NM State Baseball Adds Game to Weekend Series; Takes on Chicago State in Three-Game WAC Series and One Non-Conference Game
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  05/13/2014

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team will host its final home series of the 2014 season this weekend, May 15-17 as Chicago State comes to Las Cruces. Thursday and Friday games are scheduled for 6:05 p.m. (MT) starts, while Saturday’s game has been moved up to 12:05 p.m. so that a doubleheader can be played.  The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader will be a seven inning non-conference game and will be played approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.

All four games will be broadcast live of KGRT 570 AM with Jeff Matthews bringing you all the action from Presley Askew Field, while the broadcast can also be heard from anywhere around the world online at www.NMStateSports.com.

Looking Back

The Aggies hit the road last weekend, traveling to a three game series against Bakersfield May 9-11.  NM State dropped the first two games against the Roadrunners but managed to pull out a victory in the last game of the weekend in a 19-7 blowout.  The combined scores for the weekend were 27-26 in Bakersfield favor.  NM State ended the trip 10-11 in WAC play while the Roadrunners are now 14-10.

Kristoffer Koerper led the Aggies from the plate in the series, batting an even .500 in 14 at bats, recording seven hits and a team-high eight RBI.  With one home run and two doubles, Koerper recorded 12 total bases for a team leading .857 slugging percentage.  Seven of his RBI and all of his multiple base hits came in the last game against Bakersfield (May 11).  As a team the Aggies had a .339 batting average as a team, recording 41 hits and nine multiple base hits. 

Robert Kraft had the best outing on the mound over the weekend for the Aggies, recording a 1.69 ERA in 5.2 innings of work.  Kraft only gave up one run and five hits in his one start and appearance of the series. Christopher Bradley led NM State in strikeouts with three.  Riley Barr recorded a perfect ERA of 0.00 in his 2.2 innings pitched, giving up three hits and striking out two batters.

Aggies against Chicago State

The Aggies head into the weekend matchup against Chicago State with a 19-27 overall record and 10-11 in WAC play.  The Cougars are 15-35 overall this season, going 3-18 in WAC play.  Since their first meeting in 2009, the Aggies have swept the Cougars winning all four meetings.  Chicago State is coached by second year head coach Steve Joslyn.  This is Joslyn’s and the Cougars first year in the WAC, playing in the Great Western Conference prior to this season.

Chicago State is led from the plate by junior outfielder Jordan Stroschein.  Stroschein is batting .298 on the season, leading the team in hits with 59 and total bases with 77 for a .389 slugging percentage.  He also has 28 RBI on the season, trailing behind team leader Chase Matheson who has 33.  The team only has seven home runs on the season, but has had 96 extra base hits.

From the mound the Cougars are led by Junior Eric Hall who has a 3.33 ERA in 81 innings pitched.  Recording 21 strikeouts on the season, Hall has given up 86 hits and 30 earned runs.  The team is lead in strikeouts by Andrew Wellwerts with 50 on the season.

Series History

2009     W           28-2

                W           13-6

                W           15-0

                W           20-4

Aggie in the Last 10 Games

NM State has gone 3-7 in their last 10 games and 3-6 in conference play.  The Aggies went 1-2 in all three of their series against Utah Valley, Bakersfield and Grand Canyon.  NM State dropped a non-conference game against Arizona State on April 29, in a 2-0 loss.

Derek Umphres led NM State from the plate with a .300 batting average.  He recorded 12 hits and eight RBI in 40 at bats and with team high 16 total bases had a .400 slugging percentage.  Kristoffer Koerper also had a good eye for the Aggies, batting a .289 average in 38 at bats.  He recorded 11 hits and a team high 11 RBI while recording three extra base hits and 16 total bases for a .421 slugging percentage.

Going 1-1 from the mound over the last 10 games, Riley Barr recorded a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings pitched.  Barr gave up 10 hits and four earned runs, while striking out 12.  Billy Conard put in 20.1 innings of work, recording a 3.10 ERA and 15 strike outs.  Christopher Bradley went 0-2 over the 10 game stretch, throwing 14.1 innings and a team high 16 strike outs.

Aggies at Home

The Aggies are 11-12 at home this season and 3-6 in conference play.  NM State has taken three home series 3-1 with the first coming against Saint Mary’s Feb. 14-16, the second against SIU-Edwardsville Feb. 21-23 and the last coming against Seattle U April 17-18. 

Kristoffer Koerper has been outstanding at home from the plate.  Batting a team-high .370 average, Koerper has recorded 30 hits and 26 RBI in 81 at bats, also hitting nine extra base hits for a .556 slugging percentage.  Michael Paulson also has had success at home, hitting .310 in 84 at bats and recording 26 hits and 17 RBI.

Christopher Bradley has recorded a 3.48 ERA in six appearances at home for the Aggies and a 1-2 record.  In 33.2 innings pitched, Bradley has given up 29 hits and 13 earned runs and struck out a team high 36 batters.  Going 3-1 at home, Billy Conard leads the team in wins in five starts and six appearances.  Conard has recorded 25 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched.

Aggies in the WAC

The Aggies are 10-11 in WAC play and currently sit at seventh in the standings.  Grand Canyon is not eligible for the WAC tournament this year and NM State has the sixth and final spot in the tournament pending North Dakota losing at least one game in their last series or the Aggies picking up at least one win this weekend. 

In all games this season NM State is currently sitting fourth in team batting average in the WAC with a .269 and fifth in slugging percentage with a team average of .359.  The Aggies lead the WAC in on base percentage with a .372, second in runs scored with 269 and first in RBI with 247.  Individually, Michael Medina is second in the WAC in on base percentage with .461 and also third in runs scored with 40.  Kristoffer Koerper is third in the standings for RBI with 41.

From the mound in all games this season, the Aggies are third in strike outs with 296 and tied for second in saves with eight.  NM State is also second in strikeouts per game with 6.72.   Riley Barr is fourth in the WAC with a 2.58 ERA and Christopher Bradley is tied for fifth in strikeouts with 61. 

In WAC play only the Aggies are fifth in RBI with 111 and fourth in on base percentage with .369.  NM State is sitting at fourth in strikeouts with 139 in WAC play and second in strikeouts per game with 6.90.  Medina is first in WAC play with a .510 on base percentage and Barr is fourth in ERA with a 2.00 against WAC opponents.

Aggies in the Nation

NM State is ranked in the top 75 with its .370 on base percentage (57th) and 60th in scoring (5.7/game). The team is 19th in the nation for double plays per game averaging 1.04 per game. Individually, Michael Medina is 23rd in the nation with 38 base on balls averaging .83 per game which places him 14th in the nation for base on balls per game. Medina places in the top 75 of 250 ranked with his .461 on base percentage. Closer Trey Gonzales sits at 109 in the nation with six saves on the season. Senior Kris Koerper places in the top 75 for runs batted in per game (73rd) averaging .93 per game.

NM State Multiple Hits/RBI

NM State has a total of 14 players who have had multiple hits in at least one game this season. Derek Umphres is the leader for the Aggies with 19 total games with multiple hits and 15 games where he has had two hits. Kristoffer Koerper leads the team with six games with three hits. Umphres, Michael Paulson and Koerper are the only Aggies to have four hits in a single game. Paulson is currently tied with Michael Medina for the longest hitting streak on the season with eight. Medina currently has the team-high reached base streak this season with 22, while Kristoffer Koerper is tied with his brother Joseph Koerper as the two are second for NM State with streaks of 14 reached bases on the season. With 11 total games of multiple RBI, five games with three RBI and two games where he actually had five RBI, Kristoffer Koerper leads NM State in each category.

Players to Watch

Infielder - Kent Blackstone

Sophomore infielder Kent Blackstone is batting .232 from the plate, and has recorded 33 hits and 13 RBI for the Aggies in 142 at bats.  Blackstone also has 26 runs scored on the season and 44 total bases on eight extra base hits for a .310 slugging percentage.

Blackstone had his season high in hits this season in hits of three in three games, with the last coming against Bakersfield on May 11.  His season high in RBI (3) came against Oakland March 1.  Blackstone had his best game against Oakland where he also added three hits two runs scored on top of his three RBI in five at bats.

LHP – Christopher Bradley

Senior left-handed pitcher Christopher Bradley currently has a 4.98 ERA on the season and a 3-6 win-loss record.  He leads the team in innings pitched with 65 and has given up 71 hits and 36 earned runs with a team-high 61 strikeouts.  In 13 games started Bradley leads the team in opponent batting average, holding them to .285. 

Bradley had his career high in strikeouts in a home game against Utah Valley on May 2 where he sat down 10 batters.  He had his best ERA of the season of 2.70 in an 8-3 loss to Oakland on Feb. 28.  12 of his 13 starts this season Bradley has recorded three or more strikeouts every game.  Bradley is ninth in WAC play for strikeouts with 36 and tenth in strikeouts per game with seven.

RHP – Billy Conard

Billy Conard has made 14 appearances on the mound with 11 starts during the 2014 season for the Aggies. Pitching 62.0 innings, Conard holds a 4.94 ERA and has a 3-3 overall record. He has 48 strikeouts on the season with the most coming on May 3 against Utah Valley. During that game, Conard pitched season high 7.1 innings allowing six hits with 100 pitches. He earned the win after an Aggie 11-3 final score.

In conference play, Conard holds a 4.62 ERA with a 2-1 record in seven starts. He totals 29 strikeouts and holds his WAC opponents to a .293 batting average.

Infielder – Derek Umphres

Playing third base for the majority of the season, Umphres leads the Aggies from the plate with a team high .324 batting average.  Driving in 33 runs on the season, he has 55 hits and 15 extra base hits in 170 at bats.  With 78 total bases Umphres has a .459 slugging percentage and an on base percentage of .396. 

Umphres has 19 multiple hit games and nine multiple RBI games.  Umphres had his highest batting average against Saint Mary’s on Feb. 16, where he recorded two hits and one RBI in three at bats.  He had his season high in hits of four against Northern Colorado on April 4 and his season high in RBI of four against Utah Valley on May 3.

Umphres is currently on a five game hitting streak.  His longest hitting streak of the season was seven.

LHP – Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft has started 11 games for the Aggies with 16 overall appearances this season. He has pitched 53.0 innings, contributing a 4.92 ERA and holds a 2-3 record. On the year, Kraft tallies 29 strikeouts and holds his opponents to a .308 batting average. Kraft recorded a season-high two putouts, 7.1 innings pitched and six assists on March 15 as NM State played against UC Davis.

During conference play, Kraft has not been completely consistent with his pitches as he holds a 7.64 ERA with a 1-1 record in eight appearances. Against WAC opponents, Kraft has tallied eight strikeouts and allows a .315 batting average.

Outfielder – Michael Medina

Senior outfielder Medina has started all 46 games for the Aggies this season spending time in both centerfield and right field. He has batted leadoff for NM State in all 46 games this season. He is batting .288 on the season with an on-base percentage of .461, which leads the team. He has totaled 40 runs on 47 hits including four doubles, two triples and two homeruns. He leads the team and the WAC with 38 walks. He has currently reached base safely in 22 consecutive games, which is the longest streak for the Aggies, and is also tied for the longest hitting streak at eight games. Medina has 14 multiple-hit games this season including four games of three hits.

Infielder – Jory Goldstrom

Infielder Jory Goldstrom has played in 38 games for the Aggies this season, starting 28, 26 of those starts have been at second base. He is currently batting .250 on the season while scoring 13 runs. He has 17 RBI and 31 total bases. He has a .310 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .348 on the season. Goldstrom has six multiple-hit games including a season-high three hits in the game against Oakland (March 1). He also scored a season-high three runs against Oakland (March 2).

Outfielder – Michael Paulson

Playing outfielder for the Aggies, senior Michael Paulson currently holds a .307 batting average in 166 at bats, recording 51 hits and 34 RBI.  With 61 total bases, he has a .367 slugging percentage.  Paulson has recorded 16 multiple hit games and 9 multiple RBI games.  He is tied for first on the team for longest hitting streak with eight and is currently on a six game hitting streak.

Paulson recorded his season-high in hits of four against Northern Colorado on April 4 and his season-high in RBI against Bakersfield on May 11.  Paulson is hitting a .333 batting average in WAC play and has driven in 17 RBI, recorded 28 hits and 34 total bases in 84 at bats.

RHP – Trey Gonzales

Senior Trey Gonzales has been seen on the mound 16 total times and holds a 3.47 ERA. Gonzales is credited with six saves during the 2014 season for the Aggies ranking him 109th in the nation. With a 0-1 record, Gonzales has pitched 23.1 innings with 12 strikeouts and allowing a .321 batting average from opponents. In conference play, Gonzales has tallied three saves pitching 12.2 innings. He contributed eight strikeouts and held his opponents to a .396 batting average.

Infielder – Kyle Graf

Infielder Kyle Graf has played in 20 competitions for the Aggies during the 2014 season. Graf hits at a .143 average in 28 at bats contributing three RBI to the Aggies season. Graf recorded season highs in the NM State series against Grand Canyon where he hit a double, had two total bases, one runs scored and one RBI. In Western Athletic Conference play, Graf adds four total bases and a .188 batting average.

Head Coach Rocky Ward Gets Win No. 450

In his 18th season as the Aggies head coach, Ward has racked up the most wins in NM State history with 451, with the second most wins for a coach being held by Jim Kwasny (1969-82) who had 300 wins at NM State. The 450th victory came against Utah Valley on May 3, when the Aggies won by a score of 11-3 in front of the NM State home crowd. Ward entered the 2010 season just two wins shy of Kwasny. Recording 36 wins that season put Ward at the top of the All-Time win list.  Ward will be looking for win No. 451 against Bakersfield on May 9.

Having started his coaching career with the Aggies in 1997, Ward has been the lone head coach for NM State for 16 of his 18 years at the school.  In 2001 and 2002, Ward shared coaching duties with College Baseball Hall of Famer and father, Gary Ward.  The best record the Aggies have achieved under Ward came in 2009, where he coached the Aggies to a 44-17 record.

Koerper Brothers

Senior first basemen Kristoffer Koerper and sophomore outfielder brother Joseph have both been a major part to the Aggies success this year.  Natives of Las Cruces, N.M.,  Kristoffer has a .320 batting average on the season and has recorded 54 hits and a team-high 41 RBI in 169 at bats while Joseph has a .279 average in 104 at bats, recording 29 hits and 12 RBI.

Kristoffer leads the Aggies in slugging percentage with a .462 and a team high  of 78 total bases.  Joseph has 35 total bases for a .337 slugging percentage.

Joseph’s longest hitting streak of the season is four and Kristoffer has a six game hitting streak.  Kristoffer has also had 13 multiple hit games on the season and his brother has added eight of his own.  Kristoffer leads the Aggies with 11 multiple RBI games and Joseph is second on the team for reached base streaks with his season high of 14.

Kristoffer hit .500 over the weekend against Bakersfield, going 7-of-14 from the plate recording a walk, two doubles, a home run and eight RBI.  He tallied a sacrifice fly in game one of the series to help the Aggies avoid being shutout and picked up a hit and a walk in game two.  His big performance came in the series finale when he went 6-for-7 at the dish with a season high seven RBI and using a wood bat.  His seven RBI game is the most for any Aggie this season.  He currently ranks third in the WAC in RBI (41).

Umphres Name WAC Hitter of the Week

Third baseman Derek Umphres was named the Western Athletic Conference Baseball Hitter of the Week for the week of March 31-April 6. This is his first player of the week honor for Umphres.

Umphres, a sophomore from Safford, Ariz. (Safford HS), hit .500 (8-for-16), striking out only one time in four games last week. The Aggies went 3-1 on the week, while sweeping WAC opponent Northern Colorado and falling to in-state rival New Mexico.

Umphres picked up seven singles and a home run while finishing the week with nine RBI and a .688 slugging percentage. Umphres also tallied two walks and two sacrifice flies while not allowing a single error on defense. He did what he could in a loss to the Lobos on April 2 as he was 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. In a series-opening win over Northern Colorado, Umphres went 4-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored.

Looking Ahead

The Aggies are set to enter the 2014 Western Athletic Conference Tournament currently sitting in the No. 6 seed on May 21-25 in Mesa, Ariz. As the No. 6 seed, NM State would take on the No. 3 team on May 21 at 7 p.m. The Aggies need to win one of the games during their three game WAC series against Chicago State on May 15-17 or Northern Colorado would have to lose one of their games the weekend of the 16-18 for NM State to advance to the tournament.

Aggies in the WAC Tournament

Since joining the WAC in 2006, the Aggies have made the WAC Tournament six times.  After missing the WAC Tournament for the first two years, the Aggies made their first appearance in 2008, where they lost their first game against Hawai’i 7-11 and then to Sacramento State 5-8.

In 2009 NM State would go 3-2 in the tournament, losing to Fresno State in two games (7-9, 3-5) in the WAC Tournament Championship.  The Aggies beat Fresno State (7-4), Louisiana Tech (6-5) and San Jose State (10-9).

The Aggies last appearance came in 2013 when the Aggies went 1-2 in the tournament, losing their first game to Texas State (4-9), picking up a win in their second game against UT Arlington (4-3) and losing to Dallas Baptist (12-4) in their third and final game.

Overall, the Aggies have gone 4-12 in the WAC Tournament.

Tournament Overview

Year      Opponent           W/L      Score

2013     Dallas Baptist    L             12-4

                UT Arlington     W           4-3

                Texas State         L             9-4

2012     Fresno State      L             15-8

                Louisiana Tech L             15-12

2011     Nevada                                L             15-4

                Louisiana Tech L             9-3

2010     Nevada                                L             5-4

                Hawai’i                                L             13-7

2009     Fresno State      L             5-3

                Fresno State      L             9-7

                San Jose State    W           10-9

                Louisiana Tech W           6-5

                Fresno State      W           7-4

2008     Sacramento St. L             8-5

                Hawai’i                                L             11-7

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