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Kona winds give NMSU boost


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POSTED: Friday, May 22, 2009

Rocky Ward needed a little translation when Mike Trapasso would mention the Kona winds at Les Murakami Stadium.

“;He said it's when the wind blows out to left, and it hardly ever does,”; said Ward, linked with Hawaii's head coach by their Oklahoma State roots.

Ward was certainly grateful for the breeze yesterday after his New Mexico State baseball team rallied past reigning College World Series champion Fresno State 7-4 to score the program's first Western Athletic Conference tournament victory.

With the game tied 4-4 in the top of the ninth inning, NMSU junior Steven Anderson's fly ball to left got a lift from the wind and carried out of Murakami Stadium for a decisive three-run homer.

New Mexico State (42-15) moved into the winner's bracket and will play at 7 p.m. today. Fresno State, the three-time defending WAC tournament champion, will try to avoid elimination when it faces top-seeded San Jose State at 3 p.m.

The loss was Fresno State's first in the tournament since the event returned in 2006 following a six-year hiatus.

The Bulldogs (28-28) jumped out to a 3-1 lead, thanks to freshman Dusty Robinson, who hit a two-run homer to left-center in the first and drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth.

New Mexico State closed to within in a run on Bryan Marquez's RBI single in the fifth and took the lead in the eighth when Leo Aguirre tripled in the tying run and scored on pinch hitter Jared Jordan's single.

Fresno State tied it with two out in the bottom of the eighth. But Anderson, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the eighth, came up after an intentional walk to Marquez and nailed a slider from Holden Sprague for the game winner.

“;In that situation you're kind of sitting on that,”; Anderson said. “;He'd thrown me a couple fastballs, so I expected it.”;

“;It's one of those types of at-bats that could win a tournament. It's also one of those at-bats that could turn a kid's career around,”; said Ward, who noted that Anderson had struggled in similar situations earlier this season.

“;I'm extraordinarily proud of him.”;