NM State baseball erupts for 17 runs, clinches spot in WAC tourney

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The Basics 

Game Fifty-One 
Score: NM State 17, Utah Valley 6 
Records: NM State (20-31, 10-19 WAC); Utah Valley (18-37; 9-20 WAC) 
Location: Orem, Utah (UCCU Ballpark) 
 
OREM, Utah –  We will see you in Mesa.

With 11 runs over the final two innings of play, the NM State baseball team buried Utah Valley and clinched a berth to the WAC Baseball Tournament in Mesa next week.  
 
NM State jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the first two innings of play. In the first inning, Edwin Martinez-Pagani cleared the bases with a three-run double to give the Aggies a lead they would never relinquish. Later in the frame, Cal Villareal would go on to drive in a run with a single through the right side.  
 
In the second inning, the Antillon brothers would connect for NM State's fifth run of the game. Gunner Antillon singled up the middle to score Hunter Antillon to go up by five.  
 
Following the Antillon connection, the two teams swapped home runs. Utah Valley lifted a solo home run in the second before Villareal did the same in the top of the third inning. In the bottom of the third, the Wolverines would use a two-run blast to move the score to 6-3.  
 
Neither team would find its way onto the scoreboard again until the sixth inning. A leadoff home run from Preston Godfrey set the tone for the inning as NM State exploded for six runs on four hits. Kevin Jimenez and Villareal would drive in runs with singles to help bolster the Aggie lead.  
 
Through six innings, Villareal was 3-3 at the plate with a home run, four runs batted in, and a walk. 
 
Utah Valley got three runs back in the bottom of the sixth inning but NM State refused to get outperformed. In the seventh inning, the Aggies put up five runs to officially put the run rule into effect. After back-to-back walks from Gunner Antillon and Logan Gallina, Jimenez ripped a double to score a run. Martinez-Pagani plated a run on a fielder's choice before Tommy Tabak hit the magic threshold of ten with a two-run triple. Tabak came in to score on a heads-up play for the Aggies' 17th run of the night.  
 
After getting the save on Thursday, Alex Bustamante came in to work the bottom of the seventh inning for NM State. The Aggie closer struck out two Wolverines as he slammed the door on Utah Valley's postseason hopes.  
 
Quick Hits 

  • NM State will play the top seed in the Southwest Division at noon on Wednesday.
  • Kevin Jimenez doubled again in the seventh inning, moving into seventh in NM State single-season history.
  • Jimenez and Cal Villareal both tallied three hits to lead the Aggies on Friday. 
  • Villareal and Edwin Martinez-Pagani drove in four runs apiece to boost the NM State offense.
  • Tommy Tabak added three RBI to give the 5, 6, and 7 hitters in the NM State lineup 11 RBI for the night.
  • Sammy Natera struck out six in 4.1 innings of work. Alex Bustamante fanned two of the three hitters he faced.
  • NM State has scored 32 runs over the first two nights in Orem.

On-Deck 
With a postseason bid clinched, NM State will wrap up the regular season on Saturday against Utah Valley. All of the coverage will begin on ESPN+ at 12 p.m. MT as the Aggies look to complete the sweep. 
 
For complete coverage of NM State baseball throughout the Aggies 2022 campaign visit NMStateSports.com - the official home of Aggie athletics - and follow the Aggies on Facebook (NM State Baseball), Twitter (@NMStateBaseball), and Instagram (@NMStateBaseball).