By Derek Gonzales
NMSU has been looking to right the ship after starting off their Stephen F. Austin series with a loss. They were unable to accomplish that goal in Saturday.
The Aggies were swept in a doubleheader on Saturday, 14-7, in the first game, and 5-4 in the second as they dropped to an even 6-6 on the season.
Junior right-handed pitcher Marcel Renteria took the mound for the Aggies in game one of the doubleheader, and though Lumberjack hitters were getting on base frequently, Renteria used his defense to record timely outs and limit damage. His stat line for the outing included five innings pitched, six runs, and eight hits allowed on the day on 98 pitches.
“Our pitching was good at times, but we just have to have a really fresh memory whenever they get hits on us, that really is the key to it,” Head Coach Brian Green says.
Renteria did his best to keep the Aggies in the game, but the Aggie offense struggled for the first six innings, after struggling the last two games. Lumberjack starting pitcher Eric Nouis threw a gem for SFA, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning. The Aggies were unable to get a runner into scoring position until the sixth inning, when a fielding error by third baseman Eric DeJesus allowed Brent Sakurai to reach third.
Nouis then walked Trey Stine, putting runners on the corners, and Dan Hetzel got the Aggies on the board on the next at-bat with a grounder that squeezed between the first and second baseman. A groundout by Austin Botello put runners on the corners again for the Aggies with one out this time, and L.J. Hatch reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Stine. Hatch then stole second before being stranded with a Cameron Haskins pop up to center field.
That narrowed the margin to 6-2, but in the next inning, SFA’s Conner Fikes hit a triple to the right-center field gap, and outfielder Zach Michener blooped a single over Carranza’s head to score Fikes.
The Aggies went to the bottom in the inning down five, but found life after Roman Trujillo reached third on an error, Sakurai brought him in, then scored on a Trey Stine triple, and then Dan Hetzel singled up the middle, scoring Sakurai. The inning ended with a 7-5 score, but the game got out of hand when SFA scored four runs in the top of the eighth inning.
The Aggie defense committed an error trying to get a force out at home plate with the bases loaded, and the bullpen struggled, with Tyler Erwin giving up three earned runs in only a third of an inning pitched. SFA tacked on a couple of runs in the ninth via solo homeruns, and the final score ended up being 14-7.
“We just have to come out better and do a better job of putting things behind us and work to get better results,” Green says.
The second game saw right-hander Matthew McHugh take the mound for the Aggies, however more of the same happened for the Aggies who, outside of a strong hitting first inning, were unable to get any momentum going in their direction most of the night. After giving up three runs in the fourth inning, the Aggies were only able to muster just one more run the next innings. They dropped the contest, 5-4.
The team will be back at it tomorrow at one p.m. at the ‘Skew.
“Baseball is such a game of ups and downs, and I told our guys that we need to clean the slate and get back to it tomorrow,” Green says.
Sports Editor Albert Luna contributed to this report.
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