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Aggies drop two of three to Sacramento State

This weekend New Mexico State baseball hosted the Sacramento State Hornets, who earned two wins over the Aggies in the 3-game matchup.

This series was the second of conference play for New Mexico State, while it was just the first for Sacramento State. The Aggies entered this weekend’s series with a record of 15-10, 2-1 in conference play, while the Hornets entered with a record of 9-13. Since Easter was on Sunday, the series was played Thursday-Saturday rather than the usual Friday-Sunday weekend set.

The series got off to a great start for New Mexico State on Thursday, as the Aggies won 8-2. In that game, Kyle Bradish dazzled on the mound in front of approximately 10 big-league scouts. He pitched six innings, struck out seven and gave up only three hits and two runs. The one area that he struggled with was walks, of which he issued five. He earned the win, improving his record to 3-1 and lowering his ERA to 3.02.

The Aggies got productive offense from third baseman Trey Stine, who went 2-2 with a walk, a double and a triple and drove in three runs. Mason Fishback went 4-5 at the plate with three singles and a 2-RBI double.

Friday was a different story. New Mexico State’s Justin Dehn made his eighth start of the year, looking for his third win. Instead, he took his third loss.  Sacramento State beat the Aggies 7-3. Dehn’s outing only lasted 3.1 innings. He gave up five hits and five runs, but only two of them were earned. His defense didn’t help him out, as they recorded three errors. The defensive struggle was uncharacteristic for the Aggies, who lead the WAC in fielding percentage at over .980.

The only offense that the Aggies got on Friday came from a sacrifice fly by Nick Gonzales in the fifth inning and a 2-RBI single by Joey Ortiz in the seventh inning.

Saturday’s game was all about Hornets ace Austin Root. Through eight impressive innings, he held the Aggies to five hits and one run while he struck out seven and walked only one. He improved his record to 4-2 on the season. It was the third time this season that he pitched at least seven innings.

Meanwhile, Root was opposed by Jonathan Groff, who took the mound for the Aggies.  The Hornets got to Groff in the second inning when freshman catcher Dylan McPhillips took Groff deep to left field for his first career home run. Three batters later, James Outman brought home Keith Torres to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead. The next inning, Sacramento State’s PJ Floyd smashed a 3-run homer over the right field fence to make the score 5-0.

Groff pitched five innings, gave up five runs off nine hits, stuck out three and walked two, as he took the loss.  Sacramento State didn’t score again until the seventh inning when Steven Moretto singled off Brock Whittlesey to bring home Vinny Esposito.

Trailing 6-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Aggies made it interesting. With Sacramento State’s Tanner Dalton on the mound and two outs, the Aggies got one run off of a Braden Williams single to bring the Aggies within four. With the bases loaded, Nick Gonzales, the next batter, had a chance to tie the game, but Dalton struck him out. Sacramento State won the game 6-2.

New Mexico State (16-12, 3-3 WAC) will head to Midland, Texas on Tuesday for a matchup with No. 9 Texas Tech. Tuesday’s game will be the second of three this season between the Aggies and Red Raiders. In the first matchup, Texas Tech beat New Mexico State 12-0 in Lubbock on Feb. 20.

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