March 3, 2008
Up Next For Lobo Baseball
Games #9-10 at No. 4/1 Arizona State
Tuesday, March 4 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 5 6:30 p.m.
Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock BallPark Tempe, Ariz.
Live Stats: Gametracker on GoLobos.com
Against Arizona State (7-0): This will be the 141st meeting between the Lobos and Sun Devils in a series that began in 1947. ASU holds a 112-28 lead in the series and has been ranked No. 1 twice before when playing the Lobos - in 1981 and 1984.
Up Next: The Lobos will face Minnesota, Northern Iowa and California at the Metrodome Tournament in Minneapolis, March 7-9.
LOBO BASEBALL QUICK HITS
Best Start ... The Lobos are off to a great start UNM has begin the 2008 season 7-1. It is the first time since 1973 that New Mexico started the season better than 3-0. The 1973 squad started the season 17-0. But don't let the starting records of the previous 35 teams fool you. 2008 marked only the eighth time the Lobos have started the season in the friendly confines of home since 1973 and several season opening trips were spent on the road at nationally-ranked programs.
The Hit Parade ... The Lobos are averaging 14.63 hits per game over the first eight games of the season. 11 Lobos have recorded at least one multi-hit game this season, led by true freshman Rafael Neda with seven multi-hit games. Neda and newcomers Kevin Atkinson and Mike Brownstein each have an eight-game hit streak going into the Arizona State series.
Stealing Bases ... Junior Mike Brownstein is averaging just under one stolen base per game with seven in the first eight games of the season. The Lobos' individual single-season record for stolen bases is 56 by Luke Oglesby in 1993.
LAST TIME OUT ... at Texas State, 2-1 series win ... The Lobos picked up their second series win of the season, and first on the road. Bobby LaFromboise and Willy Kesler earned their second wins of the season, while closer Clinton Cox earned his first save in his fourth finish of the year.
In Game One (W, 11-1), LaFromboise threw for six innings, holding Texas State scoreless, giving up one hit and striking out seven. Drew McDonald got a hit in his first at-bat of the game for the sixth game in a row. Max Willett hit his first home run of the season to improve the Lobo lead to 4-0.
Game Two (W, 11-10) saw the Lobos pound out a season-high 19 hits as seven batters had multiple-hit games. Kevin Atkinson tied the game in the fifth with a three-run double, 4-4, getting the Lobos on track offensively.
Scott Gracey took the hard-luck loss in Game Three (L, 8-7 in 11) as the Lobos allowed TSU to get back in the game in the late innings and missed some defensive opportunities to stop the driving Bobcats.
OFFENSE IN MULTIPLES ... When Ray Birmingham was hired, the expectation was that the Lobos would be a stong hitting team. So far so good as the Lobos lead the Mountain West Conference in just about every major hitting category.
Top 5 Multiple Hit Games Player Total Game-High Rafael Neda 7 3 - twice, last at Texas State (3/2/08) Matt Hibbitts 6 3 - at Texas State (3/1/08) Max Willett 5 2 - 5x, last at Texas State (3/1/08) Drew McDonald 5 3 - vs. Eastern Michigan (2/22/08) Mike Brownstein 4 4 - vs. Eastern Michigan (2/22/08) Kevin Atkinson 4 3 - at Texas State (2/29/08)STOPPING TECH ... The Lobos' 7-3 win against Texas Tech on Feb. 27 was a pleasant sight considering the Red Raiders had won 10 of the previous 11 meetings between the two teams. The series that began in 1962 will continue on Tuesday, March 11 when TTU makes a return trip to Isotopes Park. The Lobos will play two games in Lubbock on April 8 and 9.
Top 5 Multiple RBI Games Player Total Game-High Drew McDonald 5 5 - vs. Eastern Michigan (2/22/08) Rafael Neda 4 2 - 4x, last at Texas State (3/1/08) Brian Cavazos-Galvez 3 3 - vs. Texas Tech (2/27/08) Max Willett 3 3 - at Texas State (2/29/08) Three players 2
Top Hitting Streaks of Season Player Current Season-Long Rafael Neda 8 8 Kevin Atkinson 8 8 Mike Brownstein 8 8 Drew McDonald -- 7 Matt Hibbitts -- 7 (+13 coming into `08 = 20) Brian Cavazos-Galvez 6 6
SENIOR LEADERSHIP ... It was the seniors that led the way in the EMU series. Catcher Drew McDonald got his third year with the Lobo program off to a solid start. McDonald hit .500 for the Eastern Michigan four-game series, including seven runs, two home runs and 10 RBI. Five of those RBI came in Game One when McDonald just missed a single for the cycle. His first at-bat was a three-run homer to left, followed by a triple, and a double.
NEDA MAKES COLLEGIATE DEBUT ... True freshman Rafael Neda got his campaign for Freshman All-America honors underway against Eastern Michigan. Neda started his college career as the Lobos designated hitter, then started at catcher in Game Three of the series. The freshman out of Amphitheater High School in Tucson, Ariz., hit .444 for the series, tied McDonald for runs scored with seven and hits with eight. Neda hit a team-leading three doubles to go along with a home run and seven RBI in the series. Defensively, he caught three runners trying to steal second in Game Three.
THROWING THE KITCHEN SINK ... It was `show us what you've got' time for the Lobo pitching staff in the EMU series. UNM used 16 pitchers out of the 19 on the roster during the four-game series.
Of the four starters, sophomore Ryan Escarcega made the most of his opportunity. The Albuquerque West Mesa High School graduate did not allow a run and only gave up one hit in five innings of work on Feb. 24. Newcomer Willy Kesler had the next-best start with two runs, no walks and six strikeouts in 5.2 innings of action in Game Three of the series.
Newcomers Will Kerr and John Hesketh made two appearances in solid middle relief, while Clinton Cox made two strong finishes. Hesketh and Cox are transfers from Vernon College, Kerr from Clarendon College.
Even shortstop Scott Gracey took the mound for one inning of action to close out Sunday's game.
THREE ASPECTS OF GRACEY ... Sophomore Scott Gracey did it all in the first series of the season against Eastern Michigan - hitting, fielding and pitching. From the plate, the Albuquerque La Cueva High School graduate hit .353 over four games, including his first career triple as a Lobo. He just missed hitting for the cycle in Game Three of the series with the triple, a double, and two singles in the game. From the field, Gracey started all four games at shortstop and only committed two errors in 21 chances. To top off the weekend series, Gracey moved from shortstop to the mound in the ninth inning of the Feb. 24 game with a 6-2 lead and threw a complete inning to preserve the Lobos' fourth win of the season.
HOMEGROWN TALENT ... Eight players on the New Mexico roster hail from the state while three others made the trek north from Hobbs to Albuquerque with their head coach.
Cibola H.S. - Quentin Andes
Eldorado H.S. - Brett Haggerty
La Cueva H.S. - Scott Gracey
Manzano H.S. - Brian Cavazos-Galvez (by way of NMJC); Adam Kramer (by way of NMJC)
Moriarty H.S. - Bobby Moore
Taos H.S. - Adam Skelton
West Mesa H.S. - Ryan Escarcega
NMJC - David Carpenter, Kevin Atkinson, Coty Wilson
A FOREIGN FLAVOR ... To go along with all the local and regional talent, the Lobos have representatives from Australia, Mexico and Canada on the roster. Utility player Adam Courcha hails from Perth, Australia, while freshman catcher Rafael Neda is a native of Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, who finished high school in Arizona. Three players - Will Kerr, Kevin Atkinson, and John Hesketh - phone home to the Province of British Columbia in Canada.
RED CROSS UNIT ... Senior third baseman Ian Hollick has seen limited action in three games so far as he recovers from a wrist injury suffered during the preseason. Hollick is the Lobos only senior three-year letterwinner and has played in 170 games for UNM.
PLAYING FOR THE BOOTS ... The New Mexico baseball team is dedicating the 2008 season to the men and women serving in the United States military with the theme "Playing for the Boots". The Lobos received a pair of Army boots from a serviceman who is serving in Iraq.
The boots will be in the UNM dugout of every home and road game during the 2008 season. Team manager Coby Shields, a junior from Hobbs, N.M., will be responsible for the boots throughout the season.
"We have a great appreciation for our men and women serving in the Armed Forces who put their lives on the line each day," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "Our young men can at least give all they have every day in appreciation for the freedom we have to play baseball in this great country of ours. Our soldiers, over the entire history of America, have given this to us. Lobos appreciate and respect that sacrifice."
PRESEASON NOTICE ... Several Lobos caught the eye of the conference coaches and media and the national publications during the preseason.
Brooks Wallace Award Watch List - Bobby LaFromboise
Mountain West Conference Preseason Team - Matt Hibbitts, Bobby LaFromboise
Baseball America MWC Preseason Team - Matt Hibbitts, Bobby LaFromboise, Drew McDonald
Baseball America Fab 50 Seniors - Bobby LaFromboise
PUTTING THE STUDENT IN STUDENT-ATHLETE ... Following the Fall 2007 semester, five Lobo baseball players were named to the UNM Dean's List, along with 22 others named to the UNM Honor Roll.
Fall 2007 High Honor Roll (3.50+ semester GPA)
Quentin Andes, Mike Brownstein, Clinton Cox, Bret Fanning, Gabriel Flores, Scott Gracey, Daniel Grubbs, Dane Hamilton, Matt Hibbitts, Brian Hill, Ian Hollick, Chad Itokazu, Bobby Moore, Derek Pilkington, Mark Rockey
Fall 2007 Honor Roll (3.00-3.49 semester GPA)
Eric Baalman, Newel Beauchamp, Ryan Escarcega, Brett Haggerty, Brandon Hewett, Willy Kesler, Anthony Martinez, Drew McDonald, Tim McGuire, Rafael Neda, Adam Skelton, Coty Wilson