LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- The momentum of a good finish on offense Saturday carried through to Sunday's series finale at New Mexico State as the Saint Mary's baseball team jumped on the Aggies early to pick up its first win of the season with an 8-3 victory in eight innings at Presley Askew Field.
Saint Mary's (1-3) got on the board right away Sunday, scratching out an unearned run in the first after Anthony Villa, perhaps the Gaels' hottest hitter to start the season, got the rally started with a one-out double.
The Gaels picked up three more in the third thanks to a patient approach at the plate. Five of the first six hitters in the inning reached by either a hit by pitch or walk, and with an RBI single from DonAndre Clark thrown in for good measure, Saint Mary's led 4-1 after three and a half.
RBI singles by Anthony Gonsolin and Ian McLoughlin in the fifth and sixth innings left Saint Mary's ahead 6-2 through six, and after the Aggies (3-1) got a bit closer with a run in the seventh, the Gaels added two more in the top of the eighth to re-establish control.
Jacob Valdez got the start for Saint Mary's and battled wildness in three innings of work, walking seven but only allowing one run. Brad Nease, pitching in relief for the second time in the series, earned the win with two innings of one-run relief. Kurt Jahnke made his 2014 debut and allowed one run in two innings and Gonsolin came in to close it out, striking out the side in a hitless eighth inning.
Villa ended the season-opening series with a .500 batting average, finishing with seven hits in 14 at-bats. The Gaels actually swung the bats well in the four-game set, ending the series with a .273 team batting average.
Next up for Saint Mary's is the home opener on Thursday as the Gaels host UC Davis at 2 p.m. as part of the Gael Invitational. Play begins at 10 a.m. with Kansas State taking on Portland. For ticket information, click the Tickets link on SMCGaels.com or call the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.