OREM —Mick Madsen tied it in the eighth with a solo home run and won it in the ninth with a walk-off RBI single to propel Utah Valley to a 10-9 victory over first-place New Mexico State on Friday night at UCCU Ballpark.
The freshman Madsen finished with a 4-for-6 outing on the night with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Michael Beltran was 3-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored to lead the way for UVU (9-29, 6-8 WAC). Joey Ortiz led the Aggies (27-10, 10-4 WAC) by going 3-for-6 with two runs scored.
"I was proud of our guys. New Mexico State never quit tonight but neither did we. Our guys really competed and did what they had to do to win," head UVU coach Eric Madsen said. "I'm excited for our guys and now we've got to come back and be ready to try to take the series on Saturday."
Trailing 9-8 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the freshman third baseman Mick Madsen snuck a ball out to right to deadlock the score at 9-9. The round tripper marked Madsen's first collegiate home run. The Wolverines later loaded the bases and looked for more, but NMSU's Chris Barraza managed to draw an inning-ending flyout to keep it tied at 9-9.
After Jesse Schmit retired three of the four batters he faced in the top of the ninth, UVU then won it in the bottom of the ninth thanks to the walk-off single from Madsen. The Wolverines quickly loaded the bases in the last of the ninth following a walk from Beltran, Ryan Eastburn reaching on an error and Alexander Marco reaching on a bunt. After a strike out, Madsen then delivered the walk-off hit with a chopper over the third baseman's head to bring in Beltran and send the Wolverine faithful home happy.
"I'm happy for Mick. It was good to see him redeem himself after committing a couple of errors early in the game," Eric Madsen said. "Michael Beltran too had a strong game for us as well as Jesse Schmit in the late innings on the mound."
After the Aggies managed to drive home an unearned run in the top of the first, UVU then responded with an unearned run of its own to tie the game at 1-1 at the end of the first inning. Utah Valley's run came home in the frame on a ground out by Eastburn.
Still 1-1 in the last of the third, UVU managed to put a five-spot on the board to take a 6-1 advantage. After a pair of walks and a hit batter loaded the bases, Eastburn drove home the first two runs on a two-run single to right and Alexander Marco followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1. Eastburn then later came around to score on a throwing error, while Madsen plated the final run of the frame with an RBI single to right.
NM State then got a run back in the fourth thanks to a two-out RBI single from Noah Haupt to make it a 6-2 game. The Aggies then added three more runs in the fifth to make it a one run deficit at 6-5. All three runs came home unearned and Tristan Peterson delivered the big hit with a two-run homer to left to bring the NM State within a run.
The Aggies then tied it at 6-6 in the top of the seventh after a leadoff double from Nick Gonzales followed by an RBI triple from Tristen Carranza to deadlock the score. NM State threatened for more in the inning, but UVU reliever Travis Parker made a great play on a squeeze attempt to cut a run down at the plate followed by an inning-ending strikeout to keep it a 6-6 game.
UVU then got a pair of unearned runs back in the bottom of the seventh to regain an 8-6 advantage. With the bases loaded and two away, Trevor Howell put a ball in play to second base that NMSU's Gonzales threw away to allow two runs to come home to give the Wolverines the lead.
New Mexico State immediately responded with three runs in the eighth to take a 9-8 lead. After back-to-back hits, NM State's Gonzales drove home the first run on an RBI double to make it 8-7. NMSU then tied the game on a sac fly from Carranza followed by driving home the go ahead run on an RBI fielder's choice from Logan Ehnes.
The two teams combined for 26 hits and 19 runs in the 4-hour and 15-minute nine-inning contest.Comment on this story
Both starters took a no decision in the contest, but UVU's Paxton Schultz pitched well by allowing just two earned runs while striking out five over 6.0 innings of work. Schmit (3-5) earned the win in relief for Utah Valley after giving up just one hit while fanning two over 2.0 scoreless innings of work. NM State's Keaton Graf was tagged with the loss to drop to 1-1 on the year.
With the series split at one game apiece both the Wolverines and Aggies will look to win the series on Saturday.
First pitch for Saturday's rubber match is set for 12 p.m. MT at UCCU Ballpark. Following the weekend finale, UVU will then remain home to close a four-game homestand on Tuesday, April 23 against in-state foe Utah.