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Las Cruces, NM — 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 www.NMStateSports.com for small fee. Live stats can also be found online at www.NMStateSports.com and in-game Twitter updates are also available @NMStateAggies.
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.
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.
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