Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State baseball team was recently named the 2011 NCAA Division I statistical champion for batting average after hitting .337 this past season as the Aggies finished with its third consecutive 30-plus win record.
With the introduction of the new BBCOR bats to Division I baseball, the Aggies continued their offensive dominance as the closest team (Wright State) hit .323, 14 points behind. Although the NCAA does not give an award for on-base percentage, NM State led the nation with a .441 on-base percentage, while finishing seventh in slugging percentage (.474), third in runs (495), and third in walks (333).
"We have been the homerun, walks, slugging percentage and walks NCAA stat champion in the past," head coach Rocky Ward said. "The addition of the 2011 Batting Average Champion solidifies us and one of the most dominant offenses in the country."
NM State had eight starters finish with a batting average above .325, while a total of 12 players hit above .300 on the year. Sophomore designated hitter Zac Fisher, who earned 2011 ABCA (American Baseball Coaches Association) all-Midwest region honors, led the offense hitting .398 on the year as he appeared in 52 games while starting in 44. He tied for team-high honors with 68 hits including 16 doubles and a team-high eight home runs. He also led the team in slugging percentage at .632.
Sophomore Parker Hipp was also a huge factor for the Aggie offense finishing second on the team in batting average at .396, while recording 67 hits (second on the team) despite missing several games due to injury. He was also second on the team in slugging percentage at .574 and was second in the Western Athletic Conference in RBI with 58.
The NM State baseball team also proved that its pitching staff continues to improve, as sophomore left-hander Ryan Beck became the first pitcher since 1995 to earn at least 10 wins. He finished with a 10-5 record and had two complete games, while leading the team in strikeouts (73) and innings pitched (90.2).
Beck joined forces with senior right-hand pitcher Dan Reid as a good one-two punch against opposing teams as the two combined for 17 wins, joining five other pitching duos in Aggie baseball history to pick up at least 16 wins in a season. Reid finished the year with a 7-4 record in 77 innings pitched. Reid showed toughness and adversity as he worked through injuries after he was hit by line drives up the middle in two consecutive appearances on the mound.
Junior closer Scott Coffman tied the school record with nine saves on the year and is second in the record books with 14-career saves. He finished the year with a 3-0 record and a 1.88 ERA, while earning first team all-WAC honors.
"The seasons that Ryan Beck and Scott Coffman gave us on the mound in 2011 were phenomenal," Ward said. "I can't wait to see what the duo can accomplish in 2012."
Four other Aggies joined Coffman with all-WAC honors in 2011 with junior outfielder Tanner Waite earning first team honors. Junior shortstop Ty Forney was named to the second team along with designated hitter Zac Fisher and second baseman Parker Hipp. Waite finished the year with a .389 batting average and 43 RBI and Forney hit .356 on the year. Forney also posted 114 assists and 73 putouts on defense.
The Aggies earned many honors throughout the season including seven WAC Hitter of the Week awards and one WAC Pitcher of the Week award. Senior infielder Ryan Aguayo also earned CollegeBaseballInsider.com National Player of the Week after hitting .611 in five games during the week of Feb. 21-28. That week he went 11-of-18 with two perfect games at the dish. He set a career high in game one of a doubleheader, Feb. 27, when he tallied eight RBI.
The Aggie look forward to the upcoming offseason to continue to build on the success it has seen over the past few years. One new change is the hiring of Mike Evans is the new pitching coach as former pitching coach Chase Tidwell departed to take on other opportunities. Before joining Ward's staff as the new pitching coach, Evans was the head coach at Bellevue University for 22 seasons. While at Bellevue, he tallied a 928-457-1 record and led the Bruins to 12 NAIA World Series appearances while earning a NAIA National Championship in 1995.
"Mike Evans' reputation as an outstanding pitching instructor as well as his exceptional record of success is a great addition to our baseball program," Ward said.
2011 Aggie Baseball
Overall Record: 34-24
Conference Record: 9-15
Home Record: 26-6
Away Record: 6-13
Neutral Record: 2-5
Batting Average: .337 (1st nationally)
Runs per game: 8.5 (2nd nationally)
Runs: 495 (3rd nationally)
Hits: 656 (15th nationally)
Slugging Percentage: .474 (7th nationally)
Walks: 333 (3rd nationally)
Sacrifice Flies: 37 (8th nationally)
ABCA All-Midwest Region: Zac Fisher (DH), Parker Hipp (2B)
First Team All-WAC: Tanner Waite (OF), Scott Coffman (RP)
Second Team All-WAC: Parker Hipp (2B), Ty Forney (SS), Zac Fisher (DH)
WAC Hitter of the Week: Bryan Karraker (April 25-May 1), Ty Forney (April 11-17), Zac Fisher (March 28-April 3), Wes Starkes March (20-27), Parker Hipp (Feb. 28-March 6), Ryan Aguayo (Feb. 21-27), Parker Hipp (Feb. 14-20)
WAC Pitcher of the Week: Dan Reid (March 13-20)
CollegeBaseballInsider.com National Player of the Week: Ryan Aguayo (Feb. 21-28)
College Baseball Foundation National All-Star Lineup: Ryan Aguayo (Feb. 21-28)
American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame: Gary Ward (Jan. 7, 2011)