Monday, May 25, 2009

A good year

It was a good year - some would say even a great year - for the New Mexico State Aggie baseball team in 2009.

There should be some bitterness about how the year ended. It seems that NMSU should have beaten Fresno State on Sunday in one of the two games for the WAC championship - particularly Game 2, where NMSU blew a 7-2 lead.

Lets look at the big picture though. The team has improved drastically in the last handful of years. Three seasons ago, the Aggies weren't competitive at all in the WAC, missing out on the conference tournament and clearly being a notch below their league rivals.

Last season was a step forward. Although the Aggies didn't finish .500, they got into postseason play and head coach Rocky Ward, who entered the season in the final year of his contract, was given a new deal.

This year, the team continued to move up the ladder. The Aggies out-of-conference schedule was not against elite competition and I was skeptical the team could carry its strong performance into WAC play. They did finish 12-12 in league, but it wasn't an empty .500 record. The Aggies split road series' at Fresno State, Nevada and Louisiana Tech. At home, they split with Hawaii while falling in three of four to San Jose State. They also took three of four from Sacramento State.

Going into the WAC tourney, I didn't think NMSU could get past San Jose. I was wrong, as the Aggies took down the Spartans 10-9 in the second round. In my eyes, that made up for losing to the Spartans in the regular season and also moved the Aggies up the conference ranks. If they could beat the No. 1 seed, can't they beat just about anybody?

I was surprised that they lost in the finals to Fresno State. The Aggies were playing hot baseballl, and they also should have been confident against the Bulldogs. NMSU beat them in Round 1 and it seemed like a good matchup, as the Aggies truly felt like they should have taken the regular season series from Fresno as well. Again, after blowing the big lead in the opener, I knew it would be tough to comeback in Game 2. That's a quick turnaround and a tough mountain to overcome - although not impossible. In the end, Fresno State won the game. They're the conference champs, hands down.

It was still a good year for NMSU. Nobody expected an NCAA regional berth, let alone challenging for the WAC title, at the beginning of the year. Well, outside the coaching staff and the players in that locker room. The bar for Aggie baseball is rising.


Anonymous said...

Teddy, how easily you are taken in by easy wins. Their won loss record has shot up principally because their schedule has been softened in the past few years. Note that in out of conference play they had only one opponent with a winning record. That was UNM. Their strength of schedule was about 140th in the nation. Their non conference opponents won approximately 33% of their games. If you like baseball that features routs of the North Dakotas, Chicago States, Hartfords, Sul Ross's etc, then you were pleased. On the other hand, if you like baseball that brings in tough competition and perhaps leads to at-large NCAA bids, you did not want to watch the Aggies play. It is not how they chose to construct their schedule. And it will probably be worse next year if they use this year as a model.

Anonymous said...

That first post is freaking amazing. What a "HATER"! The NMSU baseball players and coaches worked their rear ends off this past season and you should feel good about that. What is wrong with you people in Las Cruces who pretend to be Aggie people. Coach Ward worked his butt off for an AD who is a joke and shows no support for him and Rocky had a great year. For some reason the NMSU people think they are on such a higher level. Face the facts, we are a low level D1 program.

Congrats to the Aggie baseball players and coaches. For those of us who saw you all play and work for your season, we are proud of you.

Oh wait, we should all be getting excited about our football team, thats right! As we sell season football tickets for a couple of empty soda bottles just so we can count them on our attendance figures and stay above the D1 cut line. We keep pouring all the money in to that program while neglecting baseball. Nice!

Go Aggies!