Aggies dominate in sweep to earn first series win of season

Connor Moreno

More stories from Connor Moreno


David Castaneda

The Aggies gather together at the pitcher’s mound to discuss their game plan. April 16, 2023.

The tide is certainly changing in Aggie’s baseball season after this past weekend. Not only did New Mexico State (9-22, 7-11 WAC) earn their first series win of the season against Stephen F. Austin (16-17, 10-8 WAC), they swept the series and did it in convincing fashion – outscoring the Lumberjacks 39-24 between all three games on 13 average runs per game.  

The highlight of the weekend, however, was in the middle game when NMSU left fielder Preston Godfrey hit a walk-off two-run blast to seal clinch the series win. A win in that manner is crucial for momentum heading into the second half of the season and for team morale after an unideal first half.  

The New Mexico State bats were absolutely torching all weekend and two batters stood out the most. The Aggies’ play-by-play announcer noted that Keith Jones II and Nolan Funke were both deserving of WAC Hitter of the Week nods on the heels of their stellar play at the plate.  

In the three-game series: 

Jones II went 9-12 with two doubles, four walks, two home runs and six RBIs. 

Funke on the other hand, went 8-15 and had three homers good for nine RBIs which included a grand slam in the first inning of the series finale. 

These two batters were essential to this series sweep. 

It is important to note that, while dominant, these three wins weren’t necessarily the easiest. A pattern of this season for the Aggies has been going down early, playing from behind, and it being too little too late when they string together some runs in an inning. In each of these three games, NMSU trailed at one point and rather than retreating, they stayed locked in and were able to answer for wins. 

In game one, NM State went down 2-0 early, in the bottom of the second and were able to quickly answer with a five-run inning in the next frame and scored in each of the next three innings to ensure that they lead for the rest of the game. They ended up winning 16-6 in eight innings of play. Nolan Funke when 4-5 in this game, hit two balls out of the park, and reached home every time he got on base.  

Game two was the closest of the three, but it was all about answering back for New Mexico State. SFA got on the board first once again with a run to start the game. The Aggies answered right away with a five-run inning. The ‘Jacks then responded with six runs in the next two frames. Down 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth, Logan Gallina, Keith Jones II and Kevin Jimenez each went yard to tack on four runs in response to go up 9-5. Both teams remained scoreless all the way until the ninth inning where SFA scored two runs on an error and a sac-fly to tie the game up at nine. And as we all know, Nick Gore got on base via a walk and set up the infamous Preston Godfrey walk off dinger to win the game 11-9. 

The Aggies defeated Stephen F Austin in all games during the competition held from April 14 to 17 2023. (David Castaneda)

Finally, as they do in what seems like every series finale, the Aggies just ran away with it early down the stretch. Both teams were tied at five through three innings but NMSU just took off for the rest of the game – scoring three in the fourth inning, two in the fifth, and two more in the eighth to win the game 12-6 and secure the sweep. Keith Jones II was perfect at the plate in Sunday’s game, going 3-3 with two walks and crossed home plate every time he got on base.  

Things are surely looking up for New Mexico State. After ending the week 3-1, they were able to move up to the 11th spot in the conference and now sit only 1.5 games back of the No. 7 seed. Continuing this consistent play for the remainder of the season makes their slow start a much easier pill to swallow. They have gone 9-9 since starting the season 0-13. In that 18-game stretch, the Aggies have outscored their opponents 140-126 and have not been shutout. 

The NMSU batter boy runs with joy towards the dugout to return a player’s bat. April 16, 2023. (David Castaneda)

New Mexico State will look to extend their win streak with another Tuesday matchup against the Lobos of New Mexico on April 18. After that, they will travel to Stephenville, Texas for a WAC series against the Tarleton.  

The Aggies beat UNM in their first matchup this season and Tarleton sits at the bottom of the conference. Extending their win streak to seven games at the end of the week is a strong possibility and would come at a crucial time in the season.

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