Sam Wasson is a contributor to College Baseball Daily focusing on coverage of the WAC and other national stories. He is also the founder of BleedCrimson.net which covers all sports teams at New Mexico State.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – As everyone is in the final month of the 2012 year, New Mexico State University head coach Rocky Ward has announced the Aggies’ schedule for the upcoming season.
NM State, who is coming off a 35-win season, a Western Athletic Conference regular-season co-championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, will play a total of 51 regular-season games, including 26 chances for Aggie fans to see their team at Presley Askew Field.
“The 2013 schedule is another challenging one for us,” Ward said. “We will play a 27-game conference schedule for the first time in several years, but we still have some quality non-conference opponents as well.”
The Aggies will play five teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season, including two teams that won a regional at the tournament and were part of the final 16-team field, two teams that will be part of the WAC this season and in-state rival New Mexico. Five of NM State’s opponents also finished in the Top 40 of the NCAA Division I rankings, including three that finished in the Top 25.
With day two in Tucson in the books the regional is down to the final three teams as Missouri came from behind with a five run eighth inning to knock off two-seed New Mexico State 6-2. The Aggies plated two runs in the first off a triple from Zach Voight but could not capitalize on opportunities in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings leaving runners seven runners on base during the stretch. The Tigers capitalized in the eighth claiming the lead with five runs including a pair of triples in the inning.
In the second game of the day the Arizona Wildcats continued their assault on the baseball posting 16 runs to defeat Louisville 16-4. Arizona led 8-3 after six innings but blew the game open with a seven-run seventh inning to take a 15-3 lead. Arizona pinch hitter Brandon Dixon hit the regional’s first home run belting a three-run blast in the seventh.
The Wildcats pounded out 20-plus hits for the second consecutive game and did so for the first time since the 2007 season. Arizona will face the winner of Sunday’s elimination game between Louisville and Missouri.
Friday, June 1 (Games televised on ESPNU)
Game 1 (4 p.m. MST): No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 2 New Mexico State
Game 2 (8 p.m. MST): No. 4 Missouri vs. No. 1 Arizona
The Tucson Regional figures to be one of the more competitive and difficult regionals in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The regional features four conference champions in host and top seed Arizona (Pac 12), two-seed New Mexico State (WAC regular season), three-seed Louisville (Big East regular season) and four-seed Missouri (Big 12 tournament).
The regional kicks off on Friday night with New Mexico State (35-22) taking on Louisville (39-20) at 4:00 p.m. (MST) and Arizona (38-17) taking on Missouri (32-26) in the nightcap at 8:00 p.m. (MST). With the weekend’s games being televised on ESPNU it also one of the featured regionals nationally. Continue reading 2012 NCAA Regional Preview: Tucson Regional→
Fresno State battled its way through two elimination games, trailing in both games, to force the “if necessary” championship Sunday winner-take-all game with Sacramento State. Fresno State defeated Louisiana Tech 6-4 after trailing 4-1 after three and a half innings. Fresno State scored the game’s final five runs.
Two more teams were eliminated on day three both at the hands of Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs knocked off two of the three regular season tri-champions and did so in rather convincing fashion. Louisiana Tech defeated top seed New Mexico State 15-12, surviving a late comeback by the Aggies who after trailing 15-6 scored six in the top of the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate with two outs. The Bulldogs then trounced 3-seed Nevada 18-5 in a seven inning run-rule shortened game to advance to Saturday’s final losers bracket elimination game. They’ll face Fresno State who was defeated in the WAC tournament for just the fourth time since 2006. The Bulldogs lost 8-3 to 2-seed Sacramento State who continued their impressive play. The win puts the Hornets, picked to finish last in the league, in the tournament’s championship game on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. (PDT) and they’ll have two shots at winning the league’s automatic bid. Continue reading 2012 WAC Tournament Day Three Recap/Day Four Preview→
Georgia Southern and Samford, both 2-0, took the day off as the remaining one-loss teams battled for the right to move on in tournament play. The way the tournament is set up, both of the 2-0 teams will have to be defeated twice on Saturday, with the winners of each separate bracket facing off in Sunday’s championship game. Continue reading Southern Conference Tournament Day 3 Recap→
Day Two of the WAC Tournament in Mesa, Ariz. saw one team eliminated (Hawai’i), one team run-ruled (Nevada) and one team give up a 10-run inning (New Mexico State). The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs bounced back from a crushing 4-3 walk-off loss at the hands of Nevada to eliminated Hawai’i 9-6 sending the 4-seeded Rainbow Warriors packing their bags for Honolulu. The second game of the day saw 2-seed Sacramento State crush 3-seed Nevada 15-5 after the Wolf Pack had jumped out on top 3-2. The third game of the day also saw the winning team post 15 runs as perennial tournament bully Fresno State overpowered New Mexico State behind the strength of a 10-run second inning en route to a 15-8 victory. Continue reading 2012 WAC Tournament Day Two Recap/Day Three Preview→
Day one of the WAC tournament is in the books and day two has begun.
5-seed Fresno State continued their historically strong play in the tournament (23-3 since 2006) defeating 4-seed Hawai’i 8-2 behind a 6-run sixth inning. The Bulldogs will face top seed New Mexico State tonight at 7:00 p.m. (PDT).
3-seed Nevada won in dramatic walk-off fashion getting a home run from Carlos Escobar in the bottom of the ninth to stun 6-seed Louisiana Tech. The Ruston-based Bulldogs have been snakebitten all season losing several games either in the final inning or in walk-off fashion.
The 2012 Western Athletic Conference baseball tournament gets underway today at Hohokam Park in Mesa, Ariz. The regular season saw a three-way tie for first place between New Mexico State, Sacramento State and Nevada at 11-7. The Aggies earned the top seed due to the league’s tiebreaker rules (head-to-head record against the tied teams) while Sacramento State earned the number two seed by virtue of their head-to-head series victory over Nevada. This was important because the league awards first-round byes to the top two teams meaning Nevada, despite winning a share of the regular season title, was relegated to the three seed and must play on the tournament’s opening day.
The four seed went to Hawai’i who finished the regular season at 10-8. Preseason favorite Fresno State struggled out of the gate starting conference play at 2-7 but rallied in the second half of the conference schedule to finish 9-9 and in fifth place. Rounding out the tournament field is Louisiana Tech who also struggled out of the gate starting 1-8 in league play but like their Bulldog brethren from California, posted a strong second half and finished 7-11.
The four lower seeds will play today with 4-seed Hawai’i facing 5-seed Fresno State at 3:00 p.m. (PDT) while 3-seed Nevada takes on 6-seed Louisiana Tech at 7:00 p.m. (PDT).