The Southern Arizona to New Mexico State pipeline of baseball standouts continues with Nogales junior Saul Soto announcing his commitment to play for the Aggies on social media.
I am extremely blessed and grateful for the opportunity to continued my baseball and academic career at New Mexico State Unviversity. I want to thank the New Mexico Staff, my teammates and especially my family who has always supported me. #AggieUp⚾️ #ApaggieUp pic.twitter.com/jUF8noMSxS
— Saul Soto (@SaulSot50860275) August 7, 2020
New Mexico State head coach Mike Kirby replaced former head coach Brian Green after Green was hired by Washington State in 2019. Green is credited with laying the foundation for the pipeline to Las Cruces and Kirby is keeping the tap turned on.
Green was able to convince former Sabino standout Preston Clifford to join him in Pullman but the program still had plenty of juice from Southern Arizona with Nick Gonzales (Cienega), Tristan Peterson (Canyon del Oro), Brendon Rodriguez (Sahuarita), Aldo Fernandez (Buena), Chris Barraza (Sahuarita) and Kevin Jimenez (Nogales) and on the roster last season.
Gonzales was drafted seventh by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Peterson is headed to Washington State as a graduate transfer, Rodriguez and Fernandez were seniors and Barraza and Jimenez will be juniors this year.
This year, former Nogales standout Keith Zuniga is headed to Las Cruces as an assistant coach and former Sahuarita pitcher Ian Mejia transferred from Pima to New Mexico State. Sabino standouts Joey Parker and Jacob Wiltshire will be Aggies in 2021.
A right-hander, Soto went 2-0 this past spring before the season was shutdown. The Apaches were 6-1 at the break.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org