Only 275 miles separates the home stadiums of Arizona and New Mexico State, yet for nearly 70 years all of their meetings in baseball have come in Tucson. That changed on Tuesday when the UA played in Las Cruces for the first time since 1954.
And like they did in their last visit, the Wildcats came out on top.
Home runs by Daniel Susac, Garen Caulfield and Nik McClaughry set the tone early for Arizona, then Tanner O’Tremba put an exclamation point on things with a grand slam in the 9th in an 15-5 win over NMSU at Presley Askew Field. It was the UA’s 11th true road victory of the season and their 5th victory in the last six games overall.
Arizona (29-13) scored in double digits for the second straight game, something it hadn’t done since topping the 10-run mark in three straight in mid-March. The four homers ties a season high and gives the Wildcats 32 homers in 19 road or neutral-site games compared to 14 in 23 games at Hi Corbett Field.
NMSU (16-22) took a 1-0 lead in bottom of the third inning on a solo homer, but the UA responded with three in the top of the fourth. Susac tied the game with his ninth homer, second in as many games, then Caulfield followed with a 2-run shot.
It was the first collegiate homer for Caulfield, who was 4 for 4 with four RBI.
McClaughry’s solo shot in the fifth, his second of the season, made it 4-1, and after the Aggies scored twice in the bottom of the fifth the Wildcats added three in the sixth on RBI singles from Tommy Splaine, Caulfield and Jack Grant.
Arizona added a single run in the seven and seven more in the ninth, capped by O’Tremba’s grand slam (his 7th homer of the season), finishing with 15 hits against 10 NMSU pitchers.
Freshman right-hander Anthony ‘Tonko’ Susac allowed three runs over the first five innings to improve to 3-1. The bullpen allowed two runs but struck out seven, with former NMSU pitcher Chris Barraza fanning all four batters he faced.
Arizona is back home Thursday to start a 4-game nonconference series against Nevada.