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Aggie baseball kicks off tomorrow, aims for another championship

Spring is approaching and everyone is gearing up for baseball season including NMSU’s baseball team. It is clear that with the season starting tomorrow, everyone has one thing on their mind: A championship.

Coming off the 2022 season, the Aggies are determined to have an even better season than last year. Despite a final team record of 24-34, the end result was a major success with the Aggies taking home the WAC tournament championship title after beating Abilene Christian. While being WAC champions is already a huge accomplishment, this team is hungry for more.

Head coach Mike Kirby’s mindset entering the season is to add on and build upon what the team did last year.

NMSU Aggie infielder Kevin Jimenez stretches out to catch an incoming baseball hit by the opposing team during a 2022 season game. (Photo courtesy of NMSU athletics)

“This year we’re really looking to try to get into a super-regional, and when you get into that atmosphere, it’s best 2-out-of-3. If we could get into that position we’d feel pretty good about ourselves,” Kirby said.

Coach Kirby has had these high expectations for his team throughout the whole preseason. Kirby said he started seeing promising aspects of his team “from the day these guys walked in the club house and we got eyes on them.” 

“They are big and physical and talented and put in a lot of hard work,” Kirby added.

The hunger to win the WAC tournament and advance to the regionals is on the minds of every player on the roster including utility player and red-shirt senior Karl Koerper.

“Obviously, the goal is always to win a WAC championship and go to a regional,” Koerper said. “They went to a regional last year so we want to … I think with our team and all the talent we have, we can go deep into the tournament and make a run at Omaha for sure.”

Koerper said this is one very talented squad, and with such talent they are able to make each other better every single day as they go up against each other in practice.

Playing against your own team is certainly helpful, but it appears Koerper and the rest of his squad are set to go against real competition.

“I think everyone is just ready to go. We’re ready,” Koerper said.

Since this team is set up and prepared to play, it is important to know what the key aspects to being successful are in the eyes of the players. Senior infielder Kevin Jimenez gave his thoughts on what he thinks is going to make this team successful.

“I think it’s gonna be pitching. And I think coach [Keith] Zuniga did a really good job bringing in a bunch of guys who compete and have experience in that Division I level so I think if we get our pitching going, we got some hitters that could smash,” Jimenez said.

Koerper had a similar answer to Jimenez mentioning the pitching staff, but said he also views consistency as a key to success.

“I say the key aspect of it is going to be just the consistency of everyone. Consistency of our pitching staff and our lineup, and if we can come in day in and day out and perform at the level we are capable of,” Koerper said.

Aggie baseball is ready to go with a championship on their minds. The Aggies will begin their 2023 season at home against Bellarmine in a three-game series starting tomorrow, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. at Presley Askew Field. For more coverage of the Aggies’ future games this season, visit nmstatesports.com. 

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