OREM, Utah – With 11 runs over the final two innings of play, the New Mexico State baseball team buried Utah Valley 17-6 on Friday and clinched a berth to the WAC Baseball Tournament in Mesa, Arizona, next week.
NM State will play the top seed in the Southwest Division at noon on Wednesday.
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.
This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Aggies baseball clinches WAC Tournament berth