Aggies Head Into Final Week of Regular Season
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  05/14/2012

This Week: The New Mexico State baseball team plays five games in six days with each game on the road. The Aggies head up to Albuquerque first to take on in-state rival New Mexico, Tuesday, May 15 at 6 p.m. The team then heads to Bakersfield, Calif., where it will face CSU Bakersfield, Wednesday, May 16 at 7 p.m. The Aggies head north from there to San Jose, Calif., and face the Spartans in a three-game Western Athletic Conference series, Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20.

Media Coverage:  The game versus the Lobos and the series versus SJSU are scheduled to air over the radio waves in Las Cruces on KSNM AM 570 with Jeff Matthews giving the play-by-play action.

Social Media: Fans can keep up with score updates and other information by logging on to Twitter@NMStateAggies.  Fans can find out about promotions and everything else Aggie by going on Facebook @NMSU Athletics.

About the Aggies: The Aggies have now lost eight out of their last ten games are are currently 31-19 on the year.  They dropped out of the polls after falling in two consecutive games to top ranked Baylor in Waco, Texas three weeks ago.  Last week NM State fell in two of three games to Fresno State in the final home series of the year.  Before that the Aggies traveled to Honolulu and were swept by the University of Hawai'i, who surpassed NM State for first-place in the WAC with the wins.

Before the seven game slide, NM State was ranked in at least one poll for four consecutive weeks. During that time the Aggies put together a school-record 14 consecutive wins and at one point won 21 out of 24 games. NM State was boasting a .363 batting average during the 14-game win streak and are currently hitting .303 as a team this year.

The Aggies have a won 24 games at home while going 7-10 on the road and 0-2 at neutral sites.

NM State is currently 8-7 in league play and sits in the No. 3 spot in the WAC standings. Nevada is currently in first at 10-5 and Sacramento State is in second at 11-7.The Aggies are hitting.262 in WAC games, while their batting average at home stands at .330 but drops to .260 on the road.

The Aggies have gone 9-11 in the last 20 games with a .264 batting average during that time span. The Aggies struggled at the plate last week against Fresno State hitting .234 against the Bulldogs and crossing the plate only 11 times in three games.

 NM State has had five different WAC Hitter of the Week selections and one WAC Pitcher of the Week selections so far this year.  Junior catcher Zac Fisher is the most recent selection, as he joins junior centerfielder Kyle Phillips, senior infielder Kurt Snowley, senior outfielder Bryan Karraker, junior designated hitter Cody Edwards and junior left-hand pitcher Ryan Beck.

NM State was the 2011 NCAA batting average champion when it posted a .337 average. NM State is 13-3 when playing in Las Cruces and 1-3 on an opponent's field.  The Aggies hit .347 at Presley Askew Field and only .220 on opposing team's turf.  The Aggies lead the nation in runs scored, walks and RBI.  NM State is also in the top five nationally in hits, doubles, on-base percentage and total bases.

Rocky Ward Shooting for Win No. 400: With the Aggies posting 31 wins so far this season head coach Rocky Ward is now 399-394-2 on his career to take his winning percentage to .503. Ward needs just one more wins to reach 400 as a head coach.


University of New Mexico: The Lobos are currently 29-22 overall on the season, 13-4 in Mountain West Conference play and 17-11 at home.  UNM is coached by Ray Birmingham who is in his fifth year with the Lobos and is in his 24th season overall as a head coach.  He comes into the week with a 947-436-2 record throughout his career.  The Lobos lead the all-time series with the Aggies 140-80, which includs the three meetings this season. The Aggies have defeated the Lobos in the three meetings this season and currently are on a five-game winning streak against their in-state rival dating back to last season.

Cal-State Bakersfield:  The Roadrunners head into the week 20-25 on the season and are 14-6 at home. CSUB is coached by Bill Kernen who was named the first ever head baseball coach of Cal-State Bakersfield in 2009. He is 72-89 as head coach of the Roadrunners coming into his fourth season as head coach. This game will mark the first time the Aggies and Roadrunners have played against one another.

San Jose State: The San Jose State Spartans are currently 21-25 on the season and are 5-10 in WAC play, while going 12-15 at home this season.  The Spartans are coached by Sam Piraro who is in his 24th season as the Spartan's head coach and is in his 36th season overall as a collegiate head baseball coach. Piraro has an overall record of 749-577-6 as the head coach of the Spartans.

The Aggies lead the overall series with San Jose State with a record of 21-19 dating back to 1992 with the most recent meeting in 2011. The Spartans won the first meeting back in 1992 by a score of 6-7 and the Aggies defeated the Spartans 20-8 in the most recent meeting, back in 2011.

Aggie head coach Rocky Ward has a record of 11-13 against San Jose State dating back to 2006.

Aggies in the WAC:  After dropping two of three against Fresno State last weekend, The NM State Aggies have fallen into a third place tie in conference play.  In all games played this season, the Aggies lead the WAC in batting average (.304), runs scored (412), doubles (107), total bases (777) and walks (302).  The Aggies are also second in hits (523) and at bats (1722) in the conference.  On the mound, the Aggies have only allowed three triples this season, the least amount by any WAC pitching staff. 

In WAC play only, the Aggies lead in walks (95) and on base percentage (.384).  The Aggies are second in runs scored (86) and fourth in slugging percentage (.384).  On the mound, Aggie pitchers tied with Louisiana Tech for batters struck out looking with 29.  The Aggies are also second in batters stuck out (109), third in wins (8), and fourth in opposing batting average (.280).  The Aggie defense is third in the WAC with a fielding percentage of .978. 

Individually, the Aggies have two of the top 10 hitters in the WAC.  Senior catcher Zac Fisher leads the WAC in batting average in all games with .371, while junior second baseman Parker Hipp is eighth with .333.  The top six players in runs scored in all games are from NM State.  The leader, senior outfielder Tanner Waite, has 49 this season.  Waite also leads the WAC in walks with 60, while Hipp's 46 are good for second place.  The Aggies are also represented strongly in total plate appearances with four in the top five and five in the top ten.  After a two-homerun game against Fresno State, junior third baseman Robert Lecount has now tied Alex Williams of Louisiana Tech with 11 home runs.  Senior shortstop Zach Voight is tied for fourth in the WAC with eight home runs, as well as leads the conference in RBI with 54.  Aggie senior closer Scott Coffman leads the WAC in games finished with 22.  He also is seventh in saves with 7.  Junior starting pitcher Ryan Beck leads the WAC in strikeouts with 88 while junior starter Adam Mott is 10th (59).  Junior relief pitcher Tyler Mack is tied for eighth in appearances this season with 21.

In WAC games only, senior Tanner Waite continues to lead the conference in on base percentage (.535) and walks (21).  Junior Robert Lecount is second in the conference in slugging percentage with .630 and tied for first in homeruns with four.  Lecount is also tied for sixth in the WAC with 29 total bases.  Senior shortstop Zach Voight is second in the WAC in RBI (17).  Junior starting pitcher Ryan Beck is fourth in strikeouts with 30 and tied for second in batters struck out looking (8).  Senior closer Scott Coffman is tied for second in the WAC in finished games with 6.  Junior starting pitcher Adam Mott is tied for fifth in hits allowed (22) while Junior starting pitcher Michael Ormseth is tied for seventh with 26.

WAC Standing Scenarios: The 2012 WAC baseball regular season race comes to a close this week with six of the seven teams finishing up their final three game series. As usual it's been a wild and wacky race and as is nearly always the case, the tournament field is neither set nor has the regular season champion been determined. The WAC lead has been bounced around like a hot potato with nobody willing to take hold of it.

As a refresher the preseason coaches poll looked like this: 1) Fresno State, 2) San Jose State, 3) Hawai'i, T4) New Mexico State and Nevada, 6) Louisiana Tech, 7) Sacramento State.

As the league heads into the final weekend of play, Sacramento State is the leader in the clubhouse at 11-7 and will make their first WAC Tournament appearance since 2008. At 10-5 Nevada is the only team that controls its own destiny in terms of the regular season title. A series victory by the Wolf Pack over Hawai'i this week gives them the regular season title. Both New Mexico State and Hawai'i have seen their grasp on the regular season title slip through their fingers. The Aggies have lost 5-of-6 over the past two weeks to slip from first all the way into a tie for third with Hawai'i and the Warriors hold the head-to-head tiebreaker due to their series sweep. Likewise the Warriors saw their regular season title hopes take a massive hit as they were swept by Sacramento State and like the Aggies, fell from first to third.

At the bottom of the league sits San Jose State (5-10), Fresno State (6-9) and Louisiana Tech (6-9). The three teams will battle for the final two spots in the tournament with the winner of the Battle of the Bone (Louisiana Tech at Fresno State) securing one of those two spots. The loser could still make the tournament but their fate will also be determined by what happens in the New Mexico State vs. San Jose State series.

So the final three series in conference play look like this:

Nevada (10-5) vs. Hawai'i (8-7)
San Jose State (5-10) vs. New Mexico State (8-7)
Fresno State (6-9) vs. Louisiana Tech (6-9)

For the Aggies to win a share of the regular season title they will need to sweep San Jose State and have Hawai'i take at least two of three from Nevada.

Here are our projected seedings based on the Aggies' potential record in the final series.

1-seed if Hawai'i takes 2-of-3 from Nevada (Aggies own best record between 3 teams tied for 1st at 4-2, Sacramento 3-3, Nevada 2-4)
2-seed if Nevada takes 2-of-3 from Hawai'i (Aggies own head-to-head with Sacramento State)
2-seed if Nevada sweeps Hawai'i (Aggies own head-to-head with Sacramento State)
3-seed if Hawai'i sweeps Nevada (Sacramento 4-2 record among tied teams, UH 3-3, NMSU 2-4)

3-seed if either Nevada or Hawai'i sweeps the series (Aggies own head-to-head with Nevada)
4-seed if Hawai'i takes 2-of-3 from Nevada (Hawai'i owns head-to-head with Aggies)

3-seed if Nevada sweeps Hawai'i AND Louisiana Tech wins series at Fresno State or Fresno State wins series but does not sweep.
4-seed if Nevada sweeps Hawai'i AND Fresno State sweeps Louisiana Tech (Fresno State owns head-to-head with Aggies)
4-seed if Nevada takes 2-of-3 from Hawai'i and Louisiana Tech wins series or Fresno State wins series but does not sweep. (Hawai'i owns head-to-head with Aggies)
5-seed if Nevada takes 2-of-3 from Hawai'i and Fresno State sweeps Louisiana Tech. (UH, FS, NMSU all finish 9-9, Aggies 1-5 against teams tied, UH 5-1--3-seed, FS 4-2--4-seed)

5-seed if Nevada sweeps Hawai'i AND Louisiana Tech wins their series but does not sweep (Fresno State is out).
6-seed if Nevada sweeps Hawai'i AND Louisiana Tech or Fresno State sweeps their series (loser of FS/LTU series is out)
6-seed if Nevada sweeps Hawai'i AND Fresno State wins series vs. Louisiana Tech (LA Tech is out)

Group tiebreakers if these three teams finish tied (record against each other)
NMSU: 2-4
Sacramento St.: 4-2
Hawai'i: 3-3

Group tiebreakers if these three teams finish tied (record against each other)
Hawai'i: 4-2
NMSU: 3-3
LA Tech: 2-4

Group tiebreakers if these three teams finish tied (record against each other)
Hawai'i: 5-1
Fresno St.: 4-2
NMSU: 1-5

Record Watch: Senior closer Scott Coffman became the all-time saves leader when he tallied his 18th career-save in game one of a doubleheader, Saturday, March 24.  Coffman helped the Aggies extend their winning streak to 11-games that day and led NM State to a 9-8 win over Texas-Pan American. Coffman surpassed Orlando Griego (1987-90) for the all-time record. He now has 20 saves throughout his career. The six saves he has posted this season ties Erik Nyquist for saves in a season and he needs just three more saves to tie his record of nine in a single season.

Coffman passed former Aggie and Las Cruces native Frankie Duran for games pitched when he entered the game against Texas Tech, Tuesday, March 27.  Duran made 91 appearances from 2006-09. With an appearance on May 11 against Fresno State, Coffman became the first player in Aggie baseball history to make 100 appearances at NM State.

Right-hand pitcher Justin Cooper needs just two more appearance to break into the top 10 in the Aggie record books for appearances in a career. Dillon Smith (2006-08) and Mark Conti (1978-81) are tied for ninth with 59 appearances.

Tyler Mack needs one more win to break into the top 10 for wins in a career at NM State.  Jason Williams (2002-03) and Jason Conner (2004-08) are tied for ninth in wins with 15 on their careers. He is currently ranked second for wild pitches thrown in a career with 38 and is ranked eighth for hit batters in a career. Gary Goldsmith (1990-93) owns the NM State record for wild pitches with 53 in his career.

Left-hand pitcher Ryan Beck recently surpassed Jerry Macias (1978-81) with 17-career wins. He needs one more win to tie for seventh with Greg Trammell career wins at NM State with 18.  Beck is currently in eighth in career starts at NM State and needs two more starts to tie Chris Jackson (2002-03) for seventh.

He has struck out 88 batters this season, which puts him in the top-10 in the Aggie record books.  Beck is currently tied with Mike Hale who posted 88 K's in 2001.  Albert Montoya holds the record for strikeouts in a season with 107 in 1991. Beck has struck out 213 batters in his career and is eigthth in the NM State record books. Dustin Cameron, who posted 212 K's from 2003-05 is now in the No. 9 spot after Beck surpassed him, while Gary Goldsmith (1990-93) holds the record with 323 strikeouts.

Senior Bryan Karraker is currently tied for third with Justin Lucero (2008-09) and Mark Aranda (2004-05) at NM State for being hit-by-a-pitch.  He has 23 on his career. Karraker is also tied for sixth on the season-records list for being hit-by-a-pitch 12 times. He is tied Alex Borgo (2003) and Wesley Starkes (2011).

Senior Zach Voight has tallied five sacrifice flies this season and needs one more to break into the top 10 for sac flies in a season.  There are six former Aggies tied for the No. 10 spot with six sacrifice flies in a season (Chuck Howard-2011, Alex Borgo-2003, Hal Bisnett-2002, Bobby Miller-1995, Efrain Lara-1992, Mario Moccia-1988).

Zac Fisher heads into this week's play with 140 RBI in his time at NM State and needs two more RBI to break into the top 10 for RBI in a career. He is currently tied for fifth with Joe Williams (1988-90) for doubles in a career at NM State (43).  He just surpassed Kurt Wilkinson (1999-2002) while needs one more to tie Leo Aguirre (2007-10) and eight more to tie Chris Fanning (1988-91) for the No 1 spot. Fanning finished his career with 51 doubles.

Senior Tanner Waite has 60 walks heading into this week's play and is now second in the single-season record books  as he recently surpassed Richard Stout who tallied 59 walks in 2009. Former Aggie Joe Williams holds the single-season walks record with 63 in 1997.

Waite is currently tied for fourth for walks in a career at NM State with 103 with Joe Williams (1988-90). Richard Stout holds the record for walks in a career with 142 from 2007-09.

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