Thursday, May 31, 2012

A look into the Aggies 2012 NCAA Regional

Can a berth into the NCAA Tournament breath life into the New Mexico State Aggies baseball season? At this point, why not?

NMSU will be seeded No. 2 in the Tucson regional this weekend, set to face No. 3-seed Louisville tonight at 5 p.m. On the other side of the regional bracket, No. 1-seeded Arizona will take on No. 4 Missouri at 9 p.m. tonight.

It’s not an easy regional on paper – all four teams won conference championships, with Arizona, NMSU and Louisville capturing there’s in regular-season fashion, while Missouri took home the Big 12 tournament title.

All games in the double-elimination Tucson regional will be televised on ESPNU, while Aggie games can be heard locally on the radio at KSNM-AM 570.

For now, a look at the matchups, and how each team stacks up heading into postseason play.

No. 2 NMSU vs. No. 3 Louisville, 5 p.m.
NMSU: By now we know the deal with the Aggies, a team that started out the season extremely well and ended it extremely cold. NMSU does seem to have perked up after getting an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament by playing a quality early-season schedule, and winning the WAC regular-season championship to close out the year. There could be runs scored in Friday’s game between the Aggies and Cardinals, the top two teams in the regional in home runs. While NMSU launched 47 long balls on the season, Louisville hit 31, and the Cardinals will now get their crack at hitting in the Desert air.

Louisville: This is a solid-looking team, one that has good numbers both pitching and offensively. The Cardinals — who won the Big East regular-season title with a 39-19 overall record and 18-9 mark in conference — have 93 stolen bases on the year and could test Aggie catcher Zac Fisher’s ability to gun down runners. Louisville also comes into the game with a 3.36 ERA, although this will be their first series of the year playing in the desert, and at the launching pad known as Hi Corbett Field.

No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 4 Missouri, 9 p.m.
Arizona: The Wildcats finished in a tie for the Pac 12 regular-season championship with UCLA, finishing the year with a 38-17 overall record, and a 20-10 mark in conference play. They’re a top-10 program in the nation and it shows — the Wildcats have athletes that can run, and cover the field defensively. They will play a hot team in Missouri, and also lost to New Mexico State this year — twice actually — in separate games played in Tucson.

Missouri: A hot team, Missouri finished in sixth place in the Big 12 standings — a fine league — although managed to win the conference tournament with wins over Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas and Oklahoma. They also have experience — head coach Tim Jamieson is in is 18th season with the school and just picked up career win No. 600. This is the eighth NCAA regional appearance for the Tigers in the last 10 years, and 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.

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