(Courtesy: NMSU Athletics)
MESA, Arizona - Despite four strong innings from righty Chris Barraza, the NM State Aggies baseball program fell to the Seattle U Red Hawks 10-0 Friday in a WAC Tournament elimination game at Hohokam Stadium.
Sophomore righty Rorik Maltrud (3-4) took the loss for the fourth-seeded Aggies (20-34), after pitching just 3.1 innings.
Maltrud allowed seven hits, six runs and struck out four.
The Redhawks struck for three early runs Friday using a walk and three consecutive hits to take a 3-0 lead after a half inning of play.
The big hit came from Julian Kodama who singled home a pair.
In the home half of the first, the Aggies received a two-out double from Ethan Mann, but the first baseman was stranded at second.
Maltrud settled down in the second and third innings, as the righty retired the next six Redhawks he faced.
The Aggies got a lead off double from Brandon Dieter in the bottom of the second, but Seattle U starter Nestor German was able to fire a pair of zeros.
In the visitor's half of the fourth, Maltrud ran into trouble, as Seattle U used a lead off single and a pair of stolen bases to spark a four-run frame that gave the visitors a 7-0 lead.
After another empty trip at the plate for the Aggies, Barraza made his much-anticipated return to the mound.
The righty shrugged off a leadoff walk to fire a scoreless fifth with a pair of strikeouts.
In total the righty pitched four shutout innings and recorded six strikeouts.
Staked to the big lead, German cruised over the final five innings of the game.
The righty scattered seven hits and struck out seven to record a 126-pitch shutout.
Seattle U scored three more times in the ninth off NMSU reliver Ian Mejia, to advance to the a matchup with No. 3 UTRGV.
The Aggies end the 2021 season 20-34, and 1-2 in the WAC Tournament.
Friday marks the end of seniors Chris Jefferson and Jason Bush's NMSU careers. Jefferson earned the victory in Wednesday's 7-5 victory over Seattle U while Bush closed the tournament with a pair of hits and two RBIs.
AT THE PLATE:
• The Aggies were shutout for the first time since April 11 at Sac State.
• NMSU left seven runners on base.
• Dieter recorded his team-best 16th double of the season.
• Infielder Kevin Jimenez went 2-for-4 Friday to raise his final average to .330.
• Jimenez is one of three Aggies to finish the season hitting at least .300.
• Left fielder Zerek Saenz recorded his 75th hit of the season.
ON THE MOUND:
• Barraza returned to action for the first time since Mar. 29 at Seattle U.
• He needed just 59 pitches to get through the four innings of work, and located 39 of his 59 pitches for strikes.
• The Aggies struck out 11 Seattle U batters.
• Maltrud was lifted in favor of Frank Dickson Jr. Dickson Jr allowed three inherited runners to score.
HEAD COACH MIKE KIRBY:
"The season did not turn out how we planned, but I though the guys really worked at it every day. They showed up with great attitudes and work ethics. We came up short and have some things to work on, and we need a little more depth. But we'll be back. It was great to see Chris back on the mound, but so many guys grew this season. It was great to see Kevin Jimenez grow as a leader and how Tommy Tabak slowed the game down. Like I said, we'll back."