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By MATT DEARMAN mwd@004@latech



Tech’s baseball team looks to defend its spot atop the Western Athletic Conference standings this weekend when the Bulldogs travel to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for a three-game series with WAC foe New Mexico State.

The Bulldogs enter the contest 27-15 on the year, with a 9-5 mark in WAC play to stay one game ahead of Fresno State. New Mexico State is 15-28 for the season and sits at the bottom of the conference with a 2-10 WAC record.

“[New Mexico State] can hit the ball extremely well,” Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux  said. “They have beaten two of the better teams in the conference.”

Last weekend, Tech dropped two out of three games on the road against conference opponent Sacramento State, but had won 16 out of its last 17 games prior to the meeting, including a sweep of Fresno and a series win over conference opponent Nevada.

The Aggies enter the series riding their second conference win of the season after defeating Hawaii 5-3 on Sunday in Honolulu.

Leading Tech in the series will be freshman right fielder and pitcher Jericho Jones, who has been one of the most effective hitters in the conference in a variety of categories. Jones currently leads the WAC in homeruns and slugging percentage, is second in RBIs and is third in the conference in batting average and total bases.

Joining Jones in the Bulldog offensive assault are sophomore first baseman Albie Goulder, who holds the WAC’s second best on base percentage, senior second baseman Amos Ramon with the conferences fourth best batting average and sophomore centerfielder Adam Cobb, who has accounted for 37 runs on the year.

Defensively, the pitching trio of Jones, senior Matt Lacy and freshman Luke Burnett have combined for a record of 13-7, with Tech boasting a team ERA of 4.8, compared to their opponents 7.16.

New Mexico State is led offensively by Vince Rodden, who leads the conference in runs scored with 45 on the year, Abe Aguirre, who leads the WAC in hits with 58 and Luke Hopkins, whose 54 RBI’s is ten better than anyone else in the conference.

“They have a very good offense,” Simoneaux said of the Aggies, “In this conference, its tough to play on the road. We need to come out and take care of business.”

Defensively, NMSU has struggled, committing 56 errors on the year with a team ERA of 7.89. Jason Conner has been the Aggie ace on the mound, recording 61 strike outs while allowing 50 earned runs in 75.2 innings of work.

The series opens with game one Friday night at 7:05 p.m., with game two following at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday and the final game at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday.

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