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Trio of pitchers shine as NM State baseball downs Grand Canyon

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The Basics 

Game Twenty-Four 

Score: NM State 3,  Grand Canyon 1 

Records: NM State (11-13, 3-8 WAC); Grand Canyon (17-11, 9-2 WAC) 

Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (GCU Ballpark) 

PHOENIX, Ariz. –  Three NM State pitchers – Pablo Cortes, Cam Blazek, and Alex Bustamante – combined to allow just one run to Grand Canyon on Saturday night. The Aggies knocked off the Lopes, 3-1, and snapped a five-game skid.

NM State struck first with an RBI single from Preston Godfrey. The official scored credited an error on the shortstop on the play, allowing Brandon Dieter to score the unearned run. 

Grand Canyon got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on a single up the middle. Following the run, Pablo Cortes settled into a ground and mowed down the Lopes lineup for the remainder of his start. Cortes spun 6.0 innings, allowing just one run and five hits in the ballgame. 

With two away in the seventh inning, Ryan Grabosch doubled down the left field line to give NM State a spark offensively. The following hitter, Cal Villareal, ripped a triple to center field, scoring Grabosch and putting the Aggies back on top.  

Blazek came on to work the seventh inning and did not allow a run. The pride of Fargo, N.D. fanned the first hitter he faced before ending the inning by fielding his position for the final out.  

Edwin Martinez-Pagani ripped a double to left field to double the NM State lead in the top of the eighth inning. Nolan Funke looked to extend the lead with a sacrifice fly to center field but the runner was nailed on a perfect through to end the inning.  

Bustamante took over with runners on the corners and nobody out in the eighth inning. The Aggie closer struck out the first batter he faced before getting the second batter to strike out swinging as well. On the strikeout, the ball went to the backstop and caromed off the backstop, allowing Grabosch to tag the runner trying to score.  

In the ninth inning, Bustamante once again worked his way out of trouble. With a pair of runners in scoring position and just one out, Bustamante induced a lineout to the shortstop Dieter who flipped to Martinez-Pagani at second for the game-ending double play. 

Quick Hits 

  • Kevin Jimenez, Ryan Grabosch, and Cal Villareal all tallied multiple hits in the ballgame for NM State.
  • Alex Bustamante picked up his third save of the season on Saturday night. 
  • Pablo Cortes earned his second win of the season and moves his record to 2-2.
  • The Aggies picked out four extra-base hits without leaving the ballpark. Brandon Dieter, Edwin Martinez-Pagani, and Grabosch all doubled to pair with a triple from Grabosch.
  • NM State hit .417 (5-12) in the ballgame with two outs. 
  • The win was the first of the season for NM State against a Top 25 opponent or a team receiving votes in a national poll.

On-Deck 

With a chance to win the series against Grand Canyon, NM State will be back in action on Sunday afternoon in Phoenix. First pitch in the finale will be thrown at 1:00 PM MT and the action will be streamed on ESPN+. 

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).