NM State Faces No. 26 Arizona State in Midweek Game before Returning to WAC Action at Home Starting Friday, May 2
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  04/28/2014

 TEMPE, Ariz. – The New Mexico State baseball team plays a mid-week road game against Arizona State, who is ranked No. 26 nationally in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll, in Packard Stadium, Tuesday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. (MT).  NM State returns home jumping back into Western Athletic Conference action as it takes on Utah Valley, Friday through Sunday, May 2-4.  Friday and Saturday’s games start at 6:05 p.m. (MT) and Sunday’s series finale is set for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch.  All games this week are scheduled to air over the radio waves on KSNM AM 570 with Jeff Matthews giving the play-by-play action.  Live stats are available free of charge online at www.NMStateSports.com.

Looking Back

NM State took on Grand Canyon in a three game series on April 25-27 in Phoenix, Ariz. The Aggies now move to 16-21 overall and 7-6 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies went 1-2 on the weekend winning the second game against the Lopes on April 26 with a 2-1 final score. The first day of the series, the Aggies lost their first competition 6-3 crediting Christopher Bradley with the loss (3-5). NM State ended their weekend after a 9-4 loss to Grand Canyon giving Zach Freeman the loss after he came in for relief working 4.1 innings.

Aggies vs. Arizona State

NM State first began their game series with Arizona in 1962 during the first year NM State participated in a baseball season. The two game series in 1962 ended with the Aggies losing both games the first losing 3-0 and the second 12-3 against the Sun Devils. Since then, the two teams have met a total of 35 times with the Aggies having an overall 2-33 record. The biggest losing margin for the Aggies came in 2003 when the Aggies lost in a no-run game to the Sun Devils with a final score of 15-0. The last time the Aggies played the Sun Devils was in 2005 where they played twice during that season. During first game against the Sun Devils that season Arizona State was ranked No. 9 when they beat NM State in a 12-0 sweep. The second game of the season against the then ranked No. 12 Sun Devils ended with a close one run loss of 11-10 during the 2005 season.

The Aggies renew their series history after an 11-year play gap traveling to Arizona for one game on Tuesday, April 29 to face off against the Sun Devils as they are ranked No. 26 based on the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. The Sun Devils are led by Nathaniel Causey with a .344 batting average, 16 RBI on the season and a .469 slugging percentage. On the mound, Brett Lilek pitches a 1.75 ERA and is credited with one save and 57 strikeouts. Lilek holds his opponents to a .177 batting average.

Series History

1962                     L             0-3

                                L             3-12

1963                     L             2-4

                                L             5-6

1964                     L             3-9

                                L             8-10

                                L             3-7

1987                     L             1-8

                                L             5-15

                                L             5-9

1988                     L             3-9

                                L             9-18

1989                     L             3-9

                                L             0-12

1990                     L             3-5

                                L             3-8

1991                     L             2-12

1992                     L             3-5

1994                     L             2-11

                                L             5-6

                                L             3-4

1998                     L (#5)   1-13

2001                     L             2-16

                                W           19-16

2002                     L             7-14

                                W           8-7

2003                     L             15-0

2004                     L (#14)                2-19

                                L (#14)                2-6

                                L (#14)                5-12

2005                     L (#9)   0-12

                                L (#12)                10-11

Aggies vs. Utah Valley

NM State has competed against Utah Valley only three times all games being played during the 2007 season. Overall, the Aggies have a 2-1 record against the Wolverines.  During the 2007 season NM State hosted the three game series and was able to win the first and third game. The Aggies defeated the Wolverines 10-8 during the first game, lost the second game 12-6 and finished off the series with a 7-5 win against Utah Valley. The two teams end their series history pause with a three game series at the Presley Askew Field on May 2-4 to continue the two teams Western Athletic Conference play.

The Wolverines are led by Mark Krueger hitting at a .293 average with 27 RBI on the season and slugging at .460 percent. On the mound, Utah Valley is lead by David Beddes pitching a 3.41 ERA with 23 strikeouts on the season. Beddes holds his opponents to a .265 batting average.

Series History

2007                     W           10-8

                                L             12-6

                                W           7-5

Aggies on the Road

The NM State men’s baseball team continues to search for road victories as the season nears its final stretch. The Aggies have played 19 games away from Las Cruces and have a record of 7-12 on the season in those games.

In the opening weekend of away games which started on March 6, the Aggies were swept by then No. 30 ranked Texas Tech. NM State was able to pick up its first road victory on March 14, against UC-Davis by a score of 6-4.

NM State was able to capture its first roach series sweep of the season against Northern Colorado. The Aggies outscored the Bears 35-17 in the series that began on April 4.

At the plate NM State is batting .267 on 175 hits and 91 RBI in away games. While the Aggies have six players that are hitting above .300, sophomore Derek Umphres leads the team with 27 hits, 17 RBI, and a .370 batting average on the road. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Wagner has a team high .500 slugging percentage, while junior Michael Paulson leads in Aggies with a .457 on base percentage. Both Wagner and Paulson have four doubles each on the season in away games.

On the mound in away games NM State has a 5.60 team-ERA with 109 strikeouts, while allowing 135 runs. Junior right-handed pitcher, Riley Barr has a 2.63 ERA in away games and has allowed 10 runs on 28 hits in those contests. Senior left-handed pitcher, Christopher Bradley has 28 innings pitched on the road and has an ERA on 5.14 on 32 hits allowed.

While the Aggies last road game resulted in a 4-9 loss at Grand Canyon on April 27, NM State did defeat the Lopes’ on April 26, by a score of 2-1.

With only 10 games left in the regular season, the Aggies will be on the road for four of them beginning on Tuesday, April 29, as they take on Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. The first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

NM State Multiple Hits/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 16 total games with multiple hits and 12 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. Michael Medina currently has the team-high reached base streak this season with 15, 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 nine 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.

Aggie in the WAC

On the season, NM State has an overall record of (17-22) and a conference record of (8-7) which puts them in a tie with North Dakota for fifth place in the Western Athletic Conference. After winning one game in a three game series with Grand Canyon, the Aggies have now won six of their past 10 games. The next matchup for NMSU will come against Arizona State, who is ranked #26 according to the National Collegiate Baseball Poll.

NM State leads the WAC in two offensive categories including on base percentage (.379) and walks with 199. The Aggies also place second in multiple offensive categories as well including slugging percentage (.362), runs scored (230) and RBI (209). They have also made an impact defensively, placing second in the WAC with 247 batters struck out while also earning eight saves, which is good for second place in the conference.

Individually, there are multiple Aggies who are among the leaders in the WAC statistically. Michael Medina leads the WAC with 32 walks and 14 hits by pitch. He is also third in runs scored with 34 on the season. Michael Paulson is third in the conference with 29 walks while Kristoffer Koerper is fifth in the conference with 30 RBI.

Aggies in the Nation

NM State ranks in the top 50 with its .382 on base percentage (41) and 56th in scoring (5.9/game). The team is 17th in the nation for double plays per game averaging 1.05 per game. Individually, Michael Paulson is 31st in the nation with 32 base on balls averaging 0.82 per game, which places him 17th in the nation for base on balls per game. Outfielder Michael Medina places in the top 100 of 250 ranked with his .467 on base percentage. Closer Trey Gonzales places in the top 100 with six saves on the season.

Aggies’ Last Five Games

Going 3-2 in their last five games, the Aggies managed to take two games against Seattle U and went 1-2 against Grand Canyon.  Kyle Young led all Aggie batters with a .455 batting average, recording five hits and one RBI.  Michael Paulson led the Aggies in RBIs with four, also recording five hits.  Derek Umphres and Michael Medina also recorded five hits and two RBIs each. 

From the mound Zach Freeman had a perfect 0.00 ERA in seven innings of work, striking out three batters and giving up six hits going 1-1 over the five game stretch.  Billy Conard picked up a win over the stretch, throwing a team high 12 strikeouts in 12.2 innings pitched, recording a 2.84 ERA.

Aggies’ Last 10 Games

Going 6-4 in their last 10 games, the Aggies are 3-1 at home and 3-3 away while going 5-3 in WAC play.  NM State took 3-of-4 against Seattle U (April 17-19) and managed to take 1-of-3 against Grand Canyon (April 25-27).

In eight games play, Kyle Young has led the Aggies from the plate.  Batting .467, Young recorded seven hits and one RBI, with eight total bases for a slugging percentage of .533.

Michael Paulson recorded 11 RBIs in the last ten games and Michael Medina had a team high 11 hits.  The Aggies leading batter Derek Umphres recorded 10 hits and seven RBIs in 33 at bats, earning a .303 batting average.

From the mound Zach Freeman led all pitchers with a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched.  Freeman gave up two earned runs and 11 hits while recording six strikeouts.  Riley Barr also had a good outing with a 1.80 ERA and 14 strikeouts.  Billy Conard recorded a 2.16 ERA and a team-high 16 strikeouts.

Head Coach Rocky Ward Goes for Win No. 450

In his 18th season as the Aggies head coach, Ward has racked up the most wins in NM State history with 449 wins, with the second most wins for a coach being held by Jim Kwasny (1969-82) who had 300 wins at NM State.  Ward entered the 2010 season just two wins shy of Kwasny and recording 36 wins that season put Ward at the top of the all times win list.  Ward will be looking for win No. 450 against Arizona State April 29. 

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.

The Aggies are 2-33 against Arizona State all time, with their first meeting coming in 1962 and their last meeting coming in 2005.

Players to Watch

Infielder – Derek Umphres

Umphres leads the Aggies from the plate with a .336 average in 140 at bats.  Recording a team high 47 hits, he has hit eight doubles, one triple and three home runs, driving in 27 runs and recording a team high 66 total bases. Umphres has earned a .471 slugging percentage in 38 games started.

In conference play Umphres recorded a .294 average.  In 51 at bats he had 15 hits, 11 RBIs, three extra base hits with one homerun and a slugging percentage of .392. 

Playing perhaps his best baseball on the road, Umphres has a .370 average on the road, recording 27 hits, 17 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .438, highest on the team. 

In his last series, against Grand Canyon April 25-27, Umphres batted .400 in 10 at bats.  He recorded four hits, two RBIs and four total bases for a slugging percentage of .400.  Umphres also earned two walks and had an on base percentage of .500. 

Umphres has recorded 16 games with multiple hits and seven games with multiple RBIs.  He has recorded his season high of three RBIs twice this season, with the first coming against New Mexico April 2 and the second coming against Northern Colorado April 5.  Umphres had his season high of four hits against Northern Colorado April 4.  His highest batting average of the season was a .393 against Oakland on Feb. 28.

RHP – Riley Barr

Junior, Riley Barr, is having a solid season as a relieve pitcher with NM State. At 5-1, Barr has the best record of any pitcher on the NM State squad. He also has the most appearances of any pitcher on the team this season with 17, while also leading the team with an exceptional 2.34 ERA. With 42.1 innings pitched on the year, Barr has pitched a total of 26 strikeouts. He has also made the most appearances of any pitcher on the team in away games with eight. Barr has performed well on the road with a 2-1 record, only allowing nine runs and three earned runs while managing to post an astonishing 1.80 ERA. In conference play, Barr has a team-high six appearances. He has allowed the least amount of hits (25), runs (10) and earned runs (3) among starting pitchers on the team, in conference play. In a contest versus Northern Colorado on April 5, Barr started and pitched a season-high 7.1 innings and led his squad to a victory. Barr also pitched five innings in games against Texas Tech on March 8, and UC Davis on March 16.

RHP – Christopher Bradley

Bradley has started in all 11 appearances and has the second best win loss record on the team going 3-5.  Leading the Aggies in innings pitched with 55.1, Bradley has given up 59 hits and 28 earned runs.  He leads the team in strikeouts with 48 and is ranked seventh in the WAC in strikeouts.  Bradley has an ERA of 4.55.

Bradley has struck out three or more batters in all of his appearances except one.  His best outing came against Oakland on Feb. 28, where he threw four strikeouts and gave up five hits and no earned runs with four walks.  His ERA against Oakland was 2.70.  His highest strikeout count was against Seattle U on April 17, where he struck out seven batters in 6.2 innings pitched.  Other notable outings where Bradley threw under a 3.00 ERA were against Texas tech on March 6 and at UC Davis on March 14, where he got his first win of the season, 6-4.

Outfielder – Michael Paulson

Michael Paulson is having a fantastic year as an outfielder for the Aggies. Paulson has appeared and started in all 39 games for NM State this season. He currently has 27 runs on the year and 42 hits while also ranking third on the team with a batting average of .309. Paulson is tied for second on the team with 27 RBI and ranks third in the conference with 29 walks. Setting five single season game-highs, Paulson has had two productive outings against Northern Colorado. On April 4, he recorded four hits, two doubles, six total bases and three RBI which were all season-highs in a 16-4 win over Northern Colorado. On April 6, Paulson also set a season-high three runs scored in a 12-9 win over Northern Colorado. Micahel Paulson is currently tied with Michael Medina for the longest hitting streak of the season for the Aggies with eight games where he recorded at least one hit. Paulson has had 13 games this season where he has had at least two hits.

Outfielder – Michael Medina

With a batting average of .292, Medina has recorded 40 hits and 22 RBIs in 137 at bats.  He has recorded six extra base hits, including a team high two triples and has 50 total bases for a slugging percentage of .365.  Medina has also earned the most walks on the team with 32.

In WAC play Medina is hitting .385, recording 20 hits and 10 RBIs in 52 at bats with a slugging percentage of .481, second highest on the team.  In WAC play he also has earned a team high 13 walks. 

On the road Medina is batting .279 with 19 hits and 10 RBIs in 68 at bats.  With 24 total bases, Medina has earned a road slugging percentage of .353.  In the Aggies last series against Grand Canyon (April 25-27), Medina had two hits and one RBI for a batting average of .286. 

Medina has had a season high of three hits three times this year with the latest coming against Northern Colorado April 6.  He has recorded a season high of three RBIs twice, the first against Oakland on March 1, the second coming against Texas-Pan American on March 21.  Medina has recorded 13 games with two or more hits this season and seven games with multiple RBI.

Infielder – Kristoffer Koerper

Senior first baseman, Kristoffer Koerper’s power at the plate continues to climb as the season nears its final stretch. Koerper leads NM State with 142 at bats and has started 37 games this season. Koerper is second on the Aggies with a .310 batting average on the season, while knocking in a team high 30 RBI thus far.

The Aggie first baseman is second on the team with 44 total hits on the season and is tied for second with three homeruns. Koerper has a .444 slugging percentage and .391 on base percentage on the season. He ranks second on the team with 29 runs scored and 63 total bases.

His best game this season came against Oakland on March 2, 2014, where Koerper went 4-5, with two runs scored and five RBI in the game. He was able to record one homerun and a double that game as well.

Koerper is leaving his mark this year in the WAC standings. He is ranked number five in the WAC with 30 RBI, which puts him in the third spot in the WAC with .81 RBI’s per game.  Through April 28, 2014, Koerper is ranked number six in the WAC with .78 runs scored per game, and sits in the 10 spot in the WAC at 1.19 hits per game.

LHP – Robert Kraft

Junior pitcher Robert Kraft has made 14 appearances with 10 games started during the 2014 season. Pitching a total of 45.0 innings, Kraft has brought in 28 strikeouts on the season and records a 5.40 ERA. Kraft has a 1-3 record holding his opponents to a .313 batting average. Kraft saw the most action during the season against UC Davis on March 15, where started the game and pitched 7.1 innings. He tallied two putouts with six assists during the game and allowed five hits recording two strikeouts during his time on the mound.

Infielder – Kent Blackstone

Sophomore infielder, Kent Blackstone has tallied a .224 batting average on the season on 125 at bats. Blackstone has a .312 slugging percentage and a .374 on base percentage. Blackstone is in the top five in multiple categories for NM State. He ranks number five with 22 runs scored thus far, and also is tied for second on the team in doubles on the season with eight.

Although Blackstone may not have homerun power while at the plate, he is second on the Aggies with 63 total bases and ranks third with 23 walks on the season. Blackstone is the team leader in sacrifice bunts with 7 on the season and has reached base by hit by pitch seven times thus far.

Once Blackstone reaches the base, he becomes a threat to steal. He is tied for first on the team with nine stolen bases on just 12 attempts. Blackstone is fourth on the team with a stealing base percentage of .750 on the season.

Not just a threat at the plate, Blackstone has 100 assists on the season, which leads the team, and also has 24 fielding double plays.

Closing Pitcher – Trey Gonzales

Right-handed pitcher Trey Gonzales has made 14 appearances during the 2014 NM State season. As a closer for the Aggies, Gonzales has pitched a total of 19.0 innings, recording six saves on the season. Gonzales holds his opponents at a .284 batting average allowing 19 hits during his time on the mound moving him to a 3.79 earned run average. Gonzales marks a 0-1 record after he was credited with the loss against UC Davis on March 16.

RHP – Zach Freeman

Sophomore right-handed pitcher, Zach Freeman with a 4.31 ERA has the fifth best ERA on the Aggies and has made 15 appearances this season. Freeman has a 3-3 record with 26 strike outs on the season.

Freeman has 31.1 innings pitched this season and has given up 37 hits. His longest outing of the year came on Feb. 21, against SIU-Edwardsville, when he pitched 6.0 innings and recorded five strike outs. Freeman was also able to record five strike outs in a game on Feb. 15 against Saint Mary’s.

The sophomore out of Murphy, Texas has allowed only two homeruns so far on the season, and has gave out 18 walks.

In WAC play, Freeman has a 2.79 ERA in five game appearances. He has pitched 9.1 innings in WAC play and has recorded five strikeouts while giving up only 3 earned runs. WAC opponents have tallied a .244 batting average against Freeman.

Outfielder – Kyle Young

Junior outfielder Kyle Young hit .667 on the road against Grand Canyon going 4-of-6 at the dish with a double, two runs scored and and RBI.  He struck out only once on the weekend. 

RHP – Billy Conard

Right-hand pitcher Billy Conard got the start Saturday, April 26 versus Grand Canyon and worked 6.2 innings on the mound while striking out six batters and walking just one.  He gave up just one run on seven hits but was given a no-decision in a 2-1 win over the Lopes.

Conard has recorded a 5.21 ERA in 12 appearances for the Aggies.  Having started nine games, Conard has a 2-3 record.  In 48.1 innings pitched, he has given up 65 hits and eight walks, recording 28 earned runs and 39 strikeouts.

Conard had his best outing in his first appearance of the season against Saint Mary’s on Feb. 14, where he had an ERA of 0.00 in four innings of work, only giving up three hits and one walk while recording a five strikeouts.  Conard had his season high of six strikeouts twice this year, with the first coming against Seattle U on April 18 and the second coming against Grand Canyon on April 28.  

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.

Looking Ahead

The Aggies travel to face Western Athletic Conference opponents CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners in a three game series on May 9-11. The Runners currently sit at a 17-25 overall record going 9-9 in WAC play. The team is led by Jordan Hein with his .299 batting average in 41 games played for Bakersfield. Hein has contributed 44 hits to the season, 6 RBI and has a .333 slugging percentage. Garrett Pierce, who has a .290 batting average, 15 RBI on the season and a .339 slugging percentage, follows Hein in a close second. On the mound, Austin Davis adds 56 strikeouts to Bakersfield’s season. He records a 3.21 ERA with a 2-8 record. Davis holds his opponents to a .243 batting average.

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