Defending WAC Champs Open 2013 Season This Weekend
The 2012 Western Athletic Conference champion baseball team takes on UW-Milwaukee in a four-game series, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16 at Presley Askew Field on the campus of New Mexico State University. Both days feature a doubleheader that start at 2:00 p.m. (MT).
MEDIA COVERAGE: NM State baseball fans will have plenty of opportunities to follow their Aggies on the radio again this season with the voice of Aggie baseball, Jeff Matthews on KSNM AM 570. The Aggies will broadcast 34 baseball games this season.
There are no broadcasts for the Aggies’ upcoming series against UW-Milwaukee. The first broadcast will be on Feb. 26, when the Aggies face NC State and will air a tape delayed at 6:00 p.m.
Live stats are available all season long by going to www.NMStateSports.com and clicking on the live events tab. Live stats are free of charge all season.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Fans can keep up with score updates and other information by logging on to Twitter @NMStateAggies. Fans can find out about promotions and everything else Aggie by going on Facebook and searching for NMSU Athletics as well as The Aggie Student-Athlete.
TICKETS: Fans can call the Pan American Center ticket office or call (575) 646-1420 to purchase tickets ahead of time or walk up to the ticket booth at Presley Askew Field to buy tickets the day of the game.
Season tickets for baseball are $49 for adults, $44 for NM State faculty and staff and $44 for senior citizens. There is also a partial season-ticket package that includes 19 for only $29. Single game tickets cost $6 for adults and $4 per ticket with groups of ten or more. Children 12-and-under can enter the games for free, while NM State students also get in free.
PROMOTIONS: This week's promotions at Presley Askew Field include a T-shirt giveaway from ASNMSU. Students just need to bring their student ID to Presley Askew Field this Friday as the Aggies open the 2013 season.
ABOUT THE AGGIES: The Aggies are hoping for a successful repeat of last year with 35 wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
coach Rocky Ward is looking for new leadership after losing key players from last season's team. The Aggies have to replace right-hand pitcher Scott Coffman, school record holder for saves in a season and career, along with shortstop Zach Voight. Ward believes that athletic-wise and physically, the team has not lost anything from last season’s team.
Ward hopes that returning shortstop Parker Hipp and outfielder Kyle Phillips will lead the team in 2013 along with pitcher Adam Mott and Las Cruces native Michael Ormseth. NM State also has strong and developing newcomers in freshman Kent Blackstone, who is predicted to start at second base, while junior transfer Quinnton Mack looks to be a starter in the outfield.
NM State's Adam Mott, Parker Hipp, Tanner Rust and Kyle Phillips made the College Madness WAC Preseason All-Conference team and Hipp has also been named a Louisville Slugger All-American.
THE AGGIE OUTFIELD: After losing two-thirds of their 2012 outfield to graduation, the New Mexico State baseball team now looks to a couple of junior college transfers to fill an outfield unit that was an integral part of last year's Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship team.
Juniors Quinnton Mack and Michael Medina will join senior Kyle Phillips, the only remaining starting outfielder from last season, to compromise this season's starting outfield for NM State.
Last year's trio of outfielders, Tanner Waite in left field, Bryan Karraker in right field and Phillips in center field, finished the season as one of the highest scoring group of outfielders in the nation. The threesome scored nearly one-third of all the Aggie runs, mostly because of their knack for getting on base. All three had an on-base percentage higher than .420.
Phillips will once again be the Aggies' starting center fielder and will be called upon to be the leader and role model for the outfielders. He can start by showing his new teammates his numbers from last year. Phillips finished the 2012 season with a .311 batting average, a .421 on-base percentage, six home runs and 39 RBIs. On the field he was second on the team with 144 putouts and finished with a .967 fielding percentage.
Replacing Waite in left field this season will be Mack, a Las Vegas, Nev., native who has a rare combination of power and speed and also has baseball pedigree in his family. Mack's father, Quinn, and his uncle, Shane, both played outfield in the major leagues. Shane played alongside Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett in the outfield during the Minnesota Twins World Series team of 1991. Prior to coming to NM State, Mack played two years of baseball at the College of Southern Nevada. In 2012 he was selected as a first-team all-region outfielder after finishing the season with a .330 batting average, 29 stolen bases and nine home runs.
Rounding out this year's starting outfield will be Medina who will take over for Karraker at right field. Medina, a product of Southern California, comes to the Aggies after playing a season of baseball at Compton Community College located in Compton, Calif. He is known for being a great defensive outfielder. While at Compton C.C., Medina was invited to participate in the Cecil Fielder Elite World Series as an outfielder. Not only did his team win the tournament, Medina was also honored individually by receiving a Gold Glove Award for the tournament. It wasn't the first gold glove award on his mantel, however, as Medina had also won a gold glove award after both his junior and senior years in high school.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT: The Panthers finished last season 27-27 and 18-11 in Horizon League play. They finished third in the Horizon League last season and were selected to finish second in the Horizon League this season. Milwaukee returns six of their top seven pitchers from 2012. This was a pitching staff that set a program record in 2012 with a 3.73 ERA. Milwaukee will also get back Josh Uren who returns after sitting out the 2012 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Milwaukee also brings Cale Tassi who was voted Preseason Pitcher of the Year by Horizon League coaches. Tassi is joined by outfielder Luke Meeteer in the first-ever Horizon League preseason all-conference team.
Milwaukee is coached by Scott Doffek who is in his seventh year as the head coach of the Panthers. Before becoming the head coach of the Panthers, Doffek was an assistant coach for Milwaukee for 12 years.
SERIES RECORD VERSUS UW-MILWAUKEE: This series will mark the first-ever meeting between the Panthers and the Aggies.
AGGIES IN OPENING GAMES: NM State is 25-25 overall in season opening games. The Aggies are 23-20 when playing a season opener at home and are 9-4 in opening games since 2000. NM State is 10-4 in opening day games under head coach Rocky Ward.
NM STATE PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS: Adam Mott is expected to take the mound for the opening game on Friday (Feb. 15) against UW-Milwaukee. Mott was a first team All-WAC selection last season and finished with a 6-3 record. He recorded 78 strikeouts and led Aggie pitchers with a .276 opponent’s batting average. In Presley Askew Field, Mott was undefeated at 4-0 and had a 3.96 ERA.
Christopher Bradley is expected to start the second game of the double-header against UW-Milwaukee on Friday. Bradley is a newcomer to the Aggies and played at Galvin College in Gilroy, Calif. last season. The coaching staff is happy with Bradley’s improvement and development and is excited about what he can bring to the mound for the Aggies.
Michael Ormseth is expected to start the first game on Saturday (Feb. 16) against UW-Milwaukee. Ormseth led the Aggies’ pitching staff last season with eight wins in 13 starts for the Aggies. He ended with an 8-2 record in 2012. Ormseth pitched extremely well in Presley Askew Field where he finished with a 6-1 record in nine starts. He also recorded two-thirds of his 62 strikeouts in front of the Aggie crowd.
Game four against UW-Milwaukee will be either Trey Higginbotham or Casey Collins taking the mound for the Aggies.
WAC PRESEASON POLL: New Mexico State baseball was selected to finish third in the 2013 Western Athletic Conference regular season, in the coaches' preseason poll behind Dallas Baptist and Texas State, the WAC announced.
The Aggies received 60 points in the voting that was done by the 10 WAC baseball coaches after a 35-24 season (11-7 WAC), which resulted in the 2012 WAC regular season co-champion title and an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Dallas Baptist, who joined the WAC this year, was picked to win the league with 80 points and eight first place votes after a 41-19 season. Surpassing the Aggies for the second spot is Texas State who received 65 points and one first place vote.
NATIONAL POLLS: New Mexico State is receiving votes in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason top 40. They are also receiving votes in the NCBWA preseason top 35 polls. Future Aggie opponent NC State is ranked in in the top 15 in four polls and is ranked as high as eighth in the Baseball America preseason poll. Oklahoma is also ranked in the top 25 in four preseason polls with their highest ranking at 14 in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll. New Mexico is ranked in three of four national polls and is ranked as high as 21 in the Baseball America preseason poll.
LOOKING BACK: The New Mexico State Aggies defeated the Alumni Team in the Annual Alumni Game at Presley Askew Field, Saturday, Feb. 9. The Aggies tallied 13 runs on eight hits and committed two errors while the Alumni team marked its six runs in the top of the sixth inning. Starting pitcher and Las Cruces native Michael Ormseth pitched a strong 5.2 innings, striking out seven batters and giving up just one run.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Aggies will hit the road next week and head to East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., where they will take part in the 10th annual Keith LecClaire Classic. The tournament is held from Feb. 22-24 and the Aggies will face East Carolina, Illinois and Ohio. There will be no radio broadcast for the LecClaire Classic but fans can follow along with Live Stats on NMStatesports.com.