This Week: The New Mexico State baseball team enters the 2012 Western Athletic Conference tournament this week as the No. 1 seed and will take on the lowest seed available on Thursday at 8pm (MT)in Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz. The WAC tournament is a double-elimination tournament so the Aggies will play another game on Friday with the time to be announced at the outcome of their first game.
Media Coverage: All games played by the Aggies in the 2012 WAC Tournament are scheduled to air over the radio waves in Las Cruces on KSNM AM 570 with Jeff Matthews giving the play-by-play action. Live stats are available online at NMStateSports.com free of charge and fans can listen to the radio broadcast from anywhere in the world by logging on to the Internet at www.NMStateSports.com for a fee. A video feed will be available for a fee on the Internet at WACSports.com.
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 @NMSU Athletics.
Ticket Information: Advance tickets for this year's tournament can be purchased online at WACSports.com or by downloading online. Tickets are $30 for an all-session pass including access to a guaranteed 10 games. On day of game, tickets may be purchased at the Mesa HoHoKam Box Office located at 1235 N. Center Street, 480-644-4451. Food and beverages will be available during the tournament. See the complete tournament schedule, featuring both afternoon and evening game options.
About the Aggies: The NM State baseball team earned a share of WAC regular season champion. The Aggies wrapped up the season by finishing off San Jose State, Sunday afternoon, winning 15-2 in a run-rule shortened seven inning game. It's the Aggies' first regular season championship in program history.
The Aggies hope that earning a regular season championship and having a successful non-conference season against a tough schedule will help in earning an NCAA Regional bid.
Sunday's championship clinching win was also important for several other reasons. First and most importantly is it gives the Aggies a first round bye and an extra day of rest. This is an Aggie ball club that has played eight games in the last nine days with just two days off (Monday and Thursday). The Aggies' pitching staff and in particular senior closer Scott Coffman (9.1 IP in that stretch) could use the rest.
In winning their share of the regular season title the Aggies played just about as well as they could have played. In four games in California (including the non-conference tilt against CSU-Bakersfield) the Aggies did not trail at any point in the four games and they led for 32 of the 34 innings they played with only the first two innings yesterday being the exception (0-0 tie through two). If anyone thinks that the Aggies backed into their title they are sorely mistaken. The Aggies had to do one of the most difficult things in baseball and that is to sweep a road series in conference play. They had to win when everything was on the line.
After a three-week battle that saw the Aggies lose nine out of ten games, New Mexico State very well may be the hottest team in the league heading into the tournament. They've won four in a row and five out of their last seven games and some of the players that might have been slumping are now suddenly red-hot.
The Aggies won't know their opponent until late Wednesday night. The top seed in the tournament gets the lowest remaining seed in the winner's bracket. They could get one of three opponents, 6-seed Louisiana Tech, 5-seed Fresno State or 4-seed Hawai'i. The one opponent they won't get is 3-seed Nevada. Sacramento State, the 2-seed, will draw the highest remaining team in the winner's bracket from Wednesday's games.
The importance of Sunday's win it gives the Aggies the ability to start Ryan Beck in the first game of the tournament with nearly a full week of rest and then having the option of starting either Adam Mott or Michael Ormseth, who threw only 70 pitches on Sunday.
NM State has had six different WAC Hitter of the Week selections and one WAC Pitcher of the Week selections so far this year. Sophomore Tanner Rust is the most recent selection as he joins junior catcher Zac Fisher, junior centerfielder Kyle Phillips, senior infielder Kurt Snowley, senior outfielder Bryan Karraker, junior designated hitter Cody Edwards and junior left-hand pitcher Ryan Beck.
The Aggies head into the tournament hitting .306 (No. 20 Nationally) on the year and .276 in WAC play. NM State has posted 449 runs (No. 3 Nationally) and 327 walks (No. 1 Nationally). The Aggies are in the top 10 nationally in scoring (No. 3 - 8.2 runs/game), doubles (No. 5 - 124), sacrifice flies (No. 3 - 38) and on-base percentage (No. 4 - .418).
NM State was the 2011 NCAA batting average champion when it posted a .337 average. NM State is 13-3 when playing in Las Cruces and 1-3 on an opponent's field. The Aggies hit .347 at Presley Askew Field and only .220 on opposing team's turf. The Aggies lead the nation in runs scored, walks and RBI. NM State is also in the top five nationally in hits, doubles, on-base percentage and total bases.
Rocky Ward Picks Up Win No. 400: Head coach Rocky Ward tallied win No. 400 when the Aggies defeated CSU-Bakersfield 5-3 at Hardt Field in Bakersfield, Calif, Wednesday, May 16. Ward started his career at NM State in 1997 and has had four straight 30-plus win seasons (2009-12) and two seasons with 40 or more wins (2003 & 2009). He is No. 1 on the all-time wins list at NM State with Jim Kwasny 100 wins behind him in the second spot. Ward has led his team to 80 wins over two seasons (2009-10) and has defeated top ranked teams such as No. 1 Texas Tech in 1997 and No. 5 Arizona in 2012.
WAC OPPONENTS (2012 Series Notes)
NM State vs. Sacramento State: The Aggies won the series against Sacramento State 2-1, winning 16-4 and 6-1 in games one and two of the series. The two teams also played a non-conference game which NM State lost 8-7. As a team, the Aggies hit .317 in the series. Catcher Zac Fisher led NM State at the plate, hitting .538 in the series going 7-of-13 at the plate with four doubles and four RBI. Zach Voight recorded a team-high seven RBI in the series with a homerun.
Pitcher Adam Mott led the Aggies with a 1.29 ERA in the series, throwing seven complete innings, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out four batters. Pitcher Ryan Beck also won his outing in five innings of work, striking out four batters, allowing four runs on five hits.
The Aggies have faced Sacramento State one other time in the WAC Tournament back in 2008, falling 8-5.
NM State vs. Nevada: NM State took the regular season series from Nevada at home in 2012, winning the final two games of the series. The Aggies beat Nevada 13-6 and 7-6 in dramatic fashion in the final game of the series, on a Nevada error at first base in the bottom of the ninth.
The Aggies were led by Tanner Waite at the plate, who hit .364 with four hits in 11 plate appearances, including three runs. Three Aggies hit over .300 in the series (Waite, Zach Voight and Parker Hipp). Voight recorded a team-high five RBI with two doubles.
Pitchers Trey Ross and Scott Coffman each earned wins on the mound for the Aggies in the series. Ross recorded a 3.00 ERA with three innings pitched, allowing one run on four hits, while striking out two batters. Coffman threw two innings allowing no runs on three hits and three striking outs. Despite taking the loss Ryan Beck struck out a team-high seven batters in his six innings of work.
NM State has faced Nevada just once in the WAC Tournament back in 2010, falling to the Wolfpack 5-4.
NM State vs. Hawai'i: The Aggies lost the regular season series with Hawai'i three games to none in Honolulu in early May. NM State hit just .205 at the plate as a team, as Tanner Rust hit a team-high .375, going 3-of-8 at the plate, recording a double, a triple and one RBI. Zac Fisher and Cody Edwards each hit a homerun in the series as well.
On the mound, pitcher Michael Ormseth recorded a 1.29 ERA, allowing one run on five hits and four strike outs in five innings of work.
The Aggies have faced Hawai'i twice in the WAC Tournament in 2008 and 2010, falling in both games.
NM State vs. Fresno State: In the Aggies' three game series with Fresno State, NM State won one of three games, beating the Bulldogs 2-1 in 12 innings. The Aggies hit .234 as a team at the plate, recording 26 hits and 11 runs in the series. Parker Hipp led the Aggies with a .364 batting average, going 4-of-11. Robert Lecount was the hot bat for the Aggies in the series, hitting three homeruns and recording seven RBI on 4-of-13 at the plate and a 1.000 slugging percentage.
Pitcher Scott Coffman took the lone win for the Aggies in the series, pitching four and two-thirds innings, allowing one hit and striking out five batters. Adam Mott pitched seven and a third innings, recording a 1.23 ERA with four strike outs, allowing one run on five hits.
The Aggies have faced Fresno State twice in the WAC Tournament back in 2009, falling 9-7 and 5-3.
NM State vs. Louisiana Tech: The Aggies swept the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Las Cruces in late April. NM State won the first two games 3-2 and 4-3 and then the final game 10-0 in seven innings. As a team, NM State hit .279 with 17 runs on 24 hits, including two homeruns and 16 RBI. Tanner Waite, Robert Lecount and Zach Voight each hit .500 in the series. Waite was 5-of-10 at the plate with two hits, two RBI and a double. Lecount was also 5-of-10 with five runs, two RBI, two doubles and a homerun. Voight was 4-of-8 at the plate during the series.
Michael Ormseth, Scott Coffman and Robert Roher each earned a win in the series on the mound. Ormseth pitched five innings allowing no runs on four hits. Pitcher Ryan Beck pitched a team-high seven innings, recording eight strike outs.
The Aggies are 1-1 against Louisiana Tech in the WAC Tournament, earning their lone win in 2009, 6-5.
Aggies in the WAC: NM State finished the WAC regular season in a three-way tie for first place with Nevada and Sacramento State with an 11-7 conference record. Due to WAC tiebreaker criteria, the Aggies will receive the No. 1 seed in the WAC tournament.
Overall, NM State finished with a 35-20 record and led the WAC in most offensive categories. In all games played, the Aggies were first in the WAC in batting average (.307), slugging percentage (.455), on-base percentage (.418), runs scored (449), hits (586), RBIs (407), doubles (124), home runs (46), total bases (870), walks (327) and sacrifice flies (38). On the mound, NM State led the WAC in total wins with 35 and was second in the conference in total batters struck out with 406.
Individually in games played, the Aggies had multiple players in the top 10 of many offensive categories including seven of the top eight positions in runs scored and five of the top six positions in RBIs. Senior leftfielder Tanner Waite led the WAC with 53 total runs scored while fellow senior Bryan Karraker was right behind with 52. The top 5 was rounded out by three other Aggies including senior Kurt Snowley and junior Parker Hipp each with 46 runs scored and junior Robert Lecount with 43 runs scored on the season. Waite also led the WAC in on-base percentage (.485) and total walks (67). Hipp finished second in both categories with a .483 on-base percentage and 52 walks on the season. The Aggies had the top three positions in RBIs in the WAC. Junior Zac Fisher led the Aggie attack with 57 RBIs on the season. Senior Zach Voight finished second in the WAC with 54 RBIs while Hipp rounded out the top three with 49 RBIs. Fisher also led the WAC in batting average (.360), hits (77) and finished tied for the lead in doubles with 17 on the season. Hipp led the WAC in sacrifice flies with eight while Fisher finished third with six sacrifice flies. On the mound in all games played, Aggie right-hander finished tied for first in the WAC with eight wins on the season while left-handed junior Ryan Beck finished first in the WAC in strikeouts with 93, including 25 struck out looking which was tied for second, and tied for first with 14 games started. Aggie senior closer Scott Coffman finished tied for fourth with eight saves on the season.
During WAC play NM State finished with an 11-7 record. They led the WAC in on-base percentage (.387), walks (107) and sacrifice flies (13). The Aggies finished second in slugging percentage (.404), runs scored (108), RBIs (99) and home runs (14). NM State also finished third in batting average (.276), hits (164), triples (3) and total bases (240). On the mound in WAC play, NM State was tied for the conference lead in wins with 11 and finished second in batters struck out with 125.
Individually during WAC play, Waite led the conference in walks with 26. Hipp finished in third with 16 walks while Fisher finished in a tie for fourth with 13. Junior third baseman Lecount led the WAC with five home runs. Hipp also finished in a tie with his Aggie teammate Voight for second in RBIs during WAC play with 17 RBIs. Fisher finished fifth in on-base percentage at .462 while Hipp finished seventh with a .452 percentage. Hipp was also tied for second in sacrifice flies during WAC play with three. Waite finished fifth in batting average with a .362 average while Fisher finished seventh with a .349 average. In total runs scored during WAC play, Snowley finished tied for fourth with 14 runs scored while Lecount and Hipp finished one run behind in a tie for sixth with 13. On the mound during WAC play, Beck finished fourth with 35 batters struck out, including finishing tied for second with 11 batters struck out looking.