Aggies close out regular season at home, seeking WAC title

Sports

The New Mexico State baseball team hosts Western Athletic Conference newcomer California Baptist for the final regular-season series, May 16-18, at Presley Askew Field. The Aggies sit in first place and look to lock up the number-one seed against the second-ranked Lancers.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Thursday, May 16, at 6:05 p.m. MT

NM State: Brock Whittlesey | RHP | 7-1 | 4.58 ERA

California Baptist: Logan Rinehart | RHP | 8-0 | 3.03 ERA

Friday, May 17, at 2:05 p.m. MT

NM State: Justin Dehn | RHP | 8-3 | 5.88 ERA

California Baptist: Chris Burica | LHP | 5-1 | 3.88 ERA

Saturday, May 18, at 12:05 p.m. MT

NM State: Chance Hroch | RHP | 10-0 | 2.62 ERA

California Baptist: Andrew Bash | RHP | 6-4 | 1.74 ERA

GET CONNECTED

Get up to the minute information and news about the NM State baseball team all season on Twitter, and Instagram by following @NMStateBaseball and on Facebook.com/NMStateBaseball.

WHERE TO WATCH

Fans who cannot make it out to The ‘Skew can catch all three games of the final regular-season series through a stream on the WAC Digital Network.

LISTEN UP!

Aggie fans looking to listen in can also hear all three games live with Adam Young calling the weekend series on 91.5 FM KRUX. The stations can also be listened to through your phone or tablet on the TuneIn app.

LIVE STATS

All three of the final regular-season games for NM State can also be followed through live stats from the first pitch until game’s end on StatBroadcast.

SENIOR DAY

With this being the final regular season series for NM State, it marks the final weekend the team’s 12 seniors get to don the Crimson & White at Presley Askew Field. Saturday’s series finale features Senior Day to honor these seniors and all they have done for the Aggies. Postgame honors are set following game’s end on the field at The ‘Skew to recognize all of the team’s seniors – Logan Bottrell, Eric Mingus, Tristen Carranza, Bruno Teramoto, Braden Williams, Brock Whittlesey, Caleb Henderson, Justin Dehn, Wyatt Kelley, Keaton Graf, Logan Ehnes and Alex Pinedo.

LOOKING AT THE LANCERS

California Baptist enters Presley Askew Field for the final regular season series sitting in second place in the Western Athletic Conference during the team’s first season in transition to Division I. The Lancers have won seven of their last eight games, including six-straight WAC wins sweeping Utah Valley and Chicago State.

In the team’s first season in the conference, CBU has performed well at the plate and on the mound. The Lancers rank second in the league in batting average (.282) and home runs (55), third in slugging percentage (.428), hits (499), runs batted in (281), doubles (81) and total bases (757). The team also ranks fourth in runs scored (302) and fifth in on-base percentage (.362).

The pitching staff for California Baptist has also performed well in the WAC ranking first in earned run average (3.57), opposing batting average (.232), saves (17), least hits allowed (396) and least runs allowed (227). The Lancers numbers on the mound also rank second in least walks allowed (189) and third in strikeouts (434). 

SOPHOMORE SLUMP? NEVER HEARD OF IT

On Wednesday, USA Baseball named the 25 semifinalists for its Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur player in the country. An incredible sophomore season has earned New Mexico State second baseman Nick Gonzales a spot as a semifinalist for the prestigious award.

Gonzales continues to prove why he is a top player collegiately being named the best second baseman in the country by Aaron Fitt and D1 Baseball during a sophomore season that features him leading the NCAA in batting average (.442), is second in runs scored (77) and on-base percentage (.537), ranks third in hits (88), as well as fourth in slugging percentage (.804), runs batted in (76) and total bases (160). The sophomore also leads the Western Athletic Conference with three hitter of the week honors during the 2019 season and was named the Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA National Player of the Month for his numbers in February.

The Vail, Ariz. was named the WAC Freshman of the Year as well as a NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball, D1 Baseball, Perfect Game and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2018, allowing the second baseman to earn a roster spot in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League to finish out the summer of 2018. He is now set to compete for the Cotuit Kettleers in the CCBL for the entirety of the 2019 summer.

Since 1978, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. Following the first-ever presentation of the Award to Bob Horner of Arizona State, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 42nd Golden Spikes Award winner is to be announced on June 14 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

NO LONGER JUST THE BEST IN THE WEST

The College Baseball Foundation announced its semifinalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation’s best shortstop, on Wednesday. Incredible play at the plate and in the field earned New Mexico State’s Joey Ortiz a spot on the award’s semifinalist list.

Ortiz has been on a tear all season long helping the Aggies to a first-place spot in the Western Athletic Conference during the final week of the regular season. The junior was named the WAC Hitter of the Week on April 15 and into the last three games of the regular season he leads the entire NCAA in hits (97), runs scored (78), runs batted in (82), and triples (10), while also ranking second in batting average (.433) and total bases (165) and he sits in fourth in doubles (24).

His play had him recognized by Aaron Fitt and D1 Baseball as one of the top shortstops in the nation to start the year and Baseball America said, “Ortiz is earning a reputation as a must-see defender out West. Some are saying he is one of the top defensive players they’ve ever scouted.” His play at shortstop is unrivaled as he posts a .978 fielding percentage with 166 assists and 28 double plays turned.

The award, sponsored by Mizuno, honors the nation’s top shortstop and is set to be presented this summer by the College Baseball Foundation. The honor is named for former Texas Tech shortstop Brooks Wallace, who played for the Red Raiders to from 1977 to 1980.

IN THE NATION

49 games into the season the Aggies currently rank in the top-20 nationally in 13 categories, including nine NCAA-leading statistics and 10 in the top-10:

NM State (Rk)

Category

NCAA

.363 (1st)

Batting Average

.363

109 (1st)

Hit By Pitch

109

635 (1st)

Hits

635

.477 (1st)

On-Base %

.477

571 (1st)

Runs

571

39 (1st)

Sacrifice Flies

39

11.7 (1st)

Scoring

11.7

.594 (1st)

Slugging %

.594

33 (1st)

Triples

33

75 (5th)

Home Runs

84

306 (8th)

Base on Balls

338

.735 (13th)

W/L Pct.

.854

111 (19th)

Doubles

138

LEADER OF THE WAC

Heading into the final series of the regular season, the Aggies currently lead the WAC in 15 categories. 

The Aggies leading conference state are batting average (.363), slugging percentage (.594), on-base percentage (.477), runs scored (571), hits (635), runs batted in (532), triples (33), home runs (75), total bases (1,037), walks (306), hit by pitch (109), sacrifice flies (39), least doubles allowed (69), ground outs forced per game (10.07) and wins (36).

UP NEXT

Following the final series of the regular season, the New Mexico State baseball team travels to Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz. for the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, May 22-26. The Aggies can secure a number-one or two seed in the final weekend to earn a first-round bye as the team looks to defend its 2018 WAC title.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Local Sports

More Local Sports