March 21, 2012
New Mexico State 13, Arizona 8 (Box Score)
TUCSON, Ariz. - For the second straight day New Mexico State upended fifth-ranked Arizona, 13-8, using a barrage of 16 hits and nine free passes issued by the Wildcat pitching staff to capture a two-game sweep of a midweek series at Hi Corbett Field.
New Mexico State (17-8) exploded for three first innings runs and had a 7-1 lead after three innings of play. Later, Arizona (16-6) cut a seven-run deficit down to two with a five-run fifth inning, but the Aggies responded with four runs in the sixth before cruising to their second straight upset victory.
The Wildcat pitching staff issued a season-high nine walks and hit three batters. Starter Lucas Long (2-2) lasted just 1.2 innings and gave up five runs as he was charged with the loss. Relievers Nick Cunningham, Vincent Littleman and Konner Wade were not much better. The trio combined to give up seven runs on seven hits and seven walks in 3.2 innings of work.
Freshman left-hander Tyler Crawford found the strike zone and quieted the Aggies' bats with a strong 3.2 innings in which he gave up one run on four hits. Crawford struck out three and walked nine in his longest career outing.
The most interesting moments of the game came in the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth innings. In the home half of the fifth, Seth Mejias-Brean drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded single. Later in the inning, pinch-hitter Bobby Brown cleared the bases with a three-run double to right field to make the score 8-6.
Trailing by two the Wildcats were unable to keep the momentum when the Aggies, the national leader in walks drawn, came to bat in the sixth. Wade uncharacteristically walked three batters and hit two others in what became a four-run inning to re-extend the Aggies' lead to 12-6.
That proved to be plenty of run support for the Aggies' pitching staff, which despite giving up 11 hits, struck out six and walked only two. Starter Ryan Beck did not factor into the decision after throwing four-plus innings. Reliever Randy Montoya (1-0) was credited with the win with his one-inning, one-hit effort in relief.
The two clubs combined to strand 24 runners on base in the game. The Aggies collected four key two-out RBI during the game, while the Wildcats were unable to push across a run with two outs.
All nine NMSU starters collected a hit in the game and six scored at least two runs. Catcher Zac Fisher paced the offense with a 4-for-6 day at the plate to go with four RBI.
Arizona will hit the road on Thursday in advance of its three-game Pac-12 series at No. 19 Oregon State (14-5, 3-0) this weekend. The series gets underway on Friday night at 5:35 p.m. (PDT) at Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Ore.