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Academy Grad Leads NMSU

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Coffman Excels As Aggies Closer

AGGIES BASEBALL
By Teddy FeinbergLas Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES – When some pitchers take the mound on the college baseball circuit, they hit low-90s on the radar gun.

Where the ball ends up is another matter, and can be anyone’s guess on that given day.

Today
WAC Tournament, Mesa, Ariz.: No. 1 seed NMSU vs. lowest seed available, 8 p.m.

For Aggies senior Scott Coffman, it’s a different approach.

A right-hander who tops off in the mid-80s – high-80s on a good day – Coffman relies on placement and location.

He’s not overpowering, yet keeps hitters off balance and is aided by his best pitch, the slider. Most important, the Albuquerque Academy alum has produced at a high level for four years now at NMSU, while taking to his role as the team’s closer.

“I’ve got to pitch with location, with my slider. Sometimes pitch backwards,” Coffman said Tuesday afternoon in an interview from Mesa, Ariz., as his team gears up for the 2012 WAC Tournament. “I’ve gotta keep guys thinking. And outthink guys.”

In this sense, Coffman’s been the perfect pitcher for the Aggies.

He had an outstanding 2009 season as a freshman – 21 innings, 29 strikeouts and just five earned runs against as a relief specialist.

His ERA jumped to 4.76 as a sophomore, only to have it drop dramatically in 2011 – a 1.88 mark, to go along with a 3-0 record and nine saves on the year. Coffman was an All-WAC selection and a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American going into this his senior season.

Sure enough, Coffman has continued to demonstrate his dominance, working a career-high 39â…” innings, sporting a 2.75 ERA and eight saves in 2012.

“It’s been a great four years, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he said of his Aggie career. “I came in trying to make a name for myself – I was pretty much unrecruited coming out of high school. I wanted to make New Mexico State my home and my namesake. I think it treated me the best it could.”

Coffman has struggled a bit down the stretch of the season, in part because of his workload – while throwing close to 40 innings on the season, nine have come during the past two weeks, when the Aggies have been fighting for the WAC regular-season championship and a No. 1 seed in this week’s tournament.

“The 4â…”‘s that he threw versus Fresno State was the biggest of his career under a tremendous amount of pressure,” head coach Rocky Ward said when recounting some recent outings from his closer. “And we bring him right back three days later in an almost identical situation against UNM.”

During his career, Coffman has demonstrated the attributes of a winner, a pitcher who takes the mound expecting to beat the man in the opposing batter’s box.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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