NMSU opens WAC baseball tournament Thursday
Grand Praire, TX — The New Mexico State baseball team heads to the 2013 Western Athletic Conference Tournament this week playing at QuikTrip Park, in Grand Prairie, Texas. The tournament starts, Wednesday, May 22, although NM State won’t start play until, Thursday, May 23. The Aggies are the No. 6 seed in the tournament and open play against No. 3 seed Texas State, Thursday, May 23 at 10:00 a.m. (MT). NM State faces No. 2 UT Arlington, Friday, May 24 at 2:00 p.m. (MT) before taking on No. 7 seed Dallas Baptist, Saturday, May 25 at 2:00 p.m. (MT). If the Aggies win their pool, they will play in the WAC Tournament Championship on Sunday, May 26 at 12:00 p.m. (MT).
TOURNMENT SEEDINGS/SCHEDULE: The tournament, which takes place at QuikTrip Ballpark May 22-26 in Grand Prairie, Texas, will feature the league's top eight teams from the regular season.
CSU Bakersfield earned the tournament's top seed and will play eighth-seeded San Jose State on Wednesday. UT Arlington will be the No. 2 seed and will take on No. 7 Dallas Baptist in Wednesday's night game. Texas State is the No. 3 seed, followed by UTSA (No. 4), Sacramento State (No. 5), New Mexico State (No. 6), Dallas Baptist (No. 7), and San Jose State (No. 8).
The tournament will begin on Wednesday, May 22 with No. 4 UTSA taking on No. 5 Sacramento State at 10:00 a.m. (MT). No. 1 CSU Bakersfield will play No. 8 San Jose State at 3 p.m., and No. 2 UT Arlington takes on No. 7 Dallas Baptist in the nightcap Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. (MT)
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: An eight team round-robin (pool play) tournament will be played to determine the WAC champion and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Teams are divided into two pools with seeds # 1, 4, 5, and 8 in Pool A and seeds # 2, 3, 6, and 7 in Pool B. The teams with the best records in the two pools will compete for in the championship game on Sunday. If more than one team is tied at the completion of round-robin play, the following tie-breaking procedure will be used:
Two teams tied: The team that won the head-to-head competition in championship tournament games will advance.
Three-teams tied: The team with the highest seed in the respective bracket will advance.
MEDIA COVERAGE: New Mexico State baseball fans have at least three more opportunities to follow the Aggies on the radio on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces, N.M. The championship game on Sunday will also air over the radio waves if the Aggies make it.
Fans can listen to the WAC Tournament on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces or online from anywhere in the world at www.NMStateSports.com (for a fee). Game one is set for 10:00 a.m. (MT), Thursday, May 23 and game two is, Friday, May 24 at 2:00 p.m. (MT). The final game of Pool Play is Saturday, May 25 at 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.
ABOUT THE AGGIES: The Aggies head into the WAC Tournament as the No. 6 seed after finished the year 13-14 in league play and 28-26 overall. NM State struggled towards the end of the year marking a 9-11 record in the last 20 games, 4-6 in the last 10 games and only 1-4 in the last five games.
NM State finished the year with a 20-10 home record, a 7-15 road record, while going 1-1 when playing at a neutral site.
The Aggies ended the regular season hitting .291 as a team with four Aggies (who average at least 2.5 at-bats/game) hitting .300 or better. Junior Tanner Rust leads the team with a .387 batting average while senior Bobby Lecount is posting a .341 average on the year. Lecount, although, has a team-high 67 RBI on the year, which is also in the top ten nationally.
The Aggie pitching staff heads into the weekend with a 5.49 ERA. Senior Adam Mott has worked more innings than any other Aggie pitcher working 86.2 innings this year. He also has a team-high 82 strikeouts this year. Senior lefty Ryan Beck has 80 K’s in 73.0 innings of work and is posting 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings, which leads the WAC.
LOOKING BACK: Despite losing the series at Seattle U 2-1, NM State managed record-setting milestones in each of the three games. Falling in Friday’s series opener 15-2, senior Parker Hipp broke the school record for games played marking the 208thgame played at NM State. He surpassed Andre Champagne who played 207 games from 1995-98. The aggies came back for a 4-0 shutout over the Redhawks on Saturday and strikeout No. 300 for Ryan Beck on the mound. The weekend capped with a 7-6 loss to SU. The weekend finale included back-to-back home runs as senior Parker Hipp and Bobby Lecount, as well as a new appearances record (31) by senior hurler Evan Mott.
NM State finished the three-game series with 23 hits and three major milestones. Saturday’s 4-0 win over Seattle U marked the 500th win that head coach Rocky Ward has been a part of. Although, 69 wins were officially credited to Gary Ward in 2001 and 2002, Rocky Ward program continues to show success as his team has over 175 wins in the past five years.
AGGIES IN WAC TOURNAMENT: The Aggies are 3-13 all-time in WAC Tournament games dating back to 2008. NM State’s first game in the WAC Tournament was an 11-7 loss against Hawai’i during the 2008 touranment in Ruston, La. The first win for the Aggies in the tournament was in 2009 where they won three consecutive games against Fresno State (7-4), Louisiana Tech (6-5) and San Jose State (10-9) in Honolulu, Hawai’i. NM State welcomes many newcomers to the WAC Tournament this year but they do have history with San Jose State (1-0) and Sacramento State (0-1) in the postseason.