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Lobo Baseball Travels To No. 9/8 Arkansas for Midweek Series
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/12/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 12, 2010

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on No. 9/8 Arkansas on April 13-14 at Baum Stadium at George Cole Field. New Mexico is 21-11 on the season and in first-place in the Mountain West Conference race at 8-4. New Mexico is 7-2 over its last nine MWC games. The Razorbacks are 26-6 and 9-3 in SEC play. Arkansas leads the all-time series against New Mexico 2-1.

On April 16-18, New Mexico will host Coppin State in Albuquerque for a three-game weekend series. The game on April 18 will be played at Lobo Field. Friday's game will be broadcast live on 101.7 FM the TEAM.

SCOUTING No. 9/8 ARKANSAS

• The Razorbacks are 26-6 on the season, 13-1 in their last 14 games and 18-3 at home this season.

• Arkansas is coached by Dave Van Horn, who is in his eighth year coaching the Razorbacks with a 302-164 (.648) record. Coach Van Horn has 22 total years of head coaching experience and is 887-404 (.687) all-time.

• The Razorbacks return five players with starting experience, 19 letterwinners and 11 starting pitchers from last year's squad.

• Arkansas is led at the plate by sophomore infielder Zack Cox, who is hitting .441 on the season. Cox has five doubles, one triple, six home runs and 38 RBIs.

• The Razorbacks are hitting .326 as a team.

• Arkansas is led on the mound by sophomore left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly, who is 4-0 on the season and has an ERA of 1.99. He has pitched 40.2 innings and has 45 strikeouts.

• The Razorbacks have a 3.77 team ERA.

• The Lobos will likely face freshman right-hander DJ Baxendale on Tuesday and sophomore left-hander Geoffrey Davenport on Wednesday. Baxendale is 0-0 on the season with a 5.33 ERA in 16 appearances this season. He has 20 strikeouts on the season with eight walks. Davenport is 2-2 with a 4.29 ERA. He has 24 strikeouts and eight walks. Baxendale will make his first career start against the Lobos.

SERIES HISTORY

Arkansas leads the all-time series against the Lobos, 2-1. All three games were played on a neutral field in College Station, Texas on Feb. 27-29, 2004. The Lobos took game one of the series, 3-1. The Razorbacks took the next two, 13-3 and 5-2.

IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS (as of April 4)

As a team the Lobos rank fifth in the nation in doubles (75) and 10th in hits with 364. New Mexico also is ranked 15th in the NCAA with a .345 batting average. The Lobos are tied for 21st in the nation with 12 triples on the season.

Senior Justin Howard is ranked eighth in the nation with 53 hits, No. 76 with a .421 batting average and tied for 16th with 14 doubles. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is tied for 79th in the nation with 11 doubles.

Sophomore Gera Sanchez is tied for 27th in the NCAA with five saves.

NEDA NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda has been named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week as announced by the conference office. Neda went 6-for-11, hitting .545 in a three-game series against conference foe BYU on Apirl 8-10. Neda had six RBIs, three runs scored and two tape-measure home runs. Both home runs were in game three's 10-9 victory.

LOBOS ON BACK ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST STANDINGS

The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team is back in first place with an 8-4 record after taking two of three from conference foe BYU this past weekend. The Lobos are 7-2 in their last nine MWC games and are currently receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches top-25 poll. New Mexico is 21-11 on the season.

LEADERS OF THE PACK

Seniors Justin Howard and Chris Juarez lead the Lobos in batting average at a .414 clip. Howard also leads the team in on-base percentage (.472), doubles (14), runs scored (35) and hits (58). All-America candidate Rafael Neda is hitting .355 on the season and leads the team in RBIs (34).

The Lobo pitching staff is led by junior Kenny Toves, who has an ERA of 2.57 and is 2-0 on the season. Senior Willy Kesler has a 4.86 ERA, is 2-1 on the season and leads the team in strikeouts with 47.

TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST STATISTICS

The Lobos lead the Mountain West Conference with a .346 batting average and in doubles with 86. The Lobo pitching staff is fourth in the conference with a 5.47 ERA.

Several Lobo hitters are making their presence known in the MWC rankings. Seniors Justin Howard and Chris Juarez are tied for the league lead with a .414 batting average and is ranked second in on-base percentage (.472). Senior Cameron Smith ranks fifth in the conference with a .393 batting average. Howard is tied for the lead in the league in doubles with 14 and junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda and senior Cameron Smith are tied for eighth with 11. Neda is ranked fourth in RBIs with 34. Howard is tied for fifth with 32 RBIs.

The pitching staff is just as impressive in the MWC rankings. Junior Kenny Toves is ranked first in the conference with a 2.57 ERA and junior Richard Olson is ranked tenth with a 3.58 ERA and seventh with 38 strikeouts. Senior Willy Kesler is ranked third in the conference with 47 strikeouts. Senior Edwin Carl is tied for ninth in the league with 12 batters stuck out looking. Sophomore Gera Sanchez is tied for the league in saves with five.

On defense, Howard is ranked first in putouts with 275.

LOBOS IN THE NATIONAL POLLS

The Lobos are receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association top-30 poll and the USA Today Coaches top-25 poll.

The Lobos are also ranked No. 32 in boydsworld.com's RPI index. The Lobos are the highest ranked Mountain West team. No. 38 TCU, joins New Mexico as the only two MWC teams in the top-100. The Lobos have two victories over No. 12 Texas, No. 46 USC and No. 90 New Mexico State. The Lobos face three more teams this season in the top-100, Arkansas (5), TCU (38), and Texas Tech (52).

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