LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Aggie baseball fans will get their first glimpse of head coach Rocky Ward’s 2014 New Mexico State baseball team on Saturday, Feb. 8, as the squad will take on former NM state players during the Annual Alumni Game exhibition at Presley Askew Field. The game is set for a 3 p.m. (MT) start and is free to the public.
Ward, who begins his 18th season as the Aggie skipper, will lead a team that was recently picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference by the WAC coaches and will begin its season Friday, Feb. 14, with a home matchup versus Saint Mary’s.
But before NM State kicks off its regular season, it will have to contend with the Aggie alumni squad, which will include some the best players from past NM State teams, including five from last year’s squad.
Pitchers Ryan Beck, Michael Ormseth, Evan Mott and Casey Collins, along with infielder Parker Hipp, all played during the 2013 Alumni Game as part of the Aggie squad. This year, however, they will be in the opposite dugout as they will all be part of the alumni team.
Beck and Hipp both continued their career at the next level after concluding their NM State careers in 2013. Beck was drafted by the Detroit Tigers while Hipp signed a free-agent contract with the Houston Astros.
Beck led the team with eight wins in 2013 and finished his Aggie career second on the all-time NM State list in games started (50) and strikeouts (308) while finishing third in wins (26). He also tied an Aggie record for wins in a season after finishing with 10 wins in 2011.
Hipp, meanwhile, left NM State as the school’s all-time leader in games played (213) and walks (159).
Other former Aggie standouts playing for the alumni include relief pitcher Scott Coffman (2009-12), who is the NM State record holder for career games pitched (108) and career saves (22). In 2011, Coffman also tied the record for saves in one season after posting nine saves. He tied former Aggie pitcher Orlando Griego, who had nine saves in 1989. Griego will also be a participant during Saturday’s game, as will Frankie Duran (2006-2009) who pitched in 91 games for NM State, second behind Coffman in career games pitched.
On the offensive side, the alumni team will be led by former Aggie outfielder Mark Aranda (2004-05), who in only two years at NM State belted 38 home runs, good enough for a tie for third in the Aggie record books. In 2005, Aranda hit 22 home runs and had 85 RBIs en route to being honored as a Louisville Slugger All-American.
Also playing for the alumni will be Leo Aguirre (2007-10) who finished his NM State career with 44 doubles and 160 RBIs, both still currently in the top 5 in the Aggie record book.
The Annual Alumni Game will also have a local flavor as former Aggies and Las Cruces natives Ormseth, Randy Montoya and Josh Loera will be part of the alumni team, while the current NM State squad will include Julian Heredia and brothers Joseph and Kristoffer Koerper, all of whom are also Las Cruces natives.
TENTATIVE ALUMNI TEAM ROSTER