NM State Concludes Regular Season at USC with Two-Game Set
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  05/18/2010

First Pitch: The New Mexico State baseball team wraps up its regular season with a two-game series against the University of Southern California, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18-19.  Both games are set for an 8:15 p.m. (MT) start at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles, Calif.                                                                                  

Media Coverage:  Both games are scheduled to air on KSNM 570 AM with Jeff Matthews giving the play-by-play action. Fans can also listen to the radio broadcast on-line for a fee at www.NMStateSports.com. Live stats and recaps for the game will also be available on the Internet at the official website of the New Mexico State Athletics Department.

About NM State:  The Aggies were ranked in the College Baseball Newspaper poll twice this season but struggled in the past two weeks winning only one game out of the last eight.  NM State took the series finale from Hawai'i winning 10-7.

The Aggies are now 36-19-1 overall while they head into week 15 in the No. 2 spot of the Western Athletic Conference standings at 14-9-1.  Heading into last week's series with Hawai'i, the Aggies had lost four in a row to Fresno State.  Before that, NM State had won 10-straight games.  The longest streak of the year is 12 wins that lasted from March 20-April 9.  During that time NM State took two of three from UC-Santa Barbara, a game from Texas Tech and Nevada, while sweeping Wofford and Houston Baptist. 

The Aggies started the season 0-3 after losing to Washington, Gonzaga and Missouri in the Cactus Classic, which was held in Tucson, Ariz. from Feb. 19-21.  NM State is now well above .500 at 36-19-1.  The 10-10 tie came Sunday, April 11, in the series finale against Nevada.   NM State won 11-consecutive games before jumping into the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (CBN) Top-30 NCAA Division I baseball poll at No. 20, Monday, April 5. 

The Aggies took two of three games from UC-Santa Barbara before sweeping Wofford in a four-game series.  NM State then went to Texas beating Texas Tech in Midland, Texas, March 30, before sweeping Houston Baptist in Houston.  Other than losing the three games in the season opening tournament the Aggies have only lost one series in 2010, falling to offensive powerhouse Georgia State 2-1, which included a loss where NM State scored 24 runs.

The Aggies have posted a nation-leading 544 RBI and have already blasted 101 home runs, which is third nationwide.  They could very well break the school of 119 homers in a season, which was set in 2009.  The Aggies have tallied at least 100 home runs in a season four times under head coach Rocky Ward.

The Aggies are 20-10-1 at home this season after they were 29-9 at home in 2009.  After going 7-1 from April 16-25, NM State is 15-6 on the road and 1-3 at neutral sites.

It was a spectacular season last year posting one of the most successful seasons in NM State baseball history, breaking the school record for most wins in a season at 44. The 44 games the Aggies won in 2009 broke the record that was held by the 2003 NM State baseball team the won 43 games while a part of the Sun Belt Conference.  The Aggie won 16 more games than they did in 2008 and finished with 29 wins at home.  With its winning ways, NM State went into the WAC tournament as the No. 4 seed and eventually ousted No. 1 seed San Jose State and No. 2 seed Louisiana Tech before falling to Fresno State on Championship Day losing 9-7 and 5-3.  The Aggies did place three players on the all-tournament team including outfielder Richard Stout, infielder Mike Sodders and right hand pitcher DJ Simon.

Looking Back: NM State opened the 2010 season 0-3 after falling 4-2 to Washington, 9-3 to Gonzaga and 2-1 in 10 innings to Missouri in the first week of play at the Cactus Classic in Tucson, Ariz.  NM State is now well above .500 on the season after taking a series from Akron as well as a series from St. Joseph's.  The Aggies took two of three games from UC-Santa Barbara (March 20-21), which started a 12-game winning streak that ended April 10 with a 17-2 loss to Nevada.  NM State dropped two out of three games to Georgia State (March 12-13), who has one of the nation's leading offenses.  The Aggies fell 36-16 to Georgia State, March 14, which was the largest deficit for the Aggies this season.   The Aggies swept Wofford in a four-game series at home March 26-28 and swept Houston Baptist in Houston, Texas (April 1-3).  After taking two out of three games from San Jose State and sweeping both Sacramento State and Louisiana Tech, the Aggies were swept by Fresno State and took only one game from the Rainbows to wrap up the WAC regular season.

NM State Versus Southern California: This will be the first ever meeting between the Trojans and the Aggies. 

Leading the way offensively for USC is Ricky Oropesa with a .348 batting average and 54 RBI. Joe De Pinto adds 65 hits, while Oropesa leads the team with 14 home runs.  Right-hand pitcher Logan Odom, who will face the Aggies in game one of the two-game series, has a 5.74 ERA in 31.1 innings pitched.  He has 20 strikeouts and is 1-0 in his 20 appearances.

Looking Ahead: NM State now looks forward to the Western Athletic Conference tournament, May 26-30 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.  The Aggies have clinched a spot in the tournament but will not know who they face until next weekend.  All games will air on the radio at KSNM AM 570 with Jeff Matthews giving the play-by-play action. Fans can also listen to the radio broadcasts and watch webcasts and see live stats through the Internet at www.NMStateSports.com.

In the Conference:  The Aggies finished the 2010 WAC regular season with a 14-9-1 record. The 14 league wins is the most for NM State since joining the WAC in 2006.  The Aggies are currently in position to clinch at least the No. 2 seed in the WAC Tournament, which would give it a bye.  A lot is yet to be determined with the rest of the WAC teams wrapping up the season this coming weekend.  The Nevada Wolf Pack must sweep Louisiana Tech to surpass the Aggies for the No. 2 position in the tournament.

The Aggies have to best batting average in the WAC at .352 on the season, while shortstop Ryan Aguayo leads the league in hits with 88 in 2010.  Senior Leo Aguirre isn't far behind with 82 hits on the season. Junior Chace Perkins leads the conference with 66 RBI on the season, while Aguayo has crossed the plate 74 times, which is tops in the WAC.  Aguirre's .402 batting average on the year is second best in the conference, while Perkins' 15 bombs is in the top-three.

Streaking: The Aggies posted winning streaks of 10 and 12 this season, however they also had a seven game losing streak.  As far as hit streaks go, Leo Aguirre is currently on a season-high 14-game hitting streak.  The longest hitting steak of the year came from Mike Sodders, who posted a 17-game hitting streak (Feb. 19-March 20), while Ben Harty's 16-game hitting streak (Feb. 27-March 27) is second best these season.

National Leaders:  According to Boydsworld.com, a website dedicated to showing national baseball statistics for the NCAA, the Aggies lead the nation in at-bats (2,074), runs (591), hits (731), RBI (554), total bases (1,211), and walks (360). Heading into week 15 of play, NM State is second in on-base percentage (.453), fourth in slugging percentage (.584), eighth in batting average (.352), eighth in doubles (142), and third in home runs (102).

Wallace Watch List: The College Baseball Foundation recently named New Mexico State shortstop Ryan Aguayo one of 25 finalists for the 2010 Brooks Wallace Award.

The Wallace Award, sponsored by Mizuno, goes to the nation's top shortstop and will be presented on July 2, 2010, in Lubbock, Texas as a part of the College Baseball Awards show.

Aguayo is currently holds a .373 batting average.  His play on defense is just as good as he has come up with a team-high 196 assists while committing just 17 errors to come up with a fielding percentage of .944. He has played in all 56 games this season and has started 54 of those games.

Hitting the Long Ball:  The Aggies lead the WAC and are third in the nation in home runs so far this season with 101. They were the first to get to 100 on the year.  They are averaging 1.82 home runs per game while five different Aggies have posted double-digit home runs figures this season.  Mike Sodders and Chace Perkins lead the team with 15 home runs each.  Perkins has the most home runs in a game this year.  He blasted three home runs against Saint Joseph's, March 6 at Presley Askew Field.

The Aggie record for home runs in a season 119 (2009) while the most home runs hit in a game was 10, which happened against Chicago State, Feb. 27, 2009.

The NCAA record for most home runs in a season is 188, which was done by LSU in 1997.

On the Road: The Aggies are 15-6 on the road this season, while going 8-4 on the road in conference play.  As a team, NM State is hitting .313 when heading to an opponents park, while tallying 43 doubles and 29 home runs.  Junior centerfielder Wes Starkes has the best batting average for the Aggies when on the road at .369 and junior Chace Perkins has posted a team-high five homers on the road.

Freshman Tyler Mack and sophomore Justin Cooper are both 3-1 on the road this season, while junior Dan Reid is 2-1.  Reid has a team-high 21 K's when on the road, while Mack has posted 19.

NM State is 1-3 when playing at a neutral site, defeating Texas Tech 6-2 in Midland, Texas, March 30.

Ward Owns All-Time Win Record: New Mexico State head baseball coach Rocky Ward recently became the all-time winningest coach at NM State surpassing Jim Kwasny who tallied 300 wins from 1969-82.  Ward, who is in his 12th season as Aggie head coach, picked up win No. 301 when his team defeated Akron 8-3 in game one of a doubleheader, Saturday, Feb. 27 at Presley Askew Field.  NM State was victorious in game two as well and blasted the Zips 17-5 in the series finale to take Ward's win total to 307.  He currently has 334 wins on his career.

Coach Ward continues to push his student-athletes year-in and year-out while also overcoming adversity and changing conference three times during his time at NM State.  His 2003 team posted 43 wins, setting the school record for wins in a season; although, that Ward's 2009 team broke the record when it won 44 games.  NM State did, however, earn its first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and won the school's first ever NCAA Tournament game as the Aggies defeated UNLV 14-12 in the regional round.  That win came during a five-year span when NM State posted a record of 174-120 (2001-06), the most wins in a five-year span in the history of Aggie baseball.

Multiple Hits and RBI: Junior Ryan Aguayo has posted 28 multiple-games this season, which is tops for NM State.  He has one 5-plus hit game, which came against Georgia State in Las Cruces, N.M., March 14.  That day he marked six hits and seven RBI.  Aguayo also has the most multiple-RBI games with 21 on the year.

Senior Leo Aguirre has two games with five or more hits and he has posted four hits in a game four times this season, which is more than any other Aggie.  Junior Chace Perkins has the second-most multiple-RBI games with 20, while senior Ben Harty is the only NM State player to post at least five RBI in three games this season.  Harty and Aguirre have the most RBI in one game this year.  Harty posted eight RBI against Georgia State on March 14 and Aguirre had eight RBI against Wofford College on March 28.

Aggies Against California:  NM State is 9-6 against teams from California.  The Aggies swept Sacramento State but were swept by Fresno State.  As a team, NM State is hitting .312 when facing teams from California and have hit 21 homers. Senior California native Chris Auten has five bombs against the California teams and junior Wes Starkes is hitting a team-high .429 when facing them.

Cooper Gets Start Against Trojans:  Sophomore right-hand pitcher starts against the Trojans, Tuesday, May 18 in Los Angeles.  He heads into the game with a 4-2 record and has worked 58.1 innings this season.  He has struck out 42 batters this season and has walked 41.  His season-high of eight strikeouts came against Akron, February 28.  He pitched 7.1 innings at San Jose State as the NM State won 9-4.

DJ Simon Can Still Strike 'Em Out:  Senior DJ Simon, who is scheduled to start against USC, Wednesday, May 19, has struck out 41 batters on the season.  In 46.1 innings pitched this year, he has a 4-4 record as he has given up 66 hits in 14 appearances.  Simon has also score one run this year as a pinch-runner and has nine assists when on the mound.

Walk This Way:  The Aggies not only lead the WAC, but also lead the nation in walks with 360 on the season.  Seniors Chris Auten and Nate Shaver are tied for second in the WAC with 39 walks this season, while junior Ryan Aguayo is fourth in the league with 36 walks this season.  The Aggie finished the 2009 season as the NCAA leader in walks with 416.

Anderson, A Big Relief: Steven Anderson is a 6'3, right-handed senior from Markham, Ontario. Anderson has 19 appearances on the year with a 2-1 record and three saves. Anderson has finished the most games for NM State this season with 12 as he has struck out 18 batters in 20.2 innings pitched. Anderson also has two at-bats for the Aggie this year, after he hit .314 in 2009 with 27 hits, 23 RBI and eight homers.

Another Freshman Making a Difference: Parker Hipp is a true freshmen who has started 38 games and has appeared in 47 this year for NM State. Hipp is batting .351 in 148 at-bats to go along with 35 RBI. Hipp has a season-high of four hits at UC-Santa Barbara (3/21) and against Nevada (4/11) while his season-high of four RBI came against Louisiana Tech (5/1). Hipp has also been nominated for freshmen All-American this season. He has 52 hits and 41 runs scored heading into the final regular-season series of the year.

WAC Hitter of the Week (May 3): The league office named senior Leo Aguirre of the New Mexico State baseball team the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Baseball Hitter of the Week for the week April 26-May 2.  Aguirre, hit .588 (10-of-17) as the Aggies swept Louisiana Tech to sit in first place in league play.  He powered the Aggie offense with a 1.294 slugging percentage, a .600 on-base percentage and four home runs, one of them a grand slam.

The four home runs hit this past weekend takes him to 11 on the year, which is the most for Aguirre in a season.  He hit two his freshman year, four his sophomore season and eight in 2009.  In an 11-10 series opening come-from-behind win Aguirre chipped in going 1-for-3 two RBI and a sacrifice fly.  In game one of the doubleheader, Saturday, Aguirre played first base and wend 3-for-5 with three RBI, three runs scored and two home runs. The home run he hit in the bottom of the fifth gave NM State a 6-5 lead, a lead the Aggies wouldn't lose.  Aguirre chipped in again in game two of the doubleheader, as he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.  With the Aggies hammering Louisiana Tech 22-8 in the series finale, Aguirre posted a 4-of-6 day with two home runs, seven RBI and a grand slam. 

Aguirre was also named a "Louisville Slugger" National Player of the Week.

CollegeBaseballInsider.com National Players of the Week: CollegeBaseballInsider.com named Leo Aguirre one of two National Players of the Week after went 10-for-17 (.588) in a four-game sweep of Louisiana Tech with four home runs, including a grand slam. Aguirre scored seven and drove in 13. He had an on-base percentage of .600 and slugging percentage of 1.294. Aguirre went 4 for 6 in the finale against the Bulldogs with two homers and seven RBI.

Shaver Named WAC Hitter of the Week: Senior Nate Shaver was named Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week by the WAC office, Monday, April 12, for his play during the week of April 5-11.  Shaver, a native of The Dalles, Ore., was errorless in the outfield for NM State, while he led the team at the plate with a consistent bat as he was 10-for-14 at the plate without striking out for a .714 batting average.  Shaver posted two doubles, a triple and three RBI to help the Aggies to a 2-1-1 record against the Wolf Pack.  Shaver helped his on-base percentage with a .765 on-base percentage against Nevada that week.  He added two walks and was hit by a pitch once.

Aguirre Named WAC Hitter of the Week: Senior Leo Aguirre team has been named the Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Baseball Hitter of the Week for the week of March 29-April 4 as announced by the WAC office, Monday, April 5.

Aguirre, a senior from Austin, Texas earned his first WAC Hitter of the Week honor as he led the Aggies to a 5-0 record last week as the team extended its winning streak to 11 games.  Aguirre hit .565 going 13-of-23 at the plate to help record wins over Texas Tech and Houston Baptist.  He did not strike out once in his 23 at-bats going 3-for-3 against the Red Raiders and 10-for-20 against HBU. After a great week with the bat, Aguirre leads the WAC with a .444 batting average.  He posted six doubles, seven RBI, and seven runs scored to go along with a .826 slugging percentage and a .630 on-base percentage.  Playing first base for most of the week, Aguirre was able to stay error free in helping the Aggies commit only five errors in five games played that week.

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Regional Player of the Week:  Senior Leo Aguirre was named West Region Player of the Week by CollgeBaseballInsider.com for his play during the week of March 29-April 4. Aguirre batted .565 (13 for 23) as the Aggies put together a 5-0 week. Aguirre had six doubles, seven runs and seven RBI. He did not strike out during the week and posted an on-base percentage of .630 and slugging percentage of .826. Aguirre went 3 for 3 against Texas Tech and 10 for 20 in a four-game series at Houston Baptist.

Big Win For Aggies; Biggest Loss for Hawks:  The 33-1 win over Saint Joseph's was the biggest loss for the Hawks in the program's history.  Thirty runs was the most runs SJU had ever given up, which it did to Vanderbilt back in 1986.  The Aggies are in the top-10 in the NCAA record books for the largest winning margin.  They defeated Western New Mexico 35-0, April 7, 1981.

It Was A Long One:  Everyone in attendance at the 35-16 loss got to experience game that lasted 4:40.  It was nine innings long but the base runners continued to cross the plate extending the time of the game.  No records are kept in the Official NCAA record book for the longest amount of time for a game, but the most innings played in a game is 22.  Baylor played 22 innings against Houston on Feb. 21, 1999 and Colorado defeated Nebraska in 22 innings, April 26, 1974.

WAC Hitter of the Week (March 23): The Western Athletic Conference announced designated hitter/catcher Ben Harty of the New Mexico State baseball team as the Verizon Wireless WAC Baseball Hitter of the week for the week of March 15-22.

After hitting .480 from March 15-22, Harty bettered his average by hitting .500 that week, going 7-for-14 against the best pitching staff in the Big West Conference.  Harty blasted a team-high three home runs and slugged 1.214 as the Aggies scored 33 runs in three games.  Harty hit his first homer of the week in a 10-9 loss to the Gouchos, where the Aggies lost the game in the final inning.  Harty homered to right-centerfield starting the Aggies' four-run ninth inning that temporarily gave them the lead.  In game two of the doubleheader with the Gouchos where the Aggies had to come-from-behind to win 12-7, Harty went 3-of-5 with three runs scored and three RBI.  He also added two home runs in that game and was robbed of another at the fence in centerfield. 

WAC Hitter of the Week (March 8): New Mexico State senior third baseman Wade Reynoso was named Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Baseball Hitter of the Week for the week of March 1-7, as announced by the league office, Monday, March, 8.  Reynoso helped NM State to a 4-2 record that week as his team took one of two games from then No. 20 New Mexico and three out of four games from Saint Joseph's.  He batted .522 and registered a 1.000 slugging percentage over the six games.

Reynoso recorded a season-high six at-bats, a season-high four hits and a season-high six RBI against UNM to lead the Aggies to a 17-8 victory.  Although he didn't get the start in the opening game of the series against Saint Joseph's, Reynoso had a good day at the plate 2-for-3 with three RBI, a double and two runs scored.  In game one of Saturday's doubleheader, he was 3-of-5 at the dish with another double.  The second game of the doubleheader saw Reynoso come up with three RBI, which came when he blasted a home run to right field.  Reynoso ended the week with a 2-for-2 day at the plate, which included another home run to take his total to five on the year

Reid Named WAC Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 22): The Western Athletic Conference announced its first Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week honors, Monday, Feb. 22 and junior Dan Reid has been selected as WAC Pitcher of the Week for the week of Feb. 15-21. Reid, threw 6.0 innings against Missouri in his debut as an Aggie. Reid struck out seven batters and walked one while giving up only one run which was unearned. Reid gave up just five hits in six innings of work.

Preseason All-WAC: NM State was selected to finish second in the 2010 Western Athletic Conference regular season in a vote by the league's head coaches.  The coaches also voted senior Jared Jordan and sophomore Scott Coffman to the preseason all-WAC team.  The Aggies received 27 points and one first place vote after finishing the 2009 season with a 44-17 overall record and a 12-12 conference record.  NM State finished the season losing in the championship game of the WAC Tournament to Fresno State, which was picked to win the league once again this year. 

Jordan was selected as the preseason all-WAC utility player after he was 7-3 on the mound with 53 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings pitched.  He also hit .365 in 2009 with six doubles, five home runs and 20 RBI.  Coffman was selected by the league's coaches as one of two relief pitchers on the preseason all-WAC team.  As a freshman, Coffman made 26 appearances and posted a 3-0 record with a 2.14 ERA.  He picked up 29 strikeouts in 21 innings and also earned one save.

Sodders on 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Candidate List: After being named to three Preseason All-American teams, senior Mike Sodders was named one of 30 NCAA student-athletes from across the country to be named as a candidate for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award as announced, Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Sodders, who led the Western Athletic Conference with a .422 batting average on an injured knee, carries a 3.0 grade point average and is on track to graduate in December of 2010 with a degree in business management and marketing.

To be eligible for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition.  An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Sodders Earns All-American: Mike Sodders earned a spot on the 2010 PING!Baseball Preseason All-American team, which was released Monday, Jan. 11.  Sodders, a second team selection by PING!Basebball, now has three preseason honors after he also earned spots on the NCBWA All-American team and after he was named to the 2010 Louisville Slugger All-American team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (CBN).  He is the first Aggie to ever be named to multiple preseason All-American teams.

Sodders is the first Aggie to be named to the PING!Baseball Preseason All-American team and the second to make an PING!Baseball All-American team as former Aggie slugger Joseph Scaperotta earned second-team honors after a good season in 2008.

Record Breaking Season: NM State broke a total of 16 team records and five individual records during the 2009 season.  One of the most unusual records broken this season came on May 2 when senior Justin Lucero was hit by pitches four times.  On multiple occasions an Aggie had been hit by pitches three times in a game, but Lucero was the first to be hit four times as the Aggies won 19-9 with Lucero crossing the plate three times.  An unexpected record was also broken this season when the Aggies set the record for the number of strikeouts in a game.  Four Aggie pitchers combined for 20 K's in a 12-11, 13-inning win over Houston-Baptist at Presley Askew Field, May 1.  Right-hander Daniel Reyes led the way with six Ks in three innings, while starter DJ Simon had five.  Reliever Scott Coffman contributed with four, while freshman Justin Cooper helped the cause with three and Erik Nyquist added with two.  The previous record at NM State was 17 strikeouts against No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette, March 26, 2005.

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