Aggies Head to WAC Tournament as No. 6 Seed; Face No. 3 Utah Valley in First Game

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – - The New Mexico State baseball team heads to the 2014 Western Athletic Conference tournament as the No. 6 seed after going 11-13 in league play this season.  The Aggies face No. 3 seed Utah Valley, Wednesday, May 21 at 8 p.m. (MT) at Cubs Park in Mesa, Ariz. 

If the Aggies defeat UVU, they will play at either 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. (MT), but if NM State loses, it will play in an elimination game at 11 a.m. (MT).

All games that NM State is in will air over the radio waves in Las Cruces on KGRT AM 570 with Jeff Matthews giving the play-by-play action.  The radio feed can also be picked up from anywhere around the world on the Internet by going to the NM State Athletics official website at for small fee. Live stats can also be found online at and in-game Twitter updates are also available @NMStateAggies.

Looking Back

The Aggies went 2-2 against Chicago State last weekend in a four game home stretch to wrap-up the regular season.  NM State went 1-2 in the WAC games of the series, with one non-conference game coming at the end of the series, giving it an 11-13 WAC record and 21-29 overall record.  The Aggies took the non-conference game 22-15, the most runs scored since a 24-4 win over Alabama A&M on March 16, 2013.

Michael Paulson led the Aggies from the plate going 8-of-16 with five RBI and 13 total bases while finishing with a .813 slugging percentage.  Michael Medina also had a team-high in RBI for the series with six. 

Lucas Martinez, who had made only 13 appearances at the plate all year, came up big for the Aggies this weekend, hitting two home runs in three at bats and driving in four runs.  Austin von Blasingam, another Aggie with few plate appearances this season, hit a grand slam a sac fly for five RBI.

From the mound, Robert Kraft and Matt Moriarty came away with the two wins of the series.  Moriarty finished with a perfect 0.00 ERA in three innings of work, allowing only one hit and recording a strike out as well.  In 6.1 innings pitched, Kraft threw a team-high eight strikeouts and only one walk.

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

Aggies versus Utah Valley

The Aggies meet the Utah Valley Wolverines in the first game of the upcoming WAC tournament, Wednesday, May 21.  The Aggies have faced off against the Wolverines six times in their history, with the first matchup coming in 2007. NM State took the series 2-1.  The two teams wouldn't meet until this season, where Utah Valley took the edge, taking 2-of-3 games.

NM State had some minor success from the plate against the Wolverines this season, averaging a .235 batting average as a team.  With 23 hits in 98 at bats over the three game series, the Aggies only managed to put up a .286 slugging percentage with only three extra base hits.  Utah Valley didn't fare much better from the plate, going 25-of-105.  The difference was in extra base hits, where the Wolverines put up 11 extra base hits, five of which were home runs, for a .448 slugging percentage as a team.

Christopher Bradley had a strong outing against the Wolverines, throwing 6.1 innings and only giving up two hits and one run, recording 10 strikeouts along the way.  Bradley's 1.42 ERA led all pitchers in the series.  Billy Conard pitched 7.1 innings for the Aggies, recording a 3.68 ERA and seven strikeouts. 

Mark Krueger leads the Wolverines at the plate this season with a .295 batting average on the season, recording 59 hits and a team high 38 RBI in an even 200 at bats.  Krueger also has recorded 18 extra base hits, six of which were home runs, and has a slugging percentage of .450.

From the Mound the Wolverines are led from the mound by Danny Beddes.  In 80.2 innings pitched, Beddes has earned a 4-4 record on the season, recording 41 strikeouts and a 3.24 ERA.  He has allowed 79 hits and 29 earned runs while walking 42 batters. 

Utah Valley ended the season with a 25-28 overall record and went 16-11 in WAC.  

Aggies versus Sacramento State

The Aggies have played Sacramento State 60 times since their first meeting in 1997.  A regular on the schedule over the last two decades, NM State has gone 27-33 against the Hornets.  Sacramento State is 35-21 overall and ran away with the WAC regular season title going 21-6 in league play. The Hornets enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed.

The Aggies dropped all three games against the Hornets this season, with the first game ending 8-2.  The next two games ended in the seventh inning due to the run rule, with the Hornets winning 11-0 and 20-6. 

The Aggies struggled from the plate in the series and while the team did have a .242 overall batting average, they could never turn those hits in runs, only driving in seven runs and scoring eight total.  Sac State on the other hand had a batting average of .400 as a team and a slugging percentage of .682.  With seven home runs and 16 extra base hits during the series, the Hornets put up 39 runs on the board and doubled the Aggies in hits, recording 44.

Derek Umphres led the Aggies from the plate with a .300 average in 10 at bats, recording three hits and two extra base hits (one home run and one double).  His seven total bases gave him a team leading .700 slugging percentage and his team high two RBI.

From the mound the Aggies were trumped by Sac State's pitching, with NM State having a 10.96 overall ERA compared to the Hornets 2.74.  Riley Barr was the only Aggie pitcher with an ERA below 9.00, recording a 0.00 ERA in 4 innings pitched.  Barr allowed only three hits and one walk, striking out one batter and giving up no runs.

Nathan Lukes leads the Hornets in batting average with a .371, recording 85 hits and 22 RBI in 229 at bats.  Rhys Hoskins is the power in the Hornets lineup, recording a team high 45 RBI and nine home runs.  Leading the team in extra base hits with 24, Hoskins has a .563 slugging percentage and an on base percentage of .441. 

Brennan Leitao is the Hornets leading pitcher, recording a 2.16 ERA and an 8-3 record.  In a team high 96 innings pitched, Leitao has allowed 83 hits and 23 earned runs while striking out 68 batters.  Sam Long also has pitched well for Sac State, with a 2.51 ERA in 82.1 innings of work. 

Aggies vs. Bakersfield

The NM State baseball team went 1-2 against Cal State Bakersfield this season in WAC play. The Aggies now stand at 3-4 all-time against Bakersfield.  Kristoffer Koerper hit .500 in 14 at-bats in the three games against Bakersfield. He led the team with seven hits, an .857 slugging percentage, eight RBI and 12 total bases.  Michael Paulson hit .357 against Bakersfield and led the team with five runs scored.

On the pitcher's mound, Robert Kraft led the Aggies by earning their lone victory in his start. He pitched 5.2 innings and allowed one earned run. He left the series with a 1.59 ERA and Bakersfield had a .263 batting average against him. Billy Conard also had a solid start as he pitched 6.1 innings and surrendered three runs in his start. Riley Barr did well out of the bullpen as he appeared in two games and did not surrender a run in 2.2 innings pitched.

Bakersfield finished the season with a 24-31 overall record and 15-12 in WAC play. They were led in hitting by David Metzgar who finished the season with a .304 batting average, a .363 slugging percentage, a .371 on-base percentage and 17 runs scored. Chance Gusbeth supplied runs for Bakersfield as he led the team with 87 RBI and he also hit three homeruns. Taylor Aikenhead led the pitching staff with a 3.24 ERA and ended the season 7-7 in 14 starts. He also led the team with four complete games and pitched a total of 97.1 innings, struck out 74 batters and held opponents to a .270 batting average against him.

Aggies Versus Seattle U

NM State went 2-1 against Seattle U this season. The Aggies are now 6-4 all-time against the Redhawks.

Before this season, the two teams last met in 2013 when the Aggies went 1-2 in the series, beating the Redhawks in the second game, 4-0.

The Aggies hit with a .258 batting average, totaled 15 RBI and held a .333 slugging percentage. NM State was led by Michael Medina who recorded a .400 batting average in the series. In 10 at bats Medina had two RBI and four hits while slugging at a .400 percent. Following close behind, Kyle Kilgore had 12 at bats while recording a .333 batting average and totaled two RBI. On the mound, Riley Barr led the Aggies with a 2.08 ERA but was unfortunately given the loss after 4.1 innings pitched.

During the 2014 season, NM State saw two wins against Seattle U during the first and third games of the three game series. The Aggies largest win came in the second game with a 7-4 final score.

The Redhawks finished their season with a 25-25 overall record going 13-11 in conference play. As a team, Seattle U sits third in the league with a .276 batting average and 466 total hits. The team pitches with a 4.09 ERA ranking them fourth against WAC opponents.

Aggies versus Texas-Pan American

NM State has matched up against Texas-Pan American 21 times since their first meeting in 1986.  Going 2-1 against the Broncs this season, the Aggies are now 15-6 against them overall.  UTPA is 27-28 overall, going 17-10 in WAC play this season earning them the No. 2 seed in the WAC Tournament.

NM State dropped the first game of their three game series this season 9-4, but bounced back winning the next two games 7-4 and 3-2. 

Aggies pitchers Riley Barr and Zach Freeman picked up wins against the Broncs, with both having perfect 0.00 ERAs in their outings.  Barr threw one strikeout, no hits and gave up only one base against UTPA, while Freeman recorded three strikeouts and one walk, also giving up no hits.  Kyle Sachrison also finished the series with a 0.00 ERA, pitching 3.1 innings and recording three strikeouts. 

Joseph Koerper recorded a .500 batting average over the series leading all batters.  Recording four hits and two runs in eight at bats, Koerper had a .500 slugging percentage.  Michael Medina also had a good outing at the plate, recording four hits in 10 at bats.  His three RBI lead the team, and with two extra base hits he earned a team high .700 slugging percentage.

The Broncs are led by pitching ace Sam Street, who has recorded a 12-1 record in 122 innings pitched.  Allowing 92 hits and 20 earned runs, Street has struck out a team high 83 batters.  Street is ranked second in the WAC in ERA and first for all games played.  Street has recorded seven consecutive complete games.

Texas-Pan Am is led from the plate by Alex Howe who in 199 at bats has recorded 70 hits, 42 RBI and 26 extra base hits for a slugging percentage of .553.  As a team the Broncs have an overall batting average of .249 and a .329 slugging percentage.  

Aggies at Neutral Sites

NM State did not play any games at a neutral site this season.

Aggies on the Road

The Aggies struggled to find consistency on the road this season as they ended with a 8-15 record away from Presley Askew Field.  NM State got off to a rough start on the road as it dropped the first four games away from home to No. 30 Texas Tech. These early losses set the tone for the Aggies as they went 2-9 on their 11-game road trip. The two wins resulted in a conference series win over Texas-Pan American. The Aggies found more success on the road when they got to conference play, as they were able to earn a 7-5 record in road games in WAC play. The Aggies' largest margin of victory on the road this season was 12 runs, which they did in a 16-4 victory over Northern Colorado (4/4) and again in a 19-7 win overBakersfield (5/11). Their biggest defeat was a 13-run loss to No. 30 Texas Tech (3/7).

Multiple Hits/RBI

NM State has a total of 16 players who have had multiple hits in at least one game this season. Michael Paulson is the leader for the Aggies with 20 total games with multiple hits and 17 games where he has had two hits. Kristoffer Koerper leads the team with six games with three hits. Paulson, Koerper and Derek Umphres are the only Aggies to have four hits in a single game. Paulson currently leads the team for the longest hitting streak on the season at 10 games. Michael Medina currently has the team-high reached base streak this season with 26, while Kristoffer Koerper is tied at second with his brother Joseph Koerper as the two own streaks of 14 reached bases on the season. Kristoffer Koerper is tied with Paulson with 11 multiple RBI games.Koerper leads the team with five games of three RBI and two games with at least five RBI.

Aggies in the WAC

NM State is 11-13 in Western Athletic Conference play while going 21-29 overall this season. The Aggies currently rank No. 3 in team batting with a .276 average and 464 hits on the overall season. In WAC games only, the Aggies are fourth in on base percentage averaging a .374 and sixth with a .361 slugging percentage. Offensively, NM State is first against WAC opponents for runs scored (311) and runs batted in (286). On the mound, the Aggies are eighth for earned runs allowed (262) and seventh with a 5.48 ERA. The Aggies average 6.60 strikeouts per game placing them second against WAC opponents.

Individually, outfielder Michael Medina places in the top 10 in WAC categories for the Aggies. Medina is placed first on the board with his .504 on base percentage and is seen in the top 10 with 23 runs scored. Pitching wise, Riley Barr leads the team in WAC play with his 2.32 ERA. Christopher Bradley is first against WAC opponents with 9.26 strikeouts per game.

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