POSTED: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 - 3:37pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - 2:07pm
The New Mexico baseball team has been selected to finish fifth in the 2011 Western Athletic Conference regular season in a vote by the league's head coaches. The coaches also voted senior outfielder Chace Perkins to the preseason all-WAC team.
The Aggies received 16 points after finishing the 2010 season with a 36-23-1 record overall and a 14-9-1 conference record. NM State finished second in the regular season last year and was ousted in the second round of the WAC tournament losing to eventual WAC Tournament Champion Hawai'i. Head coach Rocky Ward has high expectations for his teams and knew Fresno and Hawai'i would be atop the poll.
"I expected to see Hawai'i and Fresno at the top of the poll, but am a little surprised that we were picked fifth. I think the other coaches were impressed with the returning pitching of San Jose and the maturity of the Nevada team and concerned with the quality of hitting that we lost to graduation," Ward said. "We are looking forward to introducing our new offensive attack, which I think the league will realize is better than last year.
Perkins, a native of Sparks, Nev., was the only preseason All-WAC selection for NM State this year. He was also was named a 2011 third team Preseason All-American by CollegeBaseballLineup.com (formerly PING!Baseball), Wednesday, Jan. 5.
He played in 57 games for the Aggies in 2010 finishing with a team-leading 17 home runs as the Aggies finished with 104 home runs on the year, which put them in the top 10 nationally. He also posted a team-high .746 slugging-percentage and a team-high 70 RBI. Head coach Rocky Ward was extremely please with Perkins' output for NM State last year.
"I was not surprised by the single selection of Chace Perkins. His numbers last year were impressive, (both in and out of league), but several of our returning players share a playing position with some of the top players in the league," Ward said.
The Aggie outfielder finished in the top 15 of the Western Athletic Conference with a .363 batting average while also earning a spot in the league's top-10 with 17 doubles.
The Aggies open the season with the Annual Alumni Game, Saturday, Feb. 12 at Presley Askew Field, before opening the regular season with a three-game series against Houston Baptist, Feb. 18-20 in Las Cruces.
2011 WAC Baseball Coaches' Poll
1. Fresno State (4) 32
2. Hawai'i (2) 30
3. Nevada (1) 25
4. San Jose State 24
5. New Mexico State 16
6. Louisiana Tech 14
7. Sacramento State 6