NMSU Baseball Unveils Challenging 2017 Schedule

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State baseball head coach Brian Green looks to challenge his team this spring as he unveiled the 2017 schedule Tuesday afternoon.

The 2017 slate for NM State baseball features 52 regular-season games against eight teams that went on to play in last year’s NCAA Tournament as well as three teams that advanced to Omaha to play in the College World Series – including an Arizona squad that lost in the championship series.

“We are really excited about the 2017 season,” Aggie skipper Brian Green said. “When we sat down a couple of years ago, it was really important for us to put together as competitive as a schedule as we could. We are confident that we have done that. We will compete outside of conference in 19 games against NCAA post season participants, as well as eight games versus 2016 College World Series participants.

The Aggies are coming off a 2016 campaign where they were a win from tying for the regular-season championship thanks to a 23 win improvement from the previous season. Its improvement number of 19 was also the second-best turnaround in the country last season.

“We are excited at the opportunity to play top competition in preparing us for an opportunity to chase down a WAC championship,” Green said. “We know the WAC will be really strong this year and this schedule puts us in the best position possible to prepare to play our most competitive baseball come conference time. With trips to Santa Barbara, Tucson, Tempe, Lubbock, Salt Lake City and Provo, we are excited and look forward to a great schedule of opponents.”

NM State opens the season at home with a four-game series against a Bryant (Feb. 17-19) team that won 47 games last year and went to the NCAA Regionals. The Bulldogs also return All-American pitcher James Karinchak, who went 12-3 as a starter with a 2.00 ERA and 112 strikeouts. The Bulldogs are one of five teams NM State will play that won the regular-season in their respective league.

Green and company are once again playing in three-game set against Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico spread throughout the season, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. (MT) first-pitch on Tuesday, March 7, at Southwest University Park – home of the 2016 Pacific Coast League Champions El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

The Aggies are also set to square off against Texas Tech in a three-game series spaced out over the season, including a neutral field contest in Midland, Texas, on Tuesday, April 18, in Security Bank Ballpark – home of the Midland Rockhounds, a Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The Red Raiders are coming off a 47-win campaign that saw them compete in the College World Series for the second time in three years.

This year’s campaign also pits NM State against Arizona State in a single-game match-up in Tempe, Ariz. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (MT) on Tuesday, Feb. 28, just two days after a four-game home series against Mount St. Mary’s. The Sun Devils made their 16th-consecutive postseason appearance last year and has the sixth-most appearances in NCAA history at 39.

On top of playing 15 games in 31 days in the month of March, the Aggies embark on a nine-game road trip that has them facing UNM (March 7), Utah (March 10-12), BYU (March 14), Arizona (March 21) and UC Santa Barbara (March 24-26) – all of which appeared in the NCAA Tournament except for BYU.

Utah, the reigning Pac-12 Champs, captured its first-ever conference title last season and return a pair of First-Team All-Pac-12 players. NM State then travels from Salt Lake City to Provo for a mid-week game at BYU. The Cougars were tri-champions from the West Coast Conference and started the 2016 season 16-1 before finishing with a 37-17 mark while their .325 team batting average was good for second-best in the nation.

The murderous road swing for New Mexico State concludes with UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos went 43-20 overall last year as they powered their way into their first-ever CWS appearance. UCSB is ranked 18n the preseason poll for Collegiate Baseball and have been ranked in the top-25 preseason poll for the third time in four years.

NM State opens Western Athletic Conference play on Friday, March 31, against Seattle U – the 2016 regular-season champions – on the road before returning home for four games. TTU returns to Presley Askew Field for the first time since 2012 for a 6 p.m. first pitch on April 4 before UT Rio Grande Valley (April 7-9) comes to town.

After a series at Sacramento State (April 13-15) and the neutral site game with Texas Tech (April 18), New Mexico State returns home to face Northern Colorado (April 21-23) followed with a three-game set versus Grand Canyon (April 28-30) to wrap up a 17 games in 30 days. The second of two contests against Arizona, who lost in the national championship to Coastal Carolina, is sandwiched between the UNC and GCU series in Tucson.

A seven game road trip then ensues, beginning with a mid-week showdown with UNM on Tuesday, May 2, before playing the defending WAC Tournament champions Utah Valley (May 5-7). The road swing finishes with a three-game set against Chicago State before wrapping up the regular-season against Bakersfield (May 18-20).

NM State then looks to make a run in the WAC Tournament (May 23-26) at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz., and earn the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012.