NM State scores 33 runs in series sweep against Oakland: Part Two

Going into the second game of the series, Sammy Natera looked to continue his hot start to the season, stepping on the mound to record three strikeouts in the top half of the first inning. The Aggies would catch fire early as they scored three runs behind a two-shot home run by Noah Funke, which scored Kevin Jimenez who was standing on second following a double of his own. After striking out two consecutive sides, Natera would have six strikeouts in as many outs to continue his form from last weekend. The only run of the third inning was scored by Gunner Antillon who caught the Golden Grizzlies sleeping as he reached home plate off an inside the park home run to give the Aggies an early 4-0 lead.  

Oakland would battle back by hitting two singles, one being an RBI off the bat of Seth Tucker to drive in a run. The fifth and six innings were both scoreless, but Oakland scored another run in the top of the seventh to make it a 5-2 game. Stepping in to pinch hit, Logan Gallina would add some insurance to the Aggie lead as he homered over the right field wall in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Aggies would end the game and clinch the series win on a ground out to shortstop to secure the 6-2 win.  

Attempting to avoid three straight loses, Oakland started the game off swinging as they recorded three hits and scored two runs in the top of the first inning. NMSU responded in the bottom of the second inning after Cal Villareal singled to center, driving in Gallina who stood on second to cut the Oakland lead. After back-to-back batters reached base for the Aggies, it was the senior outfielder Tommy Tabak who tripled into center to score two runners which gave the home squad an early 3-2 lead heading into the third inning.  

Selema Graham

Starting for his second consecutive Sunday, right-handed pitcher Ian Mejia would work his way to the fifth inning on the back of four straight scoreless frames. In the bottom of the fifth the Aggies would take advantage of one of Oaklands seven errors in the game to get Edwin Martinez-Pagani on base. After Brandon Dieter advanced the runner to third off a single, it was the big bat of Gunner Antillon that would drive in two runs as he doubled to give the Aggies a 5-2 lead after five innings.  

Mejia battled his way all through seven innings, not allowing a run in six consecutive innings for the Aggies. A wild bottom half of the seventh inning consisted of one walk, one failed pickoff attempt, Logan Gallina hit by a pitch and one triple blasted off the bat of Preston Godfrey who pinch hit for NMSU. The two-error inning by the Golden Grizzlies would pave the way to an 8-2 lead for the Aggies.  

Both Ryan Grabosch and Edwin Martinez-Pagani would record back-to-back doubles to start the bottom half of the eighth inning. The real damage was done when second baseman Kevin Jimenez hit a three-shot rocket into the trees outside the right field wall to give the Aggies a commanding lead. Logan Gallina and Kyle Westfall were both struck by pitches in the frame which would allow NMSU to score six runs from four hits.  

After eight innings of work for Mejia, Cade Swenson would replace him on the mound in the top of the ninth inning to secure the series sweep. Swenson finished the game by striking out the Oakland catcher, Brandon Heidal, who was caught looking to give the Aggies an impressive 14-2 win at home.  

“We’re a college baseball team, so we’ll continue to pound those fundamentals, work on ground balls, work on our fly ball communication. But overall the boys are in a pretty good place,” head Coach Mike Kirby explained. 

The Aggies will look to extend their win streak when they host their third consecutive home series next weekend as they face off against Prairie View A&M University starting Friday March. 4 at 3 p.m. The series will include a double header on Saturday March. 6 and a series closer on Sunday March. 7 at 11 a.m.  

Christopher Renteria
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