LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State baseball team returns to action at Presley Askew Field this week with a four-game Western Athletic Conference series against the Seattle U Redhawks from Thursday through Saturday, April 17-19.
Thursday’s game is scheduled for a 6:05 p.m. (MDT) start while Friday will feature a day-night doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. Friday’s second game will be a seven-inning game and will not be considered a conference matchup. Saturday’s series finale, meanwhile, is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
The series opener on Thursday and the closing game on Saturday will be broadcast live on television over the AggieVision network. Both games on Friday can be heard over the Las Cruces radio airwaves on KSNM AM 570 with Jeff Mathews on the call.
The Aggies come into this week’s WAC matchup with a 13-19 overall record and 5-4 in WAC play. NM State has not played a game since a 6-9 loss to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., on April 8. A four-game series at North Dakota scheduled for last weekend (April 11-13) was canceled due to inclement weather.
Sophomore third baseman Derek Umphres and senior first baseman Kris Koerper will try to help the Aggies improve on a 7-9 record at Presley Askew. Umphres leads the squad with a .350 batting average while Koerper is right behind at .333. Both infielders have seven doubles and three home runs on the season, one behind Ryan Wagner’s team-leading four home runs. Koerper leads the team in RBIs with 28 while Umphres has marked 24. NM State as a team leads the WAC with 181 total RBIs.
On the mound, Aggie ace Christopher Bradley has a 4.09 ERA and a team-leading 38 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched. Junior right-hander Riley Barr leads NM State with a 2.50 ERA and is undefeated at 4-0 in 15 appearances, including one start.
Seattle comes to Las Cruces with a .500 record (15-15). The Redhawks are one game ahead of the Aggies in the WAC standings, sitting at 6-3 in conference play. During its last WAC matchup, Seattle swept a three-game series from Northern Colorado to improve to 6-0 at home in conference play. The Redhawks, however, are winless (0-3) in WAC matchups on the road. Seattle is coming off a 9-4 victory over Portland on Tuesday, April 15, which pushed its winning streak to five games.
This Week’s Promotions
Thursday, April 17 is Baseball Bingo Night at Presley Askew Field. Head out and try your luck for some great Aggie prizes. Friday the concession stand will offer 50-cent ice creams throughout the evening while the series concludes with a Spring Egg Hunt on Saturday with game three starting at 1:05 p.m. (MT). For tickets call 575-646-1420 or purchase them the day of the game at the baseball ticket booth. Kids 12 years of age and under are free of charge.
NM State faced off with Air Force Academy on April 8, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Aggies were unable to come away with a victory as they fell to a score of 9-6, dropping their overall season record to (13-19) and (6-10) on the road. NM State took 6-1 lead after scoring twice in the top of the first, once more in the second and three times in the top of the third, but the Aggie offense was slowed down being shut out in the final six innings of the game. Falcon pitcher Trent Monaghan held NM State to just two hits in the six scoreless innings to earn the win. NM State was scheduled to play a four game series against North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D., from April 11, to April 13. However, poor weather conditions caused the series to be cancelled. NM State will square off against conference opponent Seattle in their next game on April 17, in Las Cruces N.M.
Scouting the Redhawks
The Seattle Redhawks have an overall record of (16-15) on the season and a (6-3) record in the Western Athletic Conference. Seattle has won their previous five games with the most recent victory coming on the road against Portland on April 15, by a score of 9-4. Their current five game win streak is the third streak of at least three games that the Redhawks have had this season.
In their next outing, Seattle will square off against NM State in a four-game conference series. The series will take place in Las Cruces, N.M. with the first game beginning on April 17, and the final game on April 19.
The Redhawks are 3-4 all-time versus the Aggies with two of those three victories coming last year. In a three game series against NM State last season, Seattle won the first game by a score of 15-2, was shut out in the second game, losing by a score of 4-0 and won the final game by a score of 7-6. In 2011, the Aggies controlled the four game series. Seattle lost the first game by a score of 7-4, they also lost the second game by a score of 10-2, won the third game by a score of 5-1 and lost the final game by a score a score of 8-3.
Junior catcher Brian Olson is a player that is expected to perform at a high level for the Seattle Redhawks. Olson leads his team in RBI with 30 on the season and hits with 42 on the season. He is also tied for first place on the team in home runs with sophomore outfielder Landon Cray and senior infielder Cullen Hendrickson. Each player has hit two home runs this season.
Aggies in the WAC
NM State is 5-4 in Western Athletic Conference play going 13-19 overall. The Aggies currently sit at second place in team batting with a .275 average and 294 hits on the overall season. In WAC game only, the Aggies are third in on base percentage averaging a .387. Offensively, NM State ranks sixth against WAC opponents for runs scored (57), runs batted in (49) and slugging percentage (.360). On the mound, the Aggies are sixth for earned runs allowed (48), and sit at fourth allowing only 93 hits on the season. The Aggies average 6.72 strikeouts per game placing them third against WAC opponents.
Individually, outfielder Michael Medina places in the top 10 in a majority of the offensive categories for WAC only play. He is ranked in batting average (.400), slugging percentage (.543) and on base percentage (.500). Pitching wise, Riley Barr leads the board with his 1.17 ERA. Christopher Bradley is fifth against WAC opponents with 8.36 strikeouts per game.
Aggies in the Nation
NM State is in the top 50 nationally with its .383 on base percentage (38th) and 40th in scoring (6.3 runs/game). The team is ninth in the nation for double plays per game averaging 1.13 double plays per contest. Individually, Derek Umphres is 64th in the nation with four sacrifice flies and pitcher Christopher Bradley is 21st in the nation for games started.
Aggies at Home (as of April 16)
The Aggies are 7-9 at home this season, sweeping Saint Mary’s (Feb. 14-15) and taking 3-of-4 against STU Edwardsville (Feb. 21-23). Going 0-3 in WAC games at home, the Aggies were swept by Sacramento State (March 28-30).
From the mound Christopher Bradley lead the Aggies with a 3.92 ERA in four games started. In 20.2 innings pitched, Bradley gave up 20 hits and nine earned runs, while also leading the team in strikeouts with 19.
Kristoffer Koerper has been great from the plate for the Aggies at home, recording a team-high batting average of .403 and a slugging percentage of .629. In 62 at bats, Koerper had 25 hits, three home runs and 20 RBIs. Recording 10 or more RBIs at home were Ryan Wagner (13 RBI) and Michael Paulson (10 RBI). Wagner also has three home runs at home, tying Koerper and leading the team. Three Aggies batters have over a .500 slugging percentage, recording 39 extra base hits compared to opponents with 37.
In games where either the Aggies or their opponents score 10+ runs, NM State is 4-1 at home.
Last Five Games (as of April 16)
Going 3-2 in their last five games, the Aggies swept their series with Northern Colorado (April 4-6), while falling to New Mexico (April 2) 17-7 and Air Force (April 8) 9-6. The Aggies beat Northern Colorado by a combined score of 35-17.
Derek Umphres led the Aggies from the plate with a team high .500 batting average. In 20 at bats, Umphres recorded 10 hits, one home run and nine RBIs, with a slugging percentage of .650. Michael Paulson also contributed to the Aggies success, batting .474 with a slugging percentage of .632. Paulson recorded nine hits and six RBIs also leading the team in bases on balls with six.
From the mound, NM State is led by pitcher Riley Barr. With a 1.86 ERA, in 9.2 innings pitched Barr threw a team-high 10 strikeouts, only allowing four hits and no earned runs. Christopher Bradley also recorded six strikeouts in seven innings pitched.
Last 10 Games (as of April 16)
Going 4-of-6 in their last 10 home games, the Aggies have recorded some great outings from the mound and great production from the plate. Sweeping their series with Northern Colorado (April 4-6), NM States only other win in the last 10 came against Texas-Pan American Mar. 23. The Aggies dropped a home game (March 25) and a road game (April 2) against I-25 rival New Mexico.
Riley Barr led the team from the mound with a 1.06 ERA and a 2-0 record during the past 10 games. With the team-high of 17 innings pitched, Barr only gave up two earned runs on 17 hits while striking out a team high 12 batters.
From the plate Derek Umphres led the Aggies with a .400 batting average, recording 14 hits, a team leading two home runs and 12 RBIs in 35 at bats. Umphres recorded a team high slugging percentage of .629. Michael Paulson also produced for NM State, recording six RBIs and 15 hits in 38 at bats. The Aggies had 22 extra base hits out of their total of 99 for the 10 game series.
NM State multiple hits/multiple RBI
NM State has a total of 12 players who have had multiple hits in at least one game this season. Derek Umphres is the leader for the Aggies with 14 total games with multiple hits and 10 games where he has had two hits. Kristoffer Koerper leads the team with six games with three hits. Umphres, Paulson and Koerper are the only Aggies to have a game where they had four hits in a single game. Umphres is currently tied with Koerper for the longest hitting streak on the season with six. Umphres has a chance to extend that hitting streak to seven in their next matchup against Seattle. Kristoffer Koerper is tied with his brother Joseph Koerper as the two lead NM State with streaks of 14 reached bases on the season. With eight total games of multiple RBI, five games with three RBI and one game where he actually had five RBI, Kristoffer Koerper leads NM State in each category.
Las Cruces natives and brothers Kris and Joe Koerper continue to make an impact on the Aggie baseball squad. Both brothers are hitting over .300 on the season with at least 20 hits and one home run.
Senior first baseman Kris has started all 32 games and leads the Aggies with 28 RBI on the season. He is also tied with fellow infielder Derek Umphres for the team lead in hits (41) and doubles (7). Kris’ .333 batting average is second-highest on the squad to Umphres’ .350 and his three home runs trail only NM State leader Ryan Wagner who has four dingers on the season. In the series finale versus Oakland (March 2), Kris marked a season-high five RBI and four hits, including a double and home run.
Younger brother and Aggie outfielder Joe, meanwhile, missed 11 games early in the season due to injury, but has bounced back to participate in 21 games and, like his older sibling, hit above .300. Joe is batting at a .303 tilt with 20 hits, eight RBI and a home run. He also has drawn a walk 15 times throughout the season to aid in a .432 on-base percentage, second-best on the team among players with at least 20 games played. Joe had a season-high three hits and two RBI versus Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas (March 9). He also had two RBI on two hits, including his lone home run of the season, against I-25 rival New Mexico at Presley Askew Field (March 25).
Players to Watch
Trey Gonzales – Closing Pitcher
Sophomore relief pitcher Trey Gonzales leads NM State with five saves, along with nine games finished on the season. Gonzales has a 4.02 ERA so far this season, which ranks fourth best on the Aggies. In 11 game appearances he has allowed just nine runs in those games, and has nine total strike outs on the season. In conference play, Gonzales has pitched five innings, allowing eight hits while racking up five strikeouts. Gonzales has two saves thus far in conference play for the Aggies as well. His best outing of the season came on Saturday, March 22 against Texas-Pan American, Gonzales struck out three batters and only allowed just two hits.
Michael Paulson – outfielder
Starting in all 32 games for the Aggies, Paulson has been one of the consistent batters in the line up. With a .321 batting average and a .376 slugging percentage, Paulson has tallied 35 hits, 19 RBIs and 41 total bases in 109 at bats. Drawing a team high 28 walks, Paulson leads the team with a .450 on base percentage.
With 48 fielding chances on the season, Paulson has 48 put outs and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. Paulson has recorded five multi RBI games this season and 12 multi-hit games. His best outing from the plate came against Northern Colorado (April 4) where he recorded four hits and three RBIs. Paulson has drawn his season high in walks of three twice this season, with the first coming against Oakland (March 1) and the second against UC Davis (March 16).
Taylor Noyer – catcher
In 25 games played, Noyer has recorded 11 hits and eight RBIs in 64 at bats. With one home run on the season and two doubles, Noyer is batting,172 with a .250 slugging percentage.
Noyer has tallied a second best on the team 155 chances and 128 put outs, earning a fielding percentage of .942. With 23 stolen base attempts against, Noyer has caught eight stealing.
Riley Barr – right-hand pitcher
Right-handed pitcher Riley Barr has a 4-0 record on the season, with a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings of work. Barr has only given up 10 earned runs this season. Barr struck out eight batters and allowed only two runs against Northern Colorado on April 5, the Aggies up by three winning 7-4. In WAC play, Barr has only given up three runs, two of them earned. Barr is 2-0 record in league play and has a 1.17 earned run average. Leading the pitching staff with 15 appearances, Barr only walked 10 batters and 39 hits on the season. Barr pitched five innings at Texas Tech on March 8, giving up five hits, three runs, two of them earned, with the Aggies losing by one with a 7-8 final score. Looking back on March 16, Barr pitched five innings against UC Davis, allowing only three runs and six hits, Aggies cutting it one run short at a 5-6 final score.
Robert Kraft – left-hand pitcher
Left handed pitcher Robert Kraft has made 10 appearances and has started in eight games during his junior campaign. Kraft has pitched 38.0 innings bringing his ERA to 5.21 and has 26 strikeouts on the season. Kraft holds his opponents to a .318 batting average giving away only 48 hits on the 2014 season.
Kent Blackstone – infielder
Sophomore Kent Blackstone plays infield for the NM State Aggies. Blackstone is hitting .243 on the year with 25 hits and 22 runs scored. Blackstone has played 32 games, starting 31 on the season. Blackstones career totals are 178 assists and 112 put-outs. At the plate Blackstone has 247 at bats, 28 RBI, three homeruns and 84 total bases.
Kevin Carswell – catcher/pitcher
Right handed pitcher and catcher, Kevin Carswell, has played in 16 games during the 2014 season and has started in 10 games as catcher. With 37 total at bats, Carswell has 12 runs batted in with four contributed runs, which brings his batting average to .270 on the season. He has a .357 on base percentage and a .270 slugging percentage. Carswell has pitched in three games totaling his innings pitched to 2.0 and has three strikeouts on the season.
Umphres Name WAC Hitter of the Week
Third baseman Derek Umphres has been 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. He is currently hitting a team-high .345 on the year with 39 hits and 24 RBI.