LAS CRUCES, N.M. – After a four-game home stand, NM State departs Las Cruces again to play nine games on the road. The team travels to Albuquerque to face in-state rival New Mexico for the second time this season. The Aggies’ travel continues as they head to Greeley, Colo. to take on Northern Colorado in Western Athletic Conference play, Friday, April 4 through Sunday, April 6. NM State continues its long road trip with a game against Air Force Academy then finishes it by facing North Dakota next week.
The Aggies are set to face the UNM Lobos on Wednesday, April 2, at 6:00 p.m. (MT). The Lobos are currently 19-9-1 with one of those wins coming from the Aggies previously in the season.
Wednesday’s game can be heard live over the Las Cruces radio waves on KSNM AM 570 with Jeff Matthews on call.
NM State sits at 10-17 on the season and 2-4 in the WAC after going 0-3 against Sacramento State.
The Aggies will head into Wednesday’s matchup against the Lobos with three players hitting above .300, led by the brother tandem of Kris and Joe Koerper who are batting .330 and .333, respectively. Kris also leads the team in RBI with 21 on the season and is tied for the team-lead in home runs with three long balls on the year. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Wagner also has three home runs contributed.
Series History versus New Mexico and Northern Colorado
The Aggies will head up to Albuquerque, April 6, to play against I-25 rival University of New Mexico. Having played their first game against each other in 1962, the all-time record for the series goes to the Lobos, who currently lead the series 143-81.
The Lobos made a trip to Las Cruces Mar. 25 for the first meeting of the 2014 series, downing the Aggies 14-4. NM State managed seven hits on the day to the Lobos’ 17. Joe Koerper, the Aggies’ leading hitter, continued his hot streak by going 2-for-4, including his first long ball of the season, with two RBIs and a run scored. Koerper was the only Aggie with more than one hit. Three errors also hampered the NM State squad as seven of UNM’s 14 runs were unearned.
Following the game against New Mexico, the Aggies will head north to resume WAC play against Northern Colorado in a three game series against the Bears, going from April 4-6, in Greeley, Colo.
NM State is 14-6 against Northern Colorado all time, meeting for the first time in 1973 and having last played in 2011. Coming off a 33-24 record in 2013, the Bears are currently struggling at 11-9 this season. Northern Colorado has been to the College World Series 10 times, ranking them in the top 15 of CWS appearances.
Aggies on the Road
The New Mexico State Aggies have an overall record of 10-17 to this point of the season. In away games, NM State currently has a record of 3-8 with losses coming to No. 30 Texas Tech four times, UC Davis three times and Texas-Pan American once. For the Aggies, three of their wins have come against teams they have also loss to, with wins over UC Davis and Texas-Pan American twice.
On the road, the Aggies look to Sophomore infielder, Joseph Koerper, to produce big numbers for this squad. He leads NM State with a .378 hitting percentage as well as hits with 14. Derek Umphres has also performed admirably on the road this season. Umphres is second on the team with a .302 hitting percentage while he also places second in hits with 13 and first on the team with six RBI.
Players to Watch
RHP – Kyle Kilgore
Kilgore has been playing a major role for the Aggies in 2014, both fielding and pitching for NM State.
Batting a .267 average, Kilgore has eight hits in 30 at bats, hitting one home run and three RBIs, earning a slugging percentage of .467. Kilgore has also hit three doubles this season.
Kilgore had his best hitting day again Texas Tech Mar. 8, where he recorded three hits and had a batting average of .429, his season high in average and hits. He recorded his season high in RBIs of two also against Texas Tech, Mar. 6, where he also had his only home run of the season.
From the mound, Kilgore is 2-2 having pitched 25.1 innings, throwing 15 strikeouts for the Aggies. He has pitched in seven games and started six this season.
Third baseman – Derek Umphres
Third baseman Derek Umphres has started 26 out of the 27 games this season for the NM State Aggies. With a .320 batting average, Umphres has 31 hits, 18 runs and 15 RBI. Umphres has hit third in the Aggie lineup in eight games this season. From third base the sophomore has 45 assists on defensive play. He has posted three games with multiple RBI including two against Sacramento. Umphres had three hits on three appearances behind home plate against Oakland on Feb. 28. Umphres has two home runs with a slugging average of .474.
Middle Infielder – Jory Goldstrom
Senior infielder Jory Goldstrom is standing with a .274 batting average and has made 20 starts for the Aggies this season. Goldstrom has had 70 plate appearances this season, racking up a .356 slugging percentage.
Six doubles on the season puts Goldstrom tied for second most on NM State this season. Earlier in the season Goldstrom was able to reach base on 11 consecutive batting appearances, which marks the fourth best for the Aggies this season.
Conference play began Friday, March 21 when the Aggies took on Texas Pan American. With only four games played and three started, Goldstrom is hitting .200 in conference play, with two hits, one walk and two RBI.
Shortstop – Kent Blackstone
With a .262 batting average on the season, Blackstone has a total of 22 hits in 84 at bats, recording eight RBIs with one home run and four doubles. With a slugging percentage of .369, Blackstone is one of the more potent batters in the lineup, starting 26 of 27 games for the Aggies this season.
Blackstone leads the team in stolen bases, using his speed and awareness to record eight steal on only 10 attempts. His season high in steals of four came against SIU-Edwardsville Feb. 22.
Blackstone had season highs in hits and RBIs against Oakland, Mar. 1, recording three hits and three RBIs. He also recorded his only homerun of the season during the game. He has had four multiple hit games on the season.
In WAC play Blackstone has recorded four hits in 21 at bats, scoring five runs and driving in two RBIs, hitting a .190 average and slugging percentage.
First baseman – Kristoffer Koerper
Starting in all 27 games for the Aggies, Koerper has been a major contributor to NM State’s offense, leading the team in several categories.
Leading the team with a .330 batting average in 103 at bats, Koerper also leads the team in runs scored (22), hits (34), and RBIs (21). With a team leading .476 slugging percentage, he is tied for the team high in home runs with three.
Koerper had his best series against SIU-Edwardsville Feb. 21-23. In 17 at bats he had eight hits, six RBIs and two home runs.
His single game highs for the season came against Oakland, where Koerper had four hits in five at bats, recording a season high five RBIs. Koerper has had six multiple RBI games this season, while also recording eight multiple hit games.
In WAC play Koerper has been hitting .261 in 23 at bats, recording six hits for two RBIs. He has scored five runs for the Aggies, along with gathering one walk with only two strikeouts.
LHP – Christopher Bradley
Senior pitcher, Christopher Bradley, has been a consistent contributor for NM State on the mound. Among starting pitchers, Bradley leads the Aggies with a 3.89 ERA this season. He also leads his squad in strikeouts with 32 on the year, highlighted by two season-high six strikeout games coming against SIU-Edwardsville on Feb. 21 and Texas Tech on March 6. Bradley has started all seven games he has appeared in this season while accumulating a record of 1-4. He also leads the team in earned runs with 16 and innings pitched with 37 total. Bradley also has allowed the least amount of hits among starting pitchers with 36.
RHP – Riley Barr
Junior, Riley Barr, is having a solid season as a relieve pitcher with NM State. At 3-0, Barr has the best record of any pitcher on the NM State squad. He also has the most appearances of any pitcher on the team this season with 12, while also placing second on the team with a 2.73 ERA. With 26 innings pitched on the year, Barr has pitched a total of 12 strikeouts. In conference play, Barr has a team-high three appearances. He has allowed the least amount of hits (3), runs (1) and earned runs (0) on the team in conference play.
LHP – Robert Kraft
Junior pitcher, Robert Kraft, has appeared and started in seven games for NM State this season. Kraft has pitched a total of 34 innings for the Aggies this year while pitching 24 strikeouts, which is good for second on the team. Among starting pitchers for NM State, Kraft has given up the least amount of runs with 26. In conference play, Kraft has pitched a team-high eight innings while also pitching six strikeouts. His record as a pitcher this season is 1-3.
Aggies in Last 10 Games
NM State baseball struggles in the last 10 games they have played. NM State holds an overall record of 2-8 and with a conference record of 2-4 during those 10 games.
Junior Michael Paulson and Sophomore Joseph Koerper both have a batting average of .286. Paulson and Koerper both seeing 35 at bats and 10 hits. Each are tied for the best batting average. Koerper has a home run and one RBI on the season.
Pitching for NM State, junior Riley Barr has an ERA 2.08 with 13 innings pitched. Barr has made four appearances while only allowing three earned runs.