Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Western Athletic Conference regular-season champion New Mexico State softball team hosts the 2015 WAC Tournament from Thursday through Saturday, May 7-9, at the NM State Softball Complex.
The Aggies (42-13, 14-1 WAC) are the No. 1 seed after running through the conference with a 14-1 record. Joining NM State in the double-elimination tournament will be second-seeded Missouri-Kansas City, No. 3 Bakersfield, No. 4 Seattle U and No. 5 Utah Valley. Grand Canyon, who finished second in the regular-season standings, cannot participate in postseason play because of NCAA rules concerning new Division-I schools.
NM State’s first game will be Thursday at 4 p.m. versus the winner of game one pitting Seattle and Utah Valley at 11 a.m. UMKC and Bakersfield will play at 1:30 p.m. before the Aggie game. The fourth and final game on Thursday will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will match the losers of the first two games.
The action continues Friday with three games beginning at 1:30 p.m. After Friday’s games only two teams will remain. The championship game will be played on Saturday at 1 p.m. If the undefeated team loses, a second game will be played to decide the WAC Tournament champion, which gets an automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals.
All eight (or nine) games will be streamed live over the Internet for free by the WAC Digital Network. NM State games will also have a live radio stream on The Ticket AM 570’s radio app with Jack Nixon on the call. Click on the links provided for access.
Live stats will also be provided for all games at NMStateSports.com and on the tournament’s home page link, where fans can find all information concerning the WAC Tournament, including all links, recaps, photos, updated brackets and visitor information.
The Aggies come into the tournament winners of five straight and 11 of 12 games. This week’s RPI of 44 ties the team’s best RPI in program history, which it also accomplished in 2011 when they won the WAC regular season and tournament en route to an NCAA Regional appearance. 44 is also the most wins the program has had in its history (2011), a record the 2015 edition can break with three wins in the tournament.
NM State currently ranks in the top 15 nationally in five offensive categories including 10th in home runs per game (1.60) and slugging percentage (.600), 11th in on-base percentage (.445), 12th in batting average (.349) and 14th in scoring (7.20 runs/game). The Aggies have slammed a school record 88 home runs this season.
Junior Fiana Finau ranks sixth in the country in home runs with 22, 10th with 65 RBIs and 23rd with an .869 slugging percentage. Her home run total leaves her two shy of the Aggie record for home runs in a season, which is currently held by former NM State power hitter Hoku Nohara who hit 24 in 2011.
This will be the fourth time a conference tournament will be held at the NM State Softball Complex. This first time came in 2001 when the Aggies hosted the Sun Belt Conference Championship, which was won by Louisiana-Lafayette.
The WAC held its tournament in Las Cruces in 2010 and again in 2012 with Hawai’i taking the 2010 title and BYU winning the 2012 crown. Sandwiched in between those two tournaments was the 2011 WAC Tournament hosted by Fresno State in Fresno, Calif., the only time NM State has ever won a conference tournament.
Tickets are on sale online at www.ticketmaster.com, at the NM State Ticket Office in front of the Pan American Center, by phone at 575-646-1420 or at the softball complex during the tournament.
Tickets are sold as an all-session pass, which allows fans access to all three days of the tournament and all eight (or nine) games, or as single-day passes which allow fans access to that day’s games. All-session passes are $25 for adults and $10 for youth (18 & under) and WAC students. Single-day passes are $12 for adults and $5 for youth and WAC students.