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New Mexico State caps improbable WAC tournament run with title; Clinches NCAA Regional berth

MESA, Arizona - New Mexico State baseball coach Mike Kirby admitted the baseball gods were on his side.

As a result, the improbable Aggies are headed to the NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament.

New Mexico State, who entered the WAC Tournament with the worst record of any team in the field, defeated Abilene Christian on Saturday 7-1 to win the Tournament and earn automatic berth in NCAA postseason play.

In the win over Abilene Christian, Nolan Funke had two RBIs including a home-run and four Aggie pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts to keep the Wildcats at bay.

Senior Cal Villareal went 4-5 with an RBI single. Villareal was named WAC Tournament MVP.

Pitcher Ian Mejia (6-4) earned the win, and reliever Alex Bustamonte closed out the win with 3 IP and 4 strikeouts.

The Aggies won four games in four days, and never trailed throughout the entire WAC Tournament.

It was an astonishing week for a team that finished WAC regular-season play with a paltry 10-20 record.

The Aggies were only in the conference tournament field because Dixie State and Cal Baptist, who finished with better regular season records, were ineligible as part of their transition to Division I.

After a 3-1 stunning win over tournament top-seed Sam Houston State on Wednesday, the Aggies defeated #3-seed UTRGV 10-0 on Thursday.

New Mexico State followed on Friday with a 7-3 win to eliminate #2-seed Sacramento State before Saturday's clinching win.

The Aggies' impending NCAA Regional berth is the program's first since 2018, and first under current head coach Mike Kirby.

Potential Regional sites include Texas, TCU, Texas A&M and Stanford.

Article Topic Follows: NMSU

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Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.


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