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Baseball Travels To No. 20 Texas A&M This Weekend For Aggie Classic
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/24/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 24, 2004

New Mexico Baseball Notes in PDF Format
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THIS WEEK IN LOBO BASEBALL: Domino's Pizza Aggie Classic

WHERE: HOSTED BY TEXAS A&M - ALL GAMES AT C.E. PAT OLSEN FIELD (7,053) - COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES LISTED - CENTRAL):

Friday, Feb. 27:

NEW MEXICO (0-2-1) vs. Arkansas (6-0), 11 a.m.

Arkansas vs. No. 20 Texas A&M (7-0), 3 p.m.

No. 20 Texas A&M vs. NEW MEXICO, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 28:

Arkansas vs. NEW MEXICO, 11 a.m.

NEW MEXICO vs. No. 20 Texas A&M, 3 p.m.

No. 20 Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 29:

No. 20 Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, 11 a.m.

Arkansas vs. NEW MEXICO, 3 p.m.

NEW MEXICO vs. No. 20 Texas A&M, 7 p.m.

MEDIA COVERAGE:

Click here to go to the official Domino's Pizza Aggie Classic Website: Official Tournament Website

RADIO: Live audio vs. Arkansas at www.hogwired.com

Live audio vs. Texas A&M at www.aggieathletics.com

LIVE STATS: Live stats vs. Texas A&M at www.aggieathletics.com

TV BROADCAST ON THE INTERNET - Live video for $3.95 a game available at www.aggieathletics.com

Click here for video broadcasts: Live Video Broadcasts

Projected Lobo Pitching Rotation:

Fri. Gm. 1: #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (0-0, 11.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 2 K, OBA - .267)

Fri. Gm. 2: #28 RH Jr. Jason Fernandez (0-1, 6.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 4 K, OBA - .333)

Sat. Gm. 1: #21RH So. Darren Coltrinari (0-0, 5.40 ERA, 5.0 IP, 3 K, OBA - .400)

Sat. Gm. 2: #18 LH Jr. Mike Smith (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 2 K, OBA - .250)

Sun. Gm. 1: #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (0-1, 11.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 3 K, OBA - .455)

Sun. Gm. 2: #11 RH Jr. Karsten Gaarder (0-0, 15.43 ERA, 2.1 IP, 3 K, OBA - .300)

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Listen to all Lobo games this weekend via the internet!
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STORYLINE: New Mexico (0-2-1) will be looking for its first win of the season this weekend at the Domino's Pizza Aggie Classic in College Station, Texas, hosted by Texas A&M. The three-team tournament includes No. 20 Texas A&M (7-0) and Arkansas (6-0). The Lobos face a grueling task in playing two 2003 NCAA Tournament participants six times in three days.

There will be plenty of media coverage at the tournament this weekend at C.E. "Pat" Olsen Field (capacity: 7,053), which is one of the largest on-campus baseball facilities in the nation. Live audio and live stats of the UNM's games with Texas A&M will be available for free at A&M's official athletic website, www.aggieathletics.com. The website also provides live video of all Texas A&M games for a charge of $3.95 per game. For more information on this service, click here: Live Video Broadcasts. Arkansas' official website, www.hogwired.com, will be providing live audio for UNM's game with the Razorbacks.

DON'T LEAVE FOR THE BALLPARK WITHOUT THEM - CAN'T MISS NOTES:

* The Lobo and Aggies have only met each other twice; the teams split in 1995

* New Mexico has never faced Arkansas

* The Lobos are 37-139 (.210) all-time vs. ranked opponents; 16-91 on the road. UNM was 3-8 vs. ranked teams last year, including wins over No. 7 Arizona State, No. 16 UNLV and No. 23 Southwest Missouri State. UNM fell to No. 23 Nebraska last weekend, 12-8.

GET OUT THOSE BINOCULARS - LOBOS TO WATCH:

* Junior Matt Young, the Lobo leadoff hitter, is batting .545 (6-for-11) and has a .643 on-base percentage to go along with two triples, four RBI and six runs. Young tied a career-high with four hits on Opening Day vs. Kent State. For his efforts, Young was named the Mountain West Player of the Week Feb. 23. Young is the spark for the Lobo offense after amassing a .466 on-base percentage and leading the MWC with 54 walks and 76 runs in 2003.

* Senior co-captain Sean Murray led the Lobos in 2003 with a .383 batting average

* Senior Joe Salas, a left-handed fireballer out of the bullpen, is also the Lobos' most explosive hitter at the plate. He blasted 16 homers in 2003.

* Junior Josh Mader, a lifetime .368 hitter, returns to his natural position at shortstop this season after playing two years at third base.

A GLANCE AT THE LOBO STARTING PITCHERS: The Lobo pitching staff faces a unique challenge this weekend with six games in three days. Cooper Eddy, Danny Ray Herrera and Darren Coltrinari, who all started last weekend, will start once again in College Station. The other three starters - all junior college transfers - will be making their first starts in the Cherry & Silver. Here's a look at the starters:

Gm. 1 - Friday vs. Arkansas, 11 a.m.: #2 Danny Ray Herrera (Fr., LH, Odessa, Texas)

* Lefty made his collegiate debut last weekend vs. No. 23 Nebraska. He allowed six runs, five earned, in four innings, and gave up four hits on three walks while fanning two

* Keeps hitters off balance with off-speed pitches, including an excellent changeup

* First-team all-district pitcher and All-Permian Basin MVP in 2003

Gm. 2 - Friday vs. Texas A&M, 7 p.m.: #28 Jason Fernandez (Jr., RH, Albuquerque, N.M.)

* Transfer from Lamar Junior College; led team to the 2002 Junior College World Series

* Threw three innings in his UNM debut last weekend vs. Nebraska. He took the loss, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits while striking out four

Gm. 3 - Saturday vs. Arkansas, 11 a.m.: #21 Darren Coltrinari (So., RH, Grand Junction, Colo.)

* Posted a 3-4 record with a 6.75 ERA last season in 70.2 innings of work

* Lone returning starter from 2003 * Coach Alday says he has a "bulldog mentality" and goes right after hitters

* Tossed five innings vs. Northwestern last weekend, surrendering eight hits and three runs in five innings

Gm. 4 - Saturday vs. Texas A&M, 3 p.m.: #18 Mike Smith (Jr., LH, El Paso, Texas)

* Lefty made his UNM debut last weekend vs. Northwestern, striking out two in one inning

Gm. 5 - Sunday vs. Arkansas, 3 p.m.: #20 Cooper Eddy (Jr., RH, West Des Moines, Iowa)

* Pitched for Iowa Western College in 2002 and Tennessee Tech in 2003

* Coach Alday says "he's a complete pitcher who has a chance to get drafted this year"

* Opening Day starter for UNM, taking the loss vs. Kent State (4.0 IP, 10 hits, 8 R, 5 ER)

Gm. 6 - Sunday vs. Texas A&M, 7 p.m.: #11 Karsten Gaarder (Jr., RH, Arlington, Texas)

* Transfer from Howard College

* Threw 2.1 innings in his Lobo debut vs. Kent State, giving up four runs on three hits

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.

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.

YOUNG NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior centerfielder Matt Young was named the Mountain West Player of the Week Feb. 23 after an impressive opening weekend. Young went 6-for-11 (.545) with two triples, four RBI and six runs scored in UNM's first three games, and currently leads the MWC in batting (.545), slugging percentage (.909) and on-base percentage (.643). It marks the first time in Young's career he has received the honor.

A dynamic defensive player, Young will get his chance in center field this season after playing left field for two years. Young, the team's leadoff hitter and spark offensively, 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 polished his game over the summer playing shortstop in the Alaskan Summer League. A lifetime .371 hitter, Mader batted .357 with seven homers and 49 RBI in 2003, garnering first-team All-MWC honors.

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.

Joe Salas


NEW LOOK LOBOS: The Lobos feature many fresh faces in 2004 with 18 newcomers (seven transfers, 11 freshman). Six of the seven transfers along with four freshmen are pitchers and will bring immediate help to a depleted staff that is only returning two hurlers from last season. The other transfer, Garrick Haymore (Eastern Arizona), is slated to be the starting left fielder. The Lobos will also count on a rotation of freshmen to contribute at the corners.

The Lobos lost 14 letterwinners from 2003, including right-hander James Vermilyea, who was drafted in the ninth round by the Toronto Blue Jays. UNM also lost third-team All-Americans Chris Alexander and Dusty Young.

HOMETOWN FLAVOR: Eight players on the 2004 roster hail from Albuquerque, including brothers Jeff and Tim Grady (Cibola HS). Junior Josh Mader (Cibola) is cousins with both of the Grady's, while seniors Sean Murray (Academy) and Joe Salas (Rio Grande), junior Jason Fernandez (La Cueva) and freshmen Matt Foote (Academy) and Ramon Romero (La Cueva) are all natives of the Duke City.

DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS: While Albuquerque is represented well on this year's roster with eight players, they are outnumbered by Texans, as 11 players from the Lone Star State play for the Lobos (Chris Dabbs, Karsten Gaarder, Danny Ray Herrera, Josh Jezek, Kevin Letz, Jackie Smith, Lucas Smith, Mike Smith, Jay Russell, Daniel Stovall, Matt Young). New Mexico signed three players from Texas in the early signing period.

2004 CAPTAINS: Senior Sean Murray and junior Jeff Grady were selected as co-captains for the 2004 season. Murray is a three-year letterwinner and starting right fielder, while Grady has earned two letters and is the starting catcher.

REUNION TOUR - ALDAY & BINGHAM COACHING TOGETHER AGAIN: New assistant coach Dave Bingham and head coach Rich Alday are coaching together once again this season. Both natives of Tucson, Alday and Bingham played at the University of Arizona before transferring to Emporia State. The pair were then drafted and played a year in the minor leagues in the Washington Senators organization.

After playing, the two turned to coaching, and were assistants on the Emporia State staff. Alday then left to start the Pima (Ariz.) College program, while Bingham stayed and turned Emporia State into a national powerhouse (national champs, 1978). The two reunited as assistants on the 1988 United States Olympic Team, which won the gold medal in Seoul, South Korea.

Bingham then went on to coach at the University of Kansas for eight seasons, including leading the Jayhawks to the 1993 College World Series, and Alday came to lead the Lobo program in 1990. After coaching at Kansas, Bingham started the Dave Bingham Baseball Academy, where he has been coaching and teaching the past nine years.

UNM PICKED FOURTH IN MWC: New Mexico was picked to finish fourth in the Mountain West preseason coaches poll. UNLV was tabbed as the conference favorite, marking the first time other than San Diego State was picked to win the league title. The Rebels collected 24 points to capture the top spot, followed by the Aztecs with 22 points. BYU earned 15 points to place third. New Mexico and Utah (12 points each) tied for fourth, while Air Force ranked sixth (five points).

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

Before Sunday's tie against Northwestern, the Lobos had 12 ties in the history of the program. After playing to a tie, the Lobos are 6-6 all-time in their next game. However, in an even year, UNM is 3-2, while in an odd year, it's 3-4.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS:

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (6-0)

The Razorbacks are off to a perfect 6-0 start after sweeping St. John's at home last weekend.

Arkansas is off to a hot start offensively, batting .385 as a team with 19 doubles and eight homers. Danny Hamblin is batting .727 (8-for-11) and Clay Goodwin is hitting .650 (13-for-20) with two homers and six RBI. Ten players on the roster are batting .350 or higher.

The pitching staff has also gotten off to a nice start with a 2.67 staff ERA. Six different pitcher have already collected wins.

HEAD COACH: Dave Van Horn. Career record: 626-271 (16th year). Record at ARK: 41-22 (2nd year).

SERIES NOTES: First meeting.

No. 20 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (7-0)

The Aggies swept South Alabama at home last weekend to move to 7-0 for the season. A&M plays Texas-San Antonio on Tuesday at Olsen Field. The Aggies beat TAMU-Corpus Christi in a three-game set and have also defeated Sam Houston State. A&M is ranked 20th in the Baseball America Top 25 poll and 14th in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 poll.

Offensively, the Aggies are batting .367 as a team with 16 doubles and five homers. Cliff Pennington is hitting .500 (14-for-28) with 10 runs scored, one double, two triples, one homer and seven RBI. Cory Patton leads the team with 13 RBI (.448 BA).

As a staff, the Aggies have only given up 13 earned runs (15 total) in the first seven games, good for a 1.89 ERA, and opponents are only hitting .174 against them. Zach Jackson is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and Jason Meyer is 3-0 with a 1.12 ERA to lead the staff.

HEAD COACH: Mark Johnson. Career record: 811-384 (20th year). Record at A&M: Same.

SERIES NOTES:

Tied, 1-1.

Coach Alday vs. Texas A&M: 1-1 (1-1 Away)

Last UNM win: UNM 4, Texas A&M 3 (1995)

Last A&M win: Texas A&M 14, UNM 3 (1995)

Streak: Texas A&M has won one in a row.

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