(Courtesy: NMSU Athletics)
MESA, Arizona - The NM State Aggies baseball program opens the 2021 Western Athletic Conference Tournament Wednesday night against Seattle. First pitch from Hohokam Stadium is set for 7 p.m. MT.
The winner of Wednesday matchup between the fourth-seeded Aggies and fifth-seeded Redhawks will advance to the winner's bracket where either No. 1 Grand Canyon or No. 2 Sacramento State await.
The Aggies will face the Lopes if UTRGV defeats Utah Valley on Thursday at 8 p.m. MT and will face Sac State with a victory and a Wolverine victory over the Vaqueros.
The loser of Wednesday's matchup will face the loser of the matchup between UTRGV and UVU at 11 a.m. on Thursday morning in an elimination game.
Game 52/WAC Tournament G1:
No. 4 NM State (19-32) vs. No. 5 Seattle (16-31)
Wednesday, May 26 | 7:00 p.m. (MT) | Hohokam Stadium | Mesa, Ariz.
Pitching Matchup | RHP Chris Jefferson (5-6, 4.21 ERA) vs. Morgan White (2-4, 4.66 ERA)
• The Aggies open the 2021 WAC Tournament Wednesday night against the fifth-seeded Seattle Redhawks.
• NMSU played Seattle earlier this season (Mar. 26-28) at Seattle. Three of the four contests were decided by one run.
• The Aggies will look to win the second WAC Tournament title in school history. NMSU won the 2018 WAC Tournament. The Aggies are making the 12th appearance at the WAC tourney in school history and are 13-22 all-time in WAC postseason play.
• With a win, NMSU would advance to face either No. 1 Grand Canyon or No. 2 Sacramento State on Thursday. If UTRGV defeats Utah Valley, the Aggies would face the Lopes at 8 p.m. MT. If UVU upsets UTRGV and Aggies win, NMSU would play Sac State Thursday at 4 p.m. MT.
• The Aggies 2-0 in the opening round of the WAC Tournament since 2018.
• Seven Aggies were named to one of the three All-WAC teams. Sophomore Zerek Saenz was named to the first team, while outfielder Tommy Tabak second baseman Kevin Jimenez and shortstop Brandon Dieter were all named to the second team. Senior Chris Jefferson, infielder Ethan Mann and Cal Villareal round out the Aggies seven selections.
• Four different Aggies led the WAC in a specific category. Saenz led the league in hits (72) and on-base percentage (.473), while Mann led the league with 50 runs batted in. Mann also was second in the WAC in HRs, hitting 11 long balls.
• Infielder Kevin Jimenez has worked the most-free passes in the conference (39) while Chris Jefferson has recorded the most complete games in the country and the WAC (7).
• Jefferson will take the ball for the Aggies on Wednesday night. The Texan pitched seven strong innings against SU, allowing just four hits and one run. The Redhawks hit just .174 off him.
ABOUT THE REDHAWKS:
• Seattle clinched its spot in the 2021 WAC Tournament last weekend after winning three of four over No. 6 Utah Valley.
• With the win last Thursday, SU snapped a 14-game losing streak and recorded the programs first WAC victory since April 17.
• Overall, the Redhawks have dropped 15 of their last 18 games.
• Seattle did not receive an All-WAC selection after finishing seventh in the WAC regular season.
• SU is hitting .246 as a team this season and are led by Gavin Roark's .280 batting average.
• Justin Mazzone has hit a team-best seven longballs for Seattle and has also driven in the most runs (28) on the roster.
• Seattle has pitched to a 5.20 ERA this season and are led by Wednesday's starter Morgan White and Lucas Ford.
• Ford has five saves this season and has pitched to a 3.52 ERA.