across the plate and then a walk accompanied by a passed ball scored two more runners and the Aggies led 33-6 after seven.
In the eighth, the Crimson & White added a few more insurance runs beginning with an RBI groundout for Brenden Williams, followed by a sacrifice fly by Teramoto. Ehnes, the next batter of the inning, knocked a single up the middle to score one more and then with runners on first and second, Tristen Carranza laced a triple to right field to cement the Aggies 38-6 victory over the Tigers in game two.
Jefferson picked up the win in his first career start for NM State, throwing 5.0 innings with nine strikeouts. The Aggie offense combined for 25 hits with eight Aggies recording multiple base knocks, led by Carranza, Ehnes, Gonzales and Henderson who each had three.
The New Mexico State baseball team now looks for the series sweep, as it takes on Texas Southern in game four on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 12:05 p.m. MT on Presley Askew Field.