March 3, 2004
THIS WEEK IN LOBO BASEBALL: UC Santa Barbara (8-6) at New Mexico (1-7-1)
ALL GAMES AT ISOTOPES PARK (11,124)
SCHEDULE: Friday, March 5 * 6 p.m. Saturday, March 6 * 6 p.m. Sunday, March 7 * 12 p.m.
RADIO: All games will be broadcast on KDEF 1150 a.m. and www.GoLobos.com. Games will be called by Henry Tafoya and Dan Rivera. Pregame show starts 15 minutes prior to gametime. Click here for Live Audio: Live Audio vs. UCSB
LIVE STATS: Live stats available at www.GoLobos.com.
TICKET INFORMATION: Single-game tickets are available for $6 (adults), $4 (seniors) and $3 (youth) the day of the game at the Isotopes Park Ticket Office.
PROJECTED PITCHING ROTATION:
Friday: UCSB: #16 RH So. Steve Merlock (1-3, 5.56 ERA) vs. UNM: #28 RH Jr. Jason Fernandez (1-1, 2.25 ERA)
Saturday: UCSB: TBA vs. UNM: #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (0-1, 4.09 ERA)
Sunday: UCSB: #24 RH So. Michael Martin (4-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. UNM: #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (0-2, 7.20 ERA)
STORYLINE: The Lobos spring ahead into March with a three-game series against UC Santa Barbara this weekend (March 5-7) at Isotopes Park. Friday and Saturday's games will begin at 6 p.m. and Sunday's game will start at 12 p.m.
All Lobo games this weekend can be heard on KDEF 1150 AM or on www.GoLobos.com. Live stats will be availabe at www.GoLobos.com.
New Mexico enters the series with a 1-7-1 mark, although seven of their first nine games were against ranked teams or teams receiving votes in the national polls. UNM is looking for its grueling non-conference schedule to pay off in the coming weeks against the Gauchos (8-6) and TCU before Mountain West action begins March 19.
All Lobo games this weekend can be heard on KDEF 1150 AM or on www.GoLobos.com, with coverage starting 15 minutes before gametime. Live stats of the games will be available at www.GoLobos.com.
DON'T LEAVE FOR THE BALLPARK WITHOUT THEM - CAN'T MISS NOTES:
* The Lobos have never defeated UC Santa Barbara; they are 0-3 against the Gauchos
* Seven of the Lobos first nine games have come against teams either ranked in the Top 25 or receiving votes in the national polls (Nebraska, Texas A&M and Arkansas). Texas A&M moved up to 14th in this week's poll, while Nebraska is at 23rd. Arkansas is receiving votes in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll.
*The Lobos are still looking for their first win in the friendly confines of Isotopes Park (0-5-1).
GET OUT THOSE BINOCULARS - LOBOS TO WATCH:
* Junior Matt Young, the Lobo leadoff hitter, is UNM's offensive spark. He leads the team in runs (10), batting (.394) and on-base percentage (.447). Young is even more valuable when breaking down the numbers: he is batting 1.000 (3-for-3) with runners in scoring position, he has four multiple hit games (including two four-hit games) and his 10 runs account for 29 percent of UNM's total.
* Senior co-captain Sean Murray, who led the Lobos last year in hitting (.383), is batting .324 and has a perfect fielding percentage. Murray is primarily the starting first baseman.
* Junior Jason Fernandez, in his first start as a Lobo, mowed down Arkansas in a six-hit complete game shutout to earn MWC Pitcher of the Week honors. The Razorbacks, who were previously undefeated, ranked No. 28 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll and averaging 11.3 runs per game, only got one run and eight runners on base against Fernandez. The junior college transfer is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA.
* Sophomore second baseman Ryan Barba led the Lobos last weekend with a .368 average (7-for-19) to go along with three RBI. For his efforts, he was one of four Lobos to earn all-tournament honors at the Aggie Classic.
AROUND THE HORN...
OFFENSIVELY: The Lobos, traditionally a powerful offense force, are struggling at the plate in their first nine games. UNM is batting .243 as a team and its on-base percentage is just .285 compared to opponents' .422. The Lobos are getting outscored 73-34 and have collected 20 fewer hits than their opponents. UNM does have more triples (4 to 3) and homers (5 to 3) than their opponents.
DEFENSIVELY: The Lobos have commited 16 errors for a .954 fielding percentage (opponents - 12 E, .966 pct.).On the basepaths, runners have stolen 12-of-14 bases.
PITCHING: Opponents are batting .293 against UNM pitching and have scored 73 runs - although 19 of them are unearned. UNM's staff ERA is 6.07 compared to opponents' 2.89. The staggering difference is the walk-to-strikeout ratio (UNM - 54 K, 55 BB; Opponents - 64 K, 15 BB).
DOMINO'S PIZZA AGGIE CLASSIC RECAP: No. 20 Texas A&M captured the Domino's Pizza Aggie Classic in College Station, Texas (Feb. 27-29) with a 5-1 record. Arkansas was the runner-up at 3-3 while UNM finished 1-5.
Four Lobos were named to the all-tournament team: first baseman Sean Murray (.333 avg.), second baseman Ryan Barba (.368 avg.), center fielder Matt Young (.318 avg.) and pitcher Jason Fernandez (six-hit complete game win).
UNM opened the six-game tournament with an impressive 3-1 victory over previously undefeated and No. 28 Arkansas. Fernandez fired a complete game, limiting the powerful Razorback offense to one run. Unfortunately, it was the only Lobo win of the tournament. UNM fell to Texas A&M by one run in both Friday and Saturday's games (2-1 and 11-10), and lost 13-3 and 5-2 in its remaining games against Arkansas. A&M defeated the Lobos 11-1 in the final game of the tournament to earn the tournament championship.
BASEBALL FIESTA TOURNAMENT RECAP: The Lobos opened their 2004 campaign with the four-team Ultimate Dugout Baseball Fiesta Tournament Feb. 20-22 at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. It marked the latest UNM has started in 27 years (1977).
Opening Day (Feb. 20) wasn't exactly how UNM was looking to start the season, falling to Kent State, 15-3. The Lobos battled against No. 23 Nebraska the next day, but after taking a 7-6 lead in the fifth, UNM allowed six more Husker runs to score in losing 12-8.
On the final day against Northwestern, in a game that featured extra-innings and a near no-hitter, the end result was the most improbable outcome either team could imagine - a tie. The Lobos and Wildcats ended the game in the 10th with a 3-3 tie due to a looming Northwestern flight back to Chicago. It marked the first tie for the Lobos since 1999, when UNM and Navy ended in a 9-9 stalemate. The Lobos have 13 ties in program history; three under Coach Alday.
No. 23 Nebraska claimed the unoffical tournament title with a perfect 3-0 record.
PLAYER NOTES -
A GLANCE AT THE LOBO STARTING PITCHERS: After pitching 52 innings last weekend in six games at the Aggie Classic, the Lobo staff is looking forward to a regular three-game weekend. After his impressive performance against Arkansas, Jason Fernandez will get the game ball in game one against UCSB. Danny Ray Herrera will toss game two and Cooper Eddy will throw game three.
Gm. 1: #28 Jason Fernandez: 1-1, 2.25 ERA (Jr., RH, Albuquerque, N.M.)
* Transfer from Lamar Junior College; led team to the 2002 Junior College World Series
* Coming off complete-game 3-1 victory over Arkansas; allowed six hits on four strikeouts and two walks
*?amed Mountain West Pitcher of the Week March 1
Gm. 2: #2 Danny Ray Herrera: 0-1, 4.09 ERA (Fr., LH, Odessa, Texas)
* Lefty has been impressive in his first two starts against top-notch competition (No. 23 Nebraska, No. 20 Texas A&M)
* Keeps hitters off balance with off-speed pitches, including an excellent changeup
* In front of over 7,000 fans at Olsen Field against host Texas A&M on Feb. 27, he threw seven innings, struck out five, and didn't allow an earned run (two unearned) in a tough loss.
*Tenth in the MWC in ERA (4.09) and eighth in opposing batting average (.262).
Gm. 3: #20 Cooper Eddy: 0-2, 7.20 ERA (Jr., RH, West Des Moines, Iowa)
* Lost his first two starts against Kent State (Feb. 20) and Arkansas (Feb. 29)
* Pitched six strong innings vs. Arkansas, giving up three runs on eight hits and six strikeouts
PUT ME IN COACH - YOUNG IN CENTER FIELD: Junior Matt Young is the starting center fielder this season for the Lobos after two years in left. Young, the team's leadoff hitter, is the offensive spark and team leader in batting (.394), runs (10), hits (13) and on-base percentage (.447). Young is fourth in the MWC in batting and seventh in on-base percentage.
He was named the Mountain West Player of the Week Feb. 23 after an impressive opening weekend at the Baseball Fiesta Tournament in which he went 6-for-11 with two triples, four RBI and six runs. Young was also named to the Aggie Classic All-Tournament Team.
A dynamic defensive player, Young has a perfect fielding percentage in center this season. The Murphy, Texas, native put together a .466 on-base percentage and led the MWC in walks (54) in 2003 while batting .320.
MADER RETURNS TO NATURAL POSITION: After playing two years at third base, junior Josh Mader finally returns to his natural position at shortstop following the departure of All-American Dusty Young. Mader, a 2003 first-team All-MWC selection, polished his game over the summer playing shortstop in the Alaskan Summer League. A lifetime .365 batter, he is hitting .281 with three RBI this season.
BARBA SOLID AT SECOND: Sophomore second baseman Ryan Barba earned all-tournament honors at the Aggie Classic with a .368 average in the six games. Barba is third on the team in batting (.323), hits (10) and runs (five). A native of Van Nuys, Calif., Barba earned the starting spot at second at the end of his freshman season with his strong bat (.366 BA).
SALAS BRINGS EXPLOSIVE BAT BACK TO THE LINEUP: Senior and 2003 first-team All-MWC selection Joe Salas returns for his final season in the Cherry & Silver after breaking out last year with 16 homers and 56 RBI in addition to a .366 batting average. Salas, who will primarily be the Lobos' designated hitter, is also slated as the team's closer on the mound.
FERNANDEZ NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Junior right-hander Jason Fernandez was named the MWC Pitcher of the Week after firing a six-hit complete game in UNM's 3-1 win over Arkansas Feb. 27. Fernadez limited the Razorbacks, who were previously undefeated and ranked No. 28 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll, to one run and only eight base runners. A native of Albuquerque, Fernandez is second in the MWC with a 2.25 ERA and opponents are only batting .227 against him (fourth in the MWC).
HOT BAT AT THE HOT CORNER: Freshman Daniel Stovall is batting .318 with two homers and three RBI in five starts at third base. Stovall hit his first career homer Feb. 28 vs. Arkansas and followed it with another shot against Texas A&M. The powerful hitter also blasted two doubles in his first collegiate start vs. No. 23 Nebraska.
MARK McGWIRE USELESS STAT OF THE WEEK
"When I broke in, they didn't keep track of things the way they do now. These days they have a stat for how many times a guy goes for a cup of coffee." - Mark McGwire
The Lobos will try and reverse a trend this weekend when they play Cal-Santa Barbara. UNM is only 49-133 (.368) when playing teams from California, including an 0-3 mark against UCSB.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT:
UC SANTA BARBARA (8-6)
The Gauchos enter the weekend with an 8-6 overall record after taking two of three games from Fresno State last weekend. UCSB fell to UCLA, 3-2, on Tuesday.
UC Santa Barbara has been outslugging opponents this season to win games. Although the team ERA is 5.12, the Gauchos have a winning record due to its high octane offense. UCSB is batting .316 as a team, featuring nine players hitting over .300, and averaging 7.8 runs per game and 11.5 hits per game. The Gauchos are also fast on the basepaths, stealing 20-of-24 bases on the season.
Greg Powers leads the offense with a .472 average, two homers and 12 RBI to go along with a .548 on-base percentage. Taylor Vogt is hitting .368 with three HR and nine RBI and Bill Rowe is batting .333 with two HR and 15 RBI.
HEAD COACH: Bob Brontsema. Overall record: 271-274 (11th year). Record at school: Same.
UCSB leads, 3-0.
Last meeting: UCSB 12, UNM 3 (1998)
Coach Alday vs. UCSB: 0-1 (0-1 Neutral)
UCSB RESULTS (8-6): Feb. 6 - UCSB 8, San Diego State 2 Feb. 7 - San Diego State 8, UCSB 5 Feb. 8 - UCSB 2, San Diego State 0 Feb. 10 - UCSB 10, CS Northridge 7 Feb. 13 - San Jose State 9, UCSB 2 Feb. 14 - San Jose State 11, UCSB 2 Feb. 15 - UCSB 4, San Jose State 2 Feb. 17 - UCSB 22, Westmont 7 Feb. 20 - Pepperdine 6, UCSB 4 Feb. 23 - UCSB 6, Pepperdine 5 Feb. 27 - Fresno State 7, UCSB 6 Feb. 28 - UCSB 22, Fresno State 9 Feb. 29 - UCSB 8, Fresno State 3 March 2 - UCLA 3, UCSB 2