SACRAMENTO, Calif. - New Mexico State hit five home runs, including three 2-run homers, and overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Sacramento State, 8-4, in the opener of a three-game series Thursday night at John Smith Field.
The Aggies scored all eight of their runs via the long ball, hitting four homers over the first five innings. The Hornets cut the New Mexico State lead to 7-4 in the eighth inning but the Aggies added a solo homer in the ninth to win it 8-4.
New Mexico State (22-13, 7-0 WAC) entered the game leading the conference in every offensive category and ranking fifth in NCAA Div. I with a .325 season batting average. The Aggies remained the lone undefeated team in WAC play this season.
Facing undefeated starter Kyle Bradish, Sacramento State (16-17, 3-7 WAC) jumped on the Aggie sophomore with two runs in the bottom of the first. Ricky Martinez and James Outman drew walks against the NM State ace and with two away Vinny Esposito tripled into the gap in right center to bring both runners in.
The Aggies answered in the second as Tristen Carranza walked ahead of a two-run homer off the bat of LJ Hatch. The Hornets stranded a pair in the bottom of the second and in the third Austin Botello hit a two-out, two-run homer to put the visitors ahead 4-2.
Sacramento State had three hits and drew seven walks against Bradish but left seven men on base in his six innings of work. In the fifth inning Jason Bush hit a leadoff home run and Dan Hetzel hit a two-run shot with two away.
The Hornet bullpen kept the deficit at 7-2, and in the bottom of the eighth PJ Floyd and Dawsen Bacho singled before senior Trent Goodrich hit a two-run double on a deep drive to center field. The Aggies got out of the inning with a 7-4 lead and Carranza homered in the top of the ninth to get one of those runs back.
Bradish improved to 6-0 with the win, throwing 115 pitches over six innings. Matthew McHugh got the last out in the eighth and finished the ninth for his second save. Hornet senior Justin Dillon struck out six batters while allowing five earned runs in five innings.
The Hornets had seven hits from seven different players. Freshman Kody Gardner reached base three times with a single and two walks. The Aggies had 10 hits with five singles and five home runs with Hatch going 3-for-4 and Bush 2-for-4.
After Sacramento State played a one hour and 45 minute game on Tuesday, the team's quickest nine-inning game in nearly four years, Thursday's contest was 3:15, the longest Hornet game this season that did not have a weather delay.
The Hornets and Aggie play game two of the series Friday at 6 p.m.