BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—With a seed already assured in next week's Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament, CSU Bakersfield travels to NM State to conclude the 2017 regular season this week. The Roadrunners and the Aggies begin the series on the WAC Digital Network Thursday night at 6 p.m. (MT).
The series continues on Friday at 6 p.m. (MT) with the regular season concluding Saturday at 12 p.m. (MT). All three games will be heard on 91.5 KRUX FM which is available on the Tune-In App. Friday and Saturday's are available for viewing on Aggie Vistion (http://nmstatesports.com) for a fee.
As a result of the action last weekend, NM State and CSU Bakersfield have clinched the top two seeds for the WAC Tournament. Both teams have a first round bye and begin play May 25. CSUB is in the 3 p.m. game while the Aggies are in the 7 p.m. game.
Utah Valley and Sacramento State are currently tied for the third seed but a quartet of teams is just two games back of them as Chicago State, Northern Colorado, Seattle U and UT Rio Grande Valley are in a four-way tie for the fifth seed. In addition to the CSUB-NMSU series, Chicago State heads to Northern Colorado, Utah Valley travels to Seattle U, UT Rio Grande Valley makes the trip to Sacramento State and CSU Bakersfield will be at NM State to wrap up WAC play.
Grand Canyon, who clinched at least a share of the regular season title in their final year of transition to Division I, will close out 2017 season with a three-game non-conference series at UC Davis.
The Aggies are 32-19, 17-4 in WAC play. If NMSU sweeps CSUB, they would share the league title with Grand Canyon. NM State's Tristen Carranza was named WAC Hitter of the Week Monday. Carranza led the Aggies to a sweep at Chicago State, going 5-for-10 from the plate for a league-leading .500 average. He leads the WAC in home runs this season with 16 and is tied for the lead in total bases with 118.
Thursday's game will feature two of the three pitchers in the WAC who have won a league high eight games in CSUB's Max Carter (R, 8-1) and NMSU's Kyle Bradish (R, 8-1). Friday's probable starters are CSUB's Aaron Charles (R, 4-0) and the Aggie's Marcel Renteria (R, 7-2). Saturday's probable starters will be lefty Johnathan Groff of NM State who is tied with Carter and Bradish for the WAC high in victories (8-5) and the ‘Runners' Andrew Hansen (R, 4-3).
The Roadrunners went 2-3 last week. Mahlik Jones hit .389 for the week and earned a win in relief against Seattle U on Friday night. Senior shortstop Ryan Grotjohn enters this week sixth in Division I in hitting at .400.
Grotjohn is ranked in several other national categories to begin the week of May 15. The ‘Runner shortstop is 27th in hits per game (1.54), 36th in hits (74), tied for 59th with Mark Pena in triples (4), 70th in toughest to strikeout (11.6), 92nd in on-base percentage (.455), and 96th in triples per game (0.08).
Naithen Dewsnap has broken both CSUB records for saves this season He reset the CSUB school record for most saves in a season Apr. 28 at Sacramento State. Dewsnap threw the final three innings against the Hornets for his ninth save to break Martin Medina's mark which was set during the 2011 season. He recorded 12th save of the year May 12 against Seattle U, breaking Medina's (11, 2009-11) mark for career saves. He is 11th in Division I this season.
Dewsnap made his 26th appearance of the season May 13 against Seattle U, tying him with Taylor Aikenhead (2013) for the most appearances in a season by a CSUB pitcher. Dewnsap is 67th in Division I in appearances this season.