Chance at First at Stake as Lobos Head to Air Force
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/27/2014

Lobo Baseball - at Falcon Field, Colorado Springs, Colo.
When: Friday - 3 p.m. (MT), Saturday - 1 p.m. (MT), Sunday - 12 p.m. (MT)
Who: Air Force Falcons
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Mountain West Standings

PlaceSchoolMW recordOverall record
1 UNLV 9-3 17-7
2 New Mexico 6-3 17-8-1
3 San Diego St. 5-4 19-6
3 Fresno St. 5-4 15-10
5 Nevada 6-6 12-12
5 San José St. 4-8


7 Air Force 1-8


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A tie of first place in the Mountain West is at stake as the Lobos head north to face Air Force. If UNM is able to sweep the series against the Falcons, they will tie UNLV with a 9-3 record in MW play. The Rebels are out of conference this weekend as they visit Nebraska.

Despite winning 30 of their last 32 against the Falcons, the Lobos have not swept a three-game road series against Air Force since 2009. UNM dropped the final game of series in both 2013 and 2012, the team did not travel to Colorado Springs in 2011 and the teams only played two games at Falcon Field in 2010.

The Falcons are currently in the midst of a major slump, having lost 13 straight games. Their last win came on March 8 against Fresno State. Air Force has particularly struggled on offense of late, scoring no more than three runs in any of its last 11 games. The Lobos, meanwhile, are streaking. They've won eight of nine, have recorded at least 10 hits in their last nine games and have scored at least five runs in 10 straight.

UNM's last game was a 14-4 pounding of New Mexico State on Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. Freshman Lane Milligan, reigning Mountain West Player of the Week Chase Harris and sophomore Sam Haggerty each had three hits to lead the attack. John Pustay, a native of Colorado Springs, hit his first home run of the season and scored three runs against the Aggies. Pustay, it should be noted, tied a school record in UNM's 2012 visit to Air Force when he recorded six hits in the Lobos' 19-0 win on April 5.

• SCOUTING AIR FORCE ... The Falcons come in having lost 13 straight and having not scored more than three runs in any of their last 11 games. Needless to say, the Air Force offense is struggling. No regular has an average higher than David Thomas’ .254, and no player, regardless of the number of at bats, is hitting above .261. Thomas, a junior outfielder, has two of the team’s four home runs, leads the team witha .460 slugging percentage, and is the only player to have scored double-digit runs (13). The Falcons are only hitting .212, slugging .279 and reaching base at a .281 clip.

The pitching staff hasn’t fared much better as it has allowed over 7 runs per game with an ERA of 6.22. Strike-throwing Cameron White has been probably the Falcons’ best pitcher. He is 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA and one complete game in seven appearances (six starts). He has 42 strikeouts in 41.2 innings and has only issued four walks. Only nine pitchers have made more than two appearances, and none has an ERA better than 4.43.

• THE MAGIC NUMBER ... Six appears to be UNM’s magic number for both the offense and pitching staff this season. The Lobos are 14-0 when scoring at least six runs and 16-1-1 when holding the opponent under six runs.

• FIFTH-INNING DOMINATION... The Lobos have outscored opponents are whopping 36-3 in the fifth inning this season and have yet to allow a run in that frame at home. Two of the three runs UNM allowed came in the third game of the season, so since Feb. 18 the Lobos have a +35 run differential in the fifth inning, with the lone run coming at Texas Tech on March 4.

• HARRIS NAMED MW POW ... Chase Harris earned his first career Mountain West Player of the Week award for his play against No. 18 Kansas and San Jose State the week of March 17-23. The Lobos’ senior right fielder hit .526 (10-for-19) with seven runs and eight RBIs as the Lobos went 4-1 on the week. He hit his third home run of the season in the first inning of UNM’s 9-4 win over SJSU on Sunday, March 23 as he slugged .684 on the week. He was perfect in 15 chances in the field, and threw out his second runner at the plate against Kansas on March 19. This is the third weekly MW honor of the season for the Lobos. Josh Walker and Victor Sanchez were named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 24 and March 17, respectively.

• HIT PARADE ... UNM currently has double digit hits in nine straight games, the longest such streak in the nation this season. Sam Haggerty enters the weekend vs. Air Force on a 12-game hitting streak, second longest active streak in the Mountain West, and Chase Harris’ 15 multi-hit games is tops in the conference.

• ‘BOS KNOW PITCHING ... If the UNM pitching staff can maintain its current 3.81 ERA over the rest of the season, it will post the third lowest ERA in the history of the program. The 1968 team posted a 2.87 ERA and in 1969 the Lobos had a 3.40 ERA. The 2014 staff is doing this despite being on pace to set a school record for most innings pitched.
Despite pitching a mile above sea level, UNM has been excellent at home, posting a 2.55 ERA while holding opponents to a .255 batting average at Lobo Field.

• WALKER IS JUST A NAME ... Josh Walker has always had good control, but in 2014 he has taken it to a next level. He went 39.2 innings to start the year before he issued his first walk, which came against San Jose State on March 23.

• BAD LUCK WITH BASES LOADED ... UNM has uncharacteristically struggled with the bases loaded this season, hitting just .245 (12-for-49). Chase Harris (4-for-8) and Andre Vigil (2-for-2) are the only Lobos with more than one hit with the bases juiced in 2014. For comparison’s sake UNM hit .333 in such situations last season, .364 in 2011 and .345 in 2010.

• NO WEAK SPOTS IN THIS LINEUP ... The Lobo offense rolls nine deep, and nothing proves that more than the production they get out of the No. 9 spot in their order. Five Lobos have combined to hit .376 (35-for-93) while occupying the last place in the lineup. Jared Holley leads the group with a .409 average (18-for-44) while batting ninth and Aaron Siple is hitting .400 (12-for-30). The nine projected starters for this weekend’s series at Air Force all have a batting average of .292 or better.