Blue Raider Comeback Falls Just ShortApril 7, 2002 · MT Media Relations
The Blue Raiders (19-12, 2-4 SBC) knotted the game in the fourth and fifth innings but could not stop the Aggie bats, as NMSU plated runs in every inning but the third. Middle Tennessee trailed 11-5 before scoring six times in the eighth to knot the game for the third time.
Consecutive singles by Kris Smith, Jason Howarth and Troy Harp loaded the bases to lead off the frame. Leadoff man Chuck Akers then delivered a two-run double that plated Smith and Howarth, but Harp was thrown out on the play at third base. Nate Jaggers followed with another double to score Akers and pull the Blue Raiders within three at 11-8.
That chased New Mexico State (26-10, 3-3) starter Christian Jackson, who allowed nine runs, six earned, on 15 hits with eight strikeouts.
Aggie reliever Andrew Garretson struck out Marshall Nisbett looking, but Josh Archer had an infield single and Justin Sims followed with a single to center, playing Jaggers. Freshman Brett Carroll, who went 4-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs, drove in the final two runs of the inning with a double to left, knotting the game at 11.
But the Aggies scored twice in the bottom of the inning off Nisbett, the fifth Blue Raider pitcher of the day. Corey Harrington led off with a walk and later scored on an error by Howarth at shortstop, and Hal Bisnett drove in the final run with a single, plating Gabe Veloz.
Nisbett (0-2) allowed three runs, one earned, on three hits with four strikeouts in two innings of work. Steven Kines started Sunday's game, giving up seven runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. Justin Brown, the third NMSU hurler, got the win, getting the final four outs of the game with one strikeout.
The Blue Raiders pounded out 18 hits in the contest, including three each from Akers and Jaggers, and two apiece from Sims, Howarth and Harp.
New Mexico State held a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Carroll led off with a double and scored on a two-out double to right by Harp. Harp later scored on an error by NMSU third baseman Bisnett, tying the contest at two.
The Aggies scored twice in their half of the fourth, but Middle Tennessee tied the game at four on a two-run homer by Carroll in the fifth. But New Mexico State scored three times in the fifth and sixth and once more in the seventh, belting 14 hits in the contest. Both teams committed three errors in the game.
The Blue Raiders continue their current five-game road swing with a pair of contests at East Tennessee this week. Middle Tennessee and the Buccaneers play at 6 p.m. CT Tuesday and 2 p.m. Wednesday before the Blue Raiders open home conference action next Friday against Western Kentucky.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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