John Welsh delivered a three-run home run in the first inning, but Utah fell 12-5 Saturday at New Mexico State.
Feb. 4, 2006
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The University of Utah baseball team saw a strong start go by the wayside Saturday afternoon at Presley Askew Field. The Utes jumped out to a 5-1 lead over New Mexico State, but couldn't hold it. The Aggies exploded for an eight-run fifth inning, en route to a 12-5 win over Utah.
Utah (0-2) got a great start in the first inning. Second baseman Bret Baldwin singled and third baseman Erich Kemp drew a walk with one out. John Welsh came up with two out and hammered his first home run of the season to left field. Welsh's blast put Utah up 3-0. New Mexico State (2-0) touched Utah starter Eric King for a single run in the bottom of the first to make it 3-1.
The Utes added to their lead in the third. Shortstop Ryan Khoury led off with a double to center field. Khoury came around to score on Baldwin's RBI single, giving Utah a 4-1 lead. Baldwin later scored on a New Mexico State error and Utah led 5-1 after three innings.
King pitched four innings, allowed just the one run in the first inning and struck out three. But he was on a pitch count and was removed from the game after the fourth. Junior transfer Brandon Ast took over and promptly ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases. The Aggies' Luke Hopkins then ripped a grand slam to center field, knotting the game at 5-5. The next New Mexico State batter doubled and knocked Ast from the game.
"King pitched very well," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "But he was on a pitch count and we had to get him out of there. Ast came in there. He just didn't have it today and gave up four quick ones."
Freshman Rory James took over on the mound and didn't fare much better. James gave up a run-scoring groundout and later allowed three-run triple to Vince Rodden, which put New Mexico State on top by a count of 9-5. The Aggies added three more off sophomore Chase Christensen in the eighth to account for the final tally of 12-5.
Utah and New Mexico State wrap up their three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m.