Florida International's Garrett Wittels' Pursuit Of Historic Streak Not Just An Individual Accomplishment

What do New Mexico State head baseball coach Rocky Ward and the teammates of Florida International sophomore third baseman Garrett Wittels have in common? They've both been a part of historic hitting streaks. Ward was the catcher on the 1987 Oklahoma State squad when Robin Ventura set the collegiate record with 58 consecutive games with a hit while Wittels' teammates are witness to the longest hitting streak since that historic 1987 season.

Wittels carries the second longest hitting streak in college baseball history, 54 games, into the first game of the Miami Regional in Coral Gables, Fla. today at 12:00 p.m. ET where he and his teammates will square off against Texas A&M. While most of the national media focuses on the Wittels' individual accomplishment, New Mexico State head coach Rocky Ward explains that Wittels' teammates are just as much a part of the streak as Wittels is.

"What sounds like an individual accomplishment is very much a team accomplishment. I will forever remember being involved with that streak because it's not all about the player that does it," said Ward in an interview with bleedCrimson.net. "The team around him has so much to do with his success and that's what I enjoyed so much about being involved with Robin's streak is you felt like you had responsibility for it."  Continue Reading This Post >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Ward Interview :: 06/03/10 :: Season Wrap Up Part I

bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the season overall? A number that will get overlooked at least immediately because of the way the season ended was the fact that the 2010 team won 36 games which is the 5th most in program history.
Rocky Ward: Yeah. The one thing that was so unique about this season was it was really broken down into three parts. The first 21 games we were 10-11, below .500. We were struggling finding an identity. We gave up 30 runs twice in that stretch. That's hard to do. For a team as good as we were to give up 30 runs twice. We did it once against Georgia State who ended up leading the nation in runs scored per game. For all intents and purposes one of the best offenses in the country. But the other one was St. Joseph's who had a pretty good offense but I don't think they ended up in the top 20 [runs scored] I believe. Just the essence of that part of the season was we win a game 33-1, which was the biggest winning margin of the season against St. Joseph's but then turn around and lose a game 35-16, to the same team. That was the essence of where we were in that first part of the season. We're going, "Are we gonna be good or are we not?" We were really good or really bad and then all of the sudden, a couple things happened. We made some changes coaching-wise to try to shore up our defense, go to Santa Barbara and lose a game against a very good pitcher, one of the better pitchers in the Big West, then go on to win 12 in a row.

At one point we won 24 of 27 and one of them was the tie. So in the middle of the season we were the hottest team in the country and that's where our ranking came in and that's where we established ourself at the top of the league. We led the league a couple different times through the season. Then you lose 12-of-13 to finish. So the 12 game winning streak you kind of gave back with the stuff at the end.

In analysis of it all, the amazing part of the 24 of 27 was the fact that we lost Ben Harty after the Santa Barbara series. He was our four-hole hitter and at the time was hitting over .400 with 12 home runs and our number one catcher. To go through that stretch and then a couple weeks later we lose Mike Sodders who had 15 home runs and was hitting .370 or .380 and to have been able to handle losing your top two offensive players and to be able to put that stretch together is what made us feel like as coaches, players and fans that this was a pretty special team. To be able to overcome those types of losses. It was a pretty special team. This was a group of really good hard-working kids. The years that Wesley Starkes, Chace Perkins, Ryan Aguayo, Parker Hipp and Nate Shaver, those guys in particular, had. They were the heart and soul of the team. They took it upon themselves to kind of replace Sodders' and Harty's numbers. That's basically what they did. I leave Leo [Aguirre] out of that because he one of the top three hitters and he was the only one left. He basically continued to do what he did. What the other guys bring up their games, it's hard to say they were playing over their heads, but they really played up when the pressure was on. That's what put us through that run.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 06/03/10

We'll be talking with Aggie baseball coach Rocky Ward today for our season wrap up interview and we'll have that posted over the next couple days as we put the final wraps on the Aggies' season.

The NCAA baseball regionals get underway tomorrow and we encourage you to head over to The College Baseball Blog for complete coverage.

The Aggie volleyball schedule for 2010 season has been released and the Aggies will face nine teams who reached the NCAA Tournament. There are a couple of oddities in this year's schedule as the Aggies will only have two non-conference home matches in September (1st and 3rd), the fewest we can remember in the past few seasons. The conference schedule is also interesting as New Mexico State starts off conference play at Louisiana Tech on a Thursday and will then host Louisiana Tech two nights later. The other oddity will be the three game homestand in the middle of October when the Aggies host Boise State on Thursday, Oct. 14th, then Idaho on Saturday Oct. 16th and then Nevada the following night on October 17th. Three matches in four days. To cap it off the Aggies will face Nevada five nights later in Reno.

Aggies Release 2010 Volleyball Schedule

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State volleyball head coach Mike Jordan announced 2010 schedule, Wednesday, June 2, which features matches against nine teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament last year, including two matches with a Final Four team.

The Aggies will once again face Hawai'i in league play after the Wahine made it to the final four last season, while also facing powerhouses such as Arizona and Florida State.

"We are excited about the schedule. It's loaded with really good teams once again and we're looking forward to the challenge," Jordan said. "All three of the tournaments we are in this year are tough and we'll be on the road a little more than usual but it'll hopefully toughen us up and make it worthwhile when it comes to selection time for the NCAA Tournament."  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 06/02/10

The 2009-2010 WAC athletic season has come to a close and New Mexico State has recorded a third place finish, the school's highest, in the WAC Commissioner's Cup standings. The Aggies finished with 80.75 points, three points behind Fresno State and 11.5 points behind Boise State who won the Cup. The Aggies had previously finished fifth (2008-2009), fifth (2007-2008), eighth (2006-2007) and ninth (2005-2006).

The Aggies won three conference titles, the first ever title for women's cross country, the men's basketball tournament championship, their second in four seasons, and the men's golf tournament title, their third consecutive title and fourth in five years.

The Aggies also had regular season second place finishes in volleyball, baseball, a second place finish at the WAC Tournament in swimming and diving,

Not to take too much away from BSU's accomplishment but it should also be noted that Boise State participates in every sport the WAC competes in except for baseball (18 of 19 sports), giving them a pretty distinct advantage in points accumulation. In fact, there are actually only seven sports in which all nine members of the WAC participate in: women's cross country, women's soccer, volleyball, football, men's basketball, women's basketball, women's golf and men's golf.

If you take the point accumulation from only those seven sports in which all nine members participate in the standings would look like this: 1) Nevada - 57, 2) NM State 49.25, 3) Fresno State 46, 4) Boise State 45.5, 5) Idaho 39.5, 6) Utah State 39, 7) Hawai'i 30.25, 8) Louisiana Tech 29.75, 9) SJSU 24.75

The Aggies were hurt by their last place finish in football, accumulating just 1.5 points. However, NM State won three of the seven postseason championship in those sports (women's cross country, men's basketball and men's golf).

Either way you tally the points, the Aggies did well. A third place finish in the official commisioner's cup and second place finish in the sports that all nine WAC member participate in.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 06/01/10 :: A Look Back At Aggie Baseball's Outstanding Year

The 2010 NCAA Baseball Tournament field was announced yesterday and it should come as no surprise to anyone that Hawai'i was sent just down the road a little ways to Tempe to the Arizona St. Regional. The Warriors are in the four team regional with No. 1 overall seed Arizona State, UW-Milwaukee and San Diego. The Warriors have an 8-6 victory over San Diego this season.

As for the Aggie baseball team, their season came to a close last week after two games in the WAC Tournament. A much earlier exit than anyone anticipated or hoped for. However, despite losing 11 of their final 12 games, they still had a very very strong season. The Aggies finished with a record of 36-23-1 and 14-9-1 in conference play. The 36 wins is the 5th most in a single season during the program's 48 year history and the Aggies' 14 conference victories were the second most conference victories in a single season in the 18 years the team has been affiliated with a conference (Big West, Sun Belt and WAC). Only the 2003 team that finished 15-9 in the Sun Belt and the 2008 team that finished 15-17 in the WAC had more conference victories.

The Aggies were also ranked in the Top 25 for the second consecutive season when they earned a ranking of No. 20 from the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper on April 5th.

The Aggies also had two significant win streaks during the season. The first was a 12-game win streak from March 20th through April 9th. During that streak the Aggies defeated UC-Santa Barbara twice, swept Wofford at home (four games), defeated Texas Tech in Midland, Tex. and then swept Houston Baptist (four games) on the road. The final game of the 12-game win streak came against Nevada to start conference play. That streak tied the school record for consecutive victories.

The second win streak was a 10-game win streak from April 18th through May 2nd. The Aggies started the streak with a pair of road victories over San Jose State followed by a four-game sweep of Sacramento State on the road. The Aggies then came home and swept four games against Louisiana Tech.

From March 20th through May 2nd the Aggies compiled a record of 24-2-1, easily the best stretch in Aggie baseball history (the 2009 team started the season 28-4, but the 2010 team's 24-2-1 stretch is much more impressive considering it included 16 games in conference play and a 14-1 road record).

While the offensive records didn't fall at the same rate they did last season (and admittedly, it's somewhat unrealistic to expect the Aggies to break many of the records they set last season) they did break the single season record for hits with 776 (previous record was 772 set last season) and the single season record for runs scored with 609 which eclipsed the 602 runs scored in the 2003 season. Individually, Ryan Aguayo tied the single season record for at-bats with 252 which he now shares with Alex Borgo (2003) and Chris Auten (2008).

The Aggies earned five WAC Hitter of the Week honors as Leo Aguirre was honored twice, Wade Reynoso, Ben Harty and Nate Shaver were each recognized once. Dan Reid was also named the WAC Pitcher of the Week once.

Two Aggies earned postseason All-WAC honors as Leo Aguirre was named to the First Team and Ryan Aguayo was named to the Second Team. Nate Shaver earned All-WAC Tournament honors as well.

As a team, the Aggies have posted 80 wins in the past two seasons which ties a record for the best two-year span in history with the 2002 and 2003 teams which also won 80 games. They have the best winning percentage over a two-year span of any Aggie ballclub, they also have the best conference record over a two-year span. Rocky also became the school's all-time winningest coach earlier in the season and keeps adding to that record with 334 victories at the conclusion of this season.

Despite the disappointment in not winning a WAC title this season, the Aggies have clearly established themselves as title contenders in the WAC and the 2011 season can't arrive soon enough.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 05/31/10

Happy Memorial Day Aggie fans, we'll return tomorrow to wrap up some thoughts on the baseball team's season. But first, a congratulations to Aggie senior right fielder Nate Shaver who was named to the 2010 WAC All-Tournament team. The Aggies were eliminated from the tournament earlier much earlier than the Aggies hoped but Nate Shaver certainly did his part for the Aggies in the two games.

And we mentioned it yesterday but here is video of the Wahine's walk-off two-run home run to send them to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series. As Dave at the WAC Softball Blog mentioned, it's the first time that the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament has not advanced to the WCWS.

On to today's links...  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Right Fielder Nate Shaver Named To 2010 WAC All-Tournament Team

The 2010 WAC All-Tournament team was announced during the championship postgame and trophy presentation ceremony on Sunday afternoon and Aggie senior right-fielder Nate Shaver was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Shaver had an outstanding WAC tournament for the Aggies finishing the two games 7-for-10 (.700) with four runs scored, two walks and an RBI. Against 2010 WAC Tournament champion Hawai'i, Shaver went 5-for-6 and nearly hit for the cycle finishing with three singles, a double and a triple with three runs scored.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Hoops To Play In Hall Of Fame Tip-Off Tournament In Springfield

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State men’s basketball team is slated to play in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament during the 2010-11 season, the organization in Springfield, Mass., announced Wednesday, May 12. The event takes place at the MassMutual Center, Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday Nov. 21. Eight schools are participating in two brackets of four teams over two days in an NCAA exempt tournament.

In addition to the two brackets that are playing in Springfield, each of the participating schools will play against each other in two additional games to be hosted on campus by Bradley University, New Mexico State University, University of Massachusetts and University of Southern California.

In games scheduled for Nov. 20 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Bradley meets USC and the Aggies are facing UMass. The winners and losers of the Saturday games play on Sunday in the consolation and championship games.

"After looking at last year’s schedule, it was evident that we needed a tournament," head coach Marvin Menzies said. "We wanted a tournament with a high level of competition, and the opportunity to go to the Hall of Fame is a nice benefit to the tournament. The level of competition is the most important thing, and it fits in very well with the other games on our plate for next season."  Continue Reading This Post >>