Aggies start WAC play with 9-4 loss to Cal State Bakersfield


Mitchell Allred

New Mexico State struggled on offense in their conference opener to CSUB Friday night, scoring under five runs for just the fourth time this season.

The defending Western Athletic Conference champions New Mexico State opened conference play on the wrong foot Friday night, falling to Cal State Bakersfield 9-4.

NM State (15-6, 0-1 WAC) was completely dominated by CSUB’s bullpen,  failing to register a run in the final six innings to end the game. The Roadrunners (13-10, 1-0 WAC) had a quality start after starter Darius Vines went 6.2 innings, collecting eight strikeouts and giving up just four Aggie runs. The junior kept his command at the plate with a steady pace, not letting Aggie batters get into rhythm while 62 percent of his total pitches were called strikes.

Vines has been accustomed to solid outings, going at least six innings strong in his last six starts (including today’s game) – also throwing at least 7 strikeouts in each of those games.

Not only was the pitching excellent, but the offense from the Roadrunners was also on point — a stark contrast to the team’s .243 season batting average coming into tonight’s game. CSUB left 14 runners on base but only after putting the ball on the barrel for 17 total hits on the day and scoring in all but three innings. This ‘Runners team isn’t known for its hot offense, only averaging just four runs per game (already reaching that mark in the fourth inning), but when you’re hot you’re hot.

Head coach Brian Green most definitely will not be happy after his squad’s poor offensive showing.

The Aggies came back after being down 3-0 after one inning, going up 4-3 in the third after catcher Jason Bush singled up the middle scoring Tristan Peterson. That lead wouldn’t last, though, as CSUB consistently knocked in runs building itself a comfortable five-run lead heading into the ninth. More importantly retiring Aggie hitters who have built themselves a reputation of being clutch performers (such as Nick Gonzales and Tristen Carranza, who both went 1-for-4).

NM State starter Brock Whittlesey went just five innings, struggling to find outs and giving up 10 hits, five runs (four were earned) and three doubles. The Aggie bullpen surrendered six walks, most of them coming at costly times and eventually led to ‘Runner runs.

It’ll be a quick turnaround for Green’s team, who will eagerly look to bring its conference record back up to .500. as NM State takes on CSUB again tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the ‘Skew.

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