April 28, 2010
LAS CRUCES, N.M.--The Louisiana Tech baseball team will travel to Las Cruces, N.M. this weekend for a four game conference series with the number one team in the WAC New Mexico State. Game one of the series will be Friday at 7 p.m. CT with a double header set to begin at 4 p.m. CT Saturday and a 2 p.m. CT start time on Sunday.
The two teams have gone back and forth in 20 total match-ups with New Mexico State (31-12-1, 9-2-1) holding a slight 11-9 all-time series edge over the Bulldogs (21-18, 6-6). The Aggies have won the last two with the last win being a 6-5 win in the WAC tournament last season.
Louisiana Tech is currently coming off of their third straight WAC series split after splitting 2-2 with Hawai'i last weekend and will be looking to gain some ground in the WAC standings by picking up a few wins over the top team in the conference.
The Bulldogs' pitchers will have their work cut out for them this weekend as Las Cruces and Presley Askew Field have been said to be a sort of "launching pad" for hitters to lace homeruns. Some say that the thin air and wind that always seems to be blowing out makes the ball just jump off the bat.
The only Tech starter that is set in stone for this weekend is senior left-hander Jamey Bradshaw (4-1, 4.92) who will be the Friday night starter. Bradshaw is having a solid season recording nine quality starts in ten chances on the season. The rest of the rotation for the weekend is still undetermined.
Offensively this season the Bulldogs have been a potent force ranking second in the conference in most offensive categories to none other than New Mexico State. Every single Tech player in game four of the Hawai'i series is hitting above .300 on the season and five different players have at least 30 RBI with seven total players having recorded at least 20 RBI. Third baseman Mark Threlkeld leads all Bulldogs with 39 RBI on the year while second baseman Joey Ford is the team's leading hitter with a .382 average. Outfielder Devon Dageford is number one on the team with 11 homeruns.
Last week New Mexico State swept fellow WAC foe Sacramento State in Sacramento to jump to the top of the WAC standings.
The Aggies will send all right-handers to the mound for the first three games of the series with Sunday's starter to be announced later. Sophomore Justin Cooper (4-0, 5.88) will receive the start Friday night before 6'4 freshman Tyler Mack (5-0, 5.40) starts game one of a double header Saturday. Junior Dan Reid (5-1, 5.91) will be the starter for game two of the double-header.
While the NMSU batters get to enjoy a hitter's ballpark, the Aggie pitchers are not so lucky. New Mexico State currently holds a team ERA of 7.07 after 44 games while having teams hitting .331 against them with 49 homeruns. However, the NMSU pitchers did show they are capable of shutting down an opponent's offense this past weekend in Sacramento as they held the Hornets to just 12 runs over four games including a 3-0 shutout to close out the series.
The Aggies are currently ranked in the top five in the nation in nearly every offensive category this year including leading the WAC in hits, runs scored, RBI and homeruns. The Aggies have scored 477 runs on the year while Tech who ranks second in the WAC has plated 330. NMSU is tops in the conference in homeruns with 82 while LA Tech ranks second with 53. These are just a couple of examples of how dominant the Aggie offense has been this season.
The offensive juggernaut is led by first baseman Leo Agguirre with a .400 average while Mike Sodders leads the team with 15 homeruns and outfielder Chace Perkins is tops on the team with 52 RBI.
Fans can listen to Dave Nitz bringing the action live on the radio this weekend by checking the broadcast schedule below. Gametracker will also be available on www.latechsports.com.
Game One- Friday- KPCH 99.3
Game Two- Saturday- KXKZ 107.5 (Game one of double header)
Game Three- Saturday- KPCH 99.3 (Game two of double header)
Game Four- Sunday- ESPN 97.7