Aggie Baseball Starts Long Road Trip with the Keith LeClaire Classic
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  02/21/2013

THIS WEEK: The New Mexico State baseball team heads to Greenville, N.C. for the Keith LeClarie Classic Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Feb. 22-24. The Aggies take on East Carolina at 3:00 pm (MT) on Friday before facing Illinois, Saturday at 4:00 p.m. NM State finishes up the tournament, Sunday, Feb. 24 against Ohio at 11:00 a.m.  

MEDIA COVERAGE: NM State baseball fans will have plenty of opportunities to follow their Aggies on the radio again this season with the voice of Aggie baseball, Jeff Matthews on KSNM AM 570. The Aggies will broadcast 34 baseball games this season, plus any in the post season.

There are no broadcasts for the Aggies' upcoming tournament against East Carolina, Illinois and Ohio in the Keith LeClaire Classic. The first broadcast is on Feb. 26, when the Aggies face NC State and airs as a tape delayed at 6:00 p.m.

Live stats are available all season long by going to www.NMStateSports.com and clicking on the live events tab. Live stats are free of charge all season.

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 and searching for NMSU Athletics as well as The Aggie Student-Athlete.

TICKETS:  Fans can call the Pan American Center ticket office or call (575) 646-1420 to purchase tickets ahead of time or walk up to the ticket booth at Presley Askew Field to buy tickets the day of the game.

Season tickets for baseball are $49 for adults, $44 for NM State faculty and staff and $44 for senior citizens. There is also a partial season-ticket package that includes 19 for only $29.  Single game tickets cost $6 for adults and $4 per ticket with groups of ten or more. Children 12-and-under can enter the games for free, while NM State students also get in free.

ABOUT THE AGGIES: The Aggies opened the season with a 2-2 record at home against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. NM State won the season-opener 4-3 before falling 11-0 in game two on opening day. The Ag­gies then lost 13-8 in game three before rebounding to win the series finale 16-8. Senior Bobby Lecount leads the league with eight RBI after going 6-of-13 at the dish against UW-Milwaukee. He started the season picking up at least one hit in each of the four games played last week. Junior catcher Tanner Rust hit .333 over the four games and collected two RBI, two walks, three doubles, six hits and six runs scored .  Senior starting pitcher Adam Mott went 8.0 innings and struck out seven batters while giving up only two walks, all while facing 33 batters in the first game of the year.

NM State is hoping for a successful repeat of last year with 35 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.  Head coach Rocky Ward is looking for new leadership after losing key players from last season's team.  The Aggies have to replace right-hand pitcher and closer Scott Coffman, school record holder for saves in a season and career, along with shortstop Zach Voight.  Ward believes that athletic-wise and physically, the team has not lost anything from last season's team.

Ward hopes that returning shortstop Parker Hipp and outfielder Kyle Phillips will lead the team in 2013 along with pitcher Adam Mott and Las Cruces native Michael Ormseth. NM State also has strong and developing newcomers in freshman Kent Blackstone, who is predicted to start at second base, while junior transfer Quinnton Mack looks to be a starter in the outfield.


East Carolina:  The Aggies will go up against East Carolina, Illinois and Ohio this weekend as part of the Keith LecClair Classic, hosted by East Carolina.  The Aggies will take on their host East Carolina on Feb. 22.  The Pirates went 36-24-1 in 2012 and made their way into the NCAA Tournament.  East Carolina is coached by Billy Godwin, who enters his eighth season as head coach of the Pirates.  Godwin has earned a record of 253-162-1 as the head coach of the Pirates.  East Carolina enters the weekend at 0-2 after losing a pair of games to Virginia. 

This game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

Illinois: The Aggies will take on the Fighting Illini, Feb. 23, in their second game of the Keith LeClaire Classic.  The Illini head into the weekend with a  record of 1-2 after dropping two games to Tennessee Tech.  Illinois is coached by Dan Hartleb, who is in his eighth season as the Illini head coach.  Hartleb has been on the Illini staff for the past 23 seasons, including his eight as head coach.  Hartleb is currently tied for sixth for most wins in school history with 209 victories. 

The Aggies and Illini met twice in 1996 and split the series 1-1.

Ohio: The Aggies will face the Ohio Bobcats in their final game in the Keith LeClaire Classic.  The Bobcats went 28-29 last season under coach Joe Carbone who left the team after 24 years of being the head coach and earning a 689-611 record.  Rob Smith, who becomes the ninth coach in program history, now coaches Ohio. 

The Bobcats enter the weekend 0-2 after losing to Belmont and Valparaiso.  Smith loses several pitchers who helped the team keep a 3.73 team ERA, which was good for second in the MAC.  He will welcome back the top three hitters from last season, led by first baseman Jake Madsen. 

This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

RECORD WATCH: As a senior, Parker Hipp is close to putting his name at the top of the NM State record books in multiple categories. Early into the season, Hipp is 45 games away from leading the games played career record (207). If Hipp puts up 48 more runs this season, he will break the career record of 192.  In career hits, Hipp will need to post 59 for the career record.  Fifty-one singles is all Hipp needs to put his name at the top of the record books over Henry Apodaca, who set the record 32 years ago. Hipp only needs 15 doubles for career record. At a 122 base on balls, Hipp will have to be walked 21 times this season to break the career record of 143. Hipp is only seven sacrifice flies from breaking that career record and 63 RBI from becoming the leader in RBI.

TAKE YOUR BASE:  The Aggies drew 34 walks last week against UW-Milwaukee while limiting the Panthers to 21 walks.  The Aggies have started strong in drawing walks this season as they continue to be patient at the plate. 

Last season the Aggies were ranked second in the nation with 347 walks.  Tanner Waite led the nation in walks with 69 and Parker Hipp also walked 57 times and was ranked sixth in the nation.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Aggies will remain on the road after the Keith LeClaire Classic and travel to Raleigh, N.C., where they will meet North Carolina State for mid-week two-game series on Feb. 26-27.  This will mark the first meeting between the two schools.  The Wolfpack are coming off a successful 2012 campaign where they earned a 43-20 record and earned a trip to the NCAA Super Regional round before falling to Florida.  The game can be heard in Las Cruces on the radio on KSNM AM 570 with coverage starting at 6 p.m. (Tape Delay).

The Aggies will stay on the road after their mid-week series with NC State and travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., where they'll take on Wake Forest for a weekend series on March 1-3.  Wake Forest and the Aggies met for the first time in 2012 where the Aggies won three of the four games played.  The game can be heard in Las Cruces on KSNM AM 570 live on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday's game will be joined in progress at 12 p.m.

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