LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 1, 2012) - After losing two-thirds of their 2012 outfield to graduation, the New Mexico State baseball team now looks to a couple of junior college transfers to fill an outfield unit that was an integral part of last year's Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship team.
Juniors Quinnton Mack and Michael Medina will join senior Kyle Phillips, the only remaining starting outfielder from last season, to compromise this season's starting outfield for NM State.
Last year's trio of outfielders, Tanner Waite in left field, Bryan Karraker in right field and Phillips in center field, finished the season as one of the highest scoring group of outfielders in the nation. The threesome scored nearly one-third of all the Aggie runs, mostly because of their knack for getting on base. All three had an on-base percentage higher than .420.
Phillips will once again be the Aggies' starting center fielder and will be called upon to be the leader and role model for the outfielders. He can start by showing his new teammates his numbers from last year. Phillips finished the 2012 season with a .311 batting average, a .421 on-base percentage, six home runs and 39 RBIs. On the field he was second on the team with 144 putouts and finished with a .967 fielding percentage.
"Phillips had a very good fall and continues to progress as a player," head coach Rocky Ward said.
Replacing Waite in left field this season will be Mack, a Las Vegas, Nev., native who has a rare combination of power and speed and also has baseball pedigree in his family. Mack's father, Quinn, and his uncle, Shane, both played outfield in the major leagues. Shane played alongside Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett in the outfield during the Minnesota Twins World Series team of 1991.
Prior to coming to NM State, Mack played two years of baseball at the College of Southern Nevada. In 2012 he was selected as a first-team all-region outfielder after finishing the season with a .330 batting average, 29 stolen bases and nine home runs.
"Mack will play left field, but (he) has center field skills and has double-figure home run and stolen base abilities," Ward said. "If he continues to improve his discipline, he will reach these marks easily."
Rounding out this year's starting outfield will be Medina who will take over for Karraker at right field. Medina, a product of Southern California, comes to the Aggies after playing a season of baseball at Compton Community College located in Compton, Calif. He is known for being a great defensive outfielder.
While at Compton C.C., Medina was invited to participate in the Cecil Fielder Elite World Series as an outfielder. Not only did his team win the tournament, Medina was also honored individually by receiving a Gold Glove Award for the tournament. It wasn't the first gold glove award on his mantel, however, as Medina had also won a gold glove award after both his junior and senior years in high school.
Aggie fans will have their first opportunity to watch the new outfield, alongside the rest of the NM State baseball team, during the annual alumni game being played at Presley Askew Field on Feb. 9 at 2:00 P.M. The event is free of charge for all Aggie fans.