LAS CRUCES, N.M. – It was a tale of two games on Saturday as the Texas Southern baseball team lost both in a doubleheader at New Mexico State.
NEW MEXICO STATE 10, TSU 9
The first game began with a burst of offense from the Tigers that was inflicted on Aggies’ starting pitcher Lyle Hibbitts. They surprised him by scoring five runs in the opening two frames, a near reflection to the kind of start the visiting team had the day before. Designated hitter Oscar Ponce began the assault with a 2-RBI single to center for a 2-0 lead after the top of the first. Charles Robinson was hit by a pitch to open the second which was then followed by a Roderick Coffee 2-run homer – his third in two games. Three batters later, after Ponce reached base on another single, third baseman Nic Garza drove him home with a base hit to left center for a 5-0 lead. With two runners on in the fourth, centerfielder Tyson Thompson grounded out to second base which allowed Coffee to go home and make it a 6-0 ball game.
However, immediately after the Tigers increased their lead, the Aggies finally woke up from their initial shock. Just like what TSU did to their starter, NMSU jumped on starter Jacob Morin and tied the game through a series of singles, walks and hit-by-pitches. NMSU’s Kevin Jimenez evened the score with a 2-RBI double in the bottom of the fourth, setting a 6-6 tie.
NMSU added three more runs in the fifth to move ahead 9-6 but TSU fought back in the seventh as Justin Cooper opened with a single and stole second. Thompson drew a full count walk and pinch hitter Jean Ortiz drove in Cooper with an RBI double. Victor Bueno evened the contest at 9-all after a 2-RBI single which scored Ortiz and Thompson.
After a silent eighth, the game reached its total climax in the bottom of the ninth. NMSU opened with a single and balk to move into scoring position. The Aggies recorded another single which led TSU to intentionally load the bases for a force. However, TSU never got to put the force in play as the winning run was walked in.
Coffee led TSU with a 3-for-4 performance which included two RBIs and two runs. Clayborz, Cooper and Ponce all had two hits each.
NEW MEXICO STATE 11, TSU 2
Riding on the momentum that enabled the Aggies to win the first game, the second game evidently played itself out as a one-sided affair in favor of the home team.
Despite silencing NMSU for first inning, the Tigers saw a gradual shift that favored the home team which started in the second as the latter scored four runs. NMSU tacked on nine more runs over the next five until the game was called in the bottom of the seventh when it was 13-2.
The Tigers’ pair of runs came in the top of the fifth inning in the form of a wild pitch made by reliever Alex Pinedo during pinch-hitter Michael Zamora’s at bat, allowing center fielder Jordan Vidato to score, and a Jean Ortiz sacrifice fly to left field.
Cooper had another multi-hit game for TSU while Vidato finished 2-for-3 with a run scored.
TSU will end their four-game series against the Aggies at 11 a.m. Sunday morning.