DENVER – After winning the 2018 tournament title as the number three seed, the NM State Aggies will try to repeat as the top seed at the 2019 WAC Baseball Tournament, beginning on Wednesday at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.
NM State earned a share of the WAC regular season title after posting a 19-8 record in league play and winning a tiebreaker over UTRGV. The Aggies are among the most potent offensive teams in the country and are led by the duo of Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists Nick Gonzales and Joey Ortiz, who are hitting .437 and .427 respectively. On the mound, Chance Hroch is a perfect 10-0 on the season with a 2.51 ERA.
The number two seed goes to UT Rio Grande Valley, who earned a share of the regular season title after winning the last four games of the season to finish 19-8 in league play. The Vaqueros, who last played in the tournament in 2014 as the UT Pan American Broncs, are led offensively by 49 RBIs and 39 runs scored by Anthony Gomez. In the bullpen, Ryan Jackson is one of the top relievers in the WAC, finishing the regular season with a 1.30 ERA to go with a 5-3 record and eight saves.
The third seed will be Sacramento State. The Hornets went 18-9 in league play, earning series wins in seven of nine matchups. Matt Smith is the offensive leader for the Hornets, hitting .319 in 185 at-bats with 32 RBIs and 37 runs scored. Scott Randall leads the Sacramento State pitching staff, heading to Mesa with a 7-1 record and a 2.51 ERA.
Grand Canyon will be the fourth seed after going 18-9 in WAC play. The Lopes are led offensively by Cuba Bess, who comes into the tournament hitting .352 with 11 home runs. Kona Quiggle has also been a force on offense, leading the team with 57 RBIs and 10 home runs. On the hill, Kade Mechals is 10-1 on the year with a 2.31 earned run average to go with 90 strikeouts and just 31 walks.
CSU Bakersfield is the fifth seed after going 12-15 in WAC play. Jake Ortega leads the Runners offensively, hitting .333 with nine doubles and 24 RBIs. Edgar Barclay has been solid on the hill, striking out 109 hitters en route to a 6-3 record with a 3.27 ERA.
The sixth seed goes to Utah Valley after the Wolverines posted a 9-18 record in WAC play to earn the final spot. UVU is led at the plate by Ryan Eastburn, who posted a .326 batting average with eight doubles and a pair of home runs. Paxton Schultz holds the low ERA among UVU starts at 4.29 in 92.1 innings pitched.
The 2019 WAC Tournament begins on Wednesday, May 22 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz. All games will be shown live on ESPN+.