There weren’t two teams in the Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament with less to lose.

To say New Mexico State and Abilene Christian’s meeting in the championship round of the WAC Tournament was unlikely would be an understatement. Each snatched the final conference tournament qualifying seed in their respective division, and both finished the regular season with sub-.500 records in league play. Both No. 4 seeds had to go through the top three seeds in their half of the bracket, and ACU had to knock off Grand Canyon twice in less than 24 hours just to qualify for the conference championship game.

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Winning the conference title Saturday was the only hope either school had of extending their postseason and advancing to a NCAA Regional with no more than 30 regular-season wins or a RPI ranking in the top 150.

So they left it all on the field.

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NMSU beat ACU 7-1 Saturday night to win its first WAC Tournament championship under head coach Mike Kirby and advance to its first NCAA Regional since 2018 behind a desperate, grinding performance. NMSU used four pitchers, including Wednesday and Thursday’s starters, in its fourth game in four days. 

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