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Lobos Look To Extend Three-Game Win Streak
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/28/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 28, 2006

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UP NEXT FOR THE LOBOS: New Mexico makes its final trip of the 2006 season to New Mexico State on Tuesday for the third of four meetings scheduled this year. The Lobos are 5-2 on the road, already getting one win at Presley Askew Field while the Aggies are 7-6 at home.

Right handed senior Darren Coltrinari is slated to start for the Lobos. Coltrinari is 0-1 with a 6.57 ERA. He has made three appearances, including two starts. Aggie freshman Riley Vanham, also a righty, is scheduled to make his first collegiate start. Vanham has made one appearance this season and is 0-0 with a perfect ERA.

First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. Live stats are available for free on New Mexico State's official athletic website: www.NMStateSports.com.

UNM VS. NEW MEXICO STATE, THE SERIES: UNM holds a 140-72 series lead over NMSU. Excluding the 23 games which sites are unknown, UNM is 53-42 at Las Cruces, 76-24 in Albuquerque and 0-2 at neutral locations. In the 21st century, the Lobos are 14-18 overall against the Aggies. They are 9-6 in Albuquerque and 5-12 in Las Cruces.

The Lobos won the first meeting between the clubs this season, 5-3 in Las Cruces, ending a three-game losing steak to NMSU. Junior Danny Ray Herrera earned the win, going 7.1 innings for eight hits, three runs, two walks and four strikeouts. Freshman Chace Lankford earned his first collegiate save, allowing just one hit while fanning two in 1.2 innings. Sophomore Jordan Pacheco was 2-for-3 with a RBI and run scored.

UNM had won four in a row vs. the NMSU in Albuquerque heading into the Feb. 21 game at Isotopes Park. Eleven walks and five hits batters from the UNM pitching staff combined with 14 runners left on base gave the Aggies a 12-6 win, evening the series with two more meetings remaining. Junior Matt Foote was a perfect 3-for-3, with a triple, four stolen bases and two runs scored. Junior Chris Carlson went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Sophomore McDonald also picked up two RBI with two hits.

A LOOK AT THE LOBOS: As a team, New Mexico has one of its lowest batting averages (.280) in recent years but the pitching staff's ERA (4.54) is significantly lower than previous seasons and the Lobos are proving to be a strong defensive club, fielding .969 with a conference-leading 25 double plays turned.

Individually, several Lobos have started off hot at the plate. Junior Matt Foote leads everyday players with a .364 avg., scoring a team high 14 runs and stealing a team-high six bases. Foote is tied with sophomore Jordan Pacheco, who is hitting .348, for the most hits (16). Junior Chris Carlson has been a driving force in the line-up, bringing home a team-high 17 runs. He has also provided half of UNM's 10 home runs.

Junior Danny Ray Herrera picked up the season right where he left off last year. Again he leads the conference in wins with a 3-0 record in four starts. He has a 1.72 ERA, the third lowest in the Mountain West Conference, and has struck out 22 batters in 31.1 innings. Senior Nate Melek has also been a dominant force on the mound, going 2-1 in three starts for a 2.78 ERA. Junior Damon Miller has been the guy to count on in the bullpen, making six appearances for 8.2 innings and a 1.04 ERA. Miller has allowed just one earned run to score while striking out seven.

SCOUTING THE AGGIES: New Mexico State is 8-6 overall, searching for its third straight win after taking the final two in a three-game series with Northern Colorado.

Luke Hopkins, named the Louisville Slugger and the Rosenblatt Report National Hitter of the Week on Monday afternoon, has teamed with Abe Aguirre to lead the team in hitting. Aguirre holds a .464 average while Hopkins is hitting .451. Hopkins has a team high 30 RBI, eight home runs, 17 runs scored and 20 walks while Aguirre tops the team in hits (26).

Dillon Smith leads the Aggie pitching staff in wins (2) with a 5.95 ERA. Tyler Sturdevant (1-1, 5.87 ERA), leads the team in strikeouts (23), while Jason Conner boasts the best ERA of the starting pitchers a 4.50.

HERRERA NAMED MWC PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Junior Danny Ray Herrera was named the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday for the first time this season and the second of his career. Herrera pitched a complete game shutout vs. Utah Valley State Saturday, the Lobos' first of the season. In 9.0 innings of work, he struck out seven batters, while scattering six hits and walking only one, to collect his second consecutive complete game and third win of the season. It was just the fourth time in Herrera's career that he threw a complete game or a shutout. The seven strikeouts tied for the third most in a single game in his career.

COLLEGE BASEBALL FOUNDATION PLACES HERRERA ON NATIONAL HONOR ROLL: One day after being named the MWC Pitcher of the Week, junior Danny Ray Herrera was placed on the College Baseball Foundation's National Honor Roll of the Week. Herrera was one of 35 honorees, including 27 pitchers.

WINNING WAYS: The Lobos are 8-4 overall, which ties the 1993 team for the best start through the first 12 games since head coach Rich Alday took over the program in 1990. The 1993 team went on to win 35 games, which is tied with the 2000 team for the fifth most wins in a single season in program history. The 2000 team, through its first 12 games, went 6-6 and went on to win the Mountain West Conference regular season title.

Currently, the eight wins is the most in the conference. The next closest is TCU, which was predicted to with the MWC, with six. The Lobos were picked to finish fifth.

BOMBS AWAY: Sophomore Ian Hollick snapped the nasty losing streak UNM had to start the season when it hit a home run. Juniors Chris Carlson and Daniel Stovall and sophomore Jordan Pacheco had combined to hit seven home runs in three games of the team's first eight, which the Lobos were 0-3 in. Hollick's solo shot in the Utah Valley State game on Saturday, Feb. 25 led to New Mexico's 3-0 win. Just to prove it was safe to hit home runs and win at the same time, Carlson and Stovall both hit bombs to left in UNM's 9-6 win over the Wolverine the next day.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: With senior Ryan Barba at shortstop, sophomore Jordan Pacheco at second base and junior Daniel Stovall at first, New Mexico opponents have run into trouble against arguably the best infield in the MWC.The Lobos' 25 double plays fielded are more than twice any other MWC school's production with three tied at 12. Not to mention Barba, Pacheco and Stovall rank 1, 2 and 3 in the conference for most double playes turned with 19, 18 and 17, respectively.

SWING AND NO MISS: On Sunday, Feb. 26, New Mexico sent 35 batters to the plate against Utah Valley State. The Lobos drew six walks, giving them 29 official at bats. Not once, did a Lobo strike out. The last time New Mexico went an entire game without a strikeout was April 18, 2004 vs. Air Force. UNM won that game 18-6, with no strikeouts in 44 at bats.

MILLER MAKING HIS MOVE: Junior transfer Damon Miller has proven he is the guy who deserves the ball in ninth. Miller has made a team-high six appearances in relief for New Mexico, earning two saves. His 1.04 ERA is the lowest on the team for pitchers making more than one appearance. In 8.2 innings, he has allowed just one earned run to score and struck out seven.

REACHING FOR THE RECORDBOOKS: Junior Daniel Stovall is almost into the UNM career record books. Stovall, with 24 home runs, trails fifth place by 10. Jeff Grady is currently in fifth with 34 career homers. Stovall hit nine bombs in 2005 and 12 in 2004. He already has three this season.

Senior Darren Coltrinari and junior Danny Ray Herrera are vying for the same record. Coltrinari has 32 games started in his career while Herrera has 31. The fifth most is 40, held by Barry Kiess (1994-97) and James Vermilyea (2001-03). The record is 47.

Both Coltrinari and Herrera are also approaching the top-5 in wins and losses. Herrera, with 15 wins, and Coltrinari, with 11 wins, are chasing Ron Adair (1971-74) and Kurt Hildebrandt (1991-93, `95), who are tied for fifth with 20. Coltrinari and Herrera both have 12 career losses, needing five to place in a four-way tie for second with 17. The record is 21, set by Barry Kiess (1994-97).

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