June 2, 2011
Radio: ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM
Live Stats: GameTracker available on GoLobos.com.
BREAKING NEWS: Live webcast of all ASU Regional Games at www.foxsportsarizona.com
The Lobos are making their second consecutive appearance, third overall, at the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. The Lobos will face regional host Arizona State in their first game and also have Arkansas and Charlotte in their regional bracket. The Lobos faced Arizona State in their first series of the year earlier this season. UNM earned its way to the tournament with an improbable run that captured the Mountain Wes Conference Tournament title. UNM swept through the MWC tournament as the last-place seed, beating top ranked No. 7 in the country TCU twice in the process.
With only one senior on this year's roster, UNM is young and talented, but has had their struggles for the majority of the season. The Lobos
LOBO BASEBALL QUICK HITS
• THE SERIES ... UNM trails in the all-time series against ASU.
Series Record: 27-112
Home: 18-32 ; Away: 8-70; Neutral: 0-1
• Known For Their Hitting ... The Lobos have made national news with their bats since Ray Birmingham took over three seasons ago. New Mexico led the nation in hitting in 2009 with a team average of .363. Justin Howard, who was drafted last year, led the country in hitting with a .456 average in `10.
• We Really Are New Mexico ... The 2011 New Mexico baseball team has 10 players from the state of New Mexico. During the April 26th game with Texas Tech, UNM had seven of nine players on the field that are from the state of New Mexico at one point.
MOST LOSSES BY A TOURNAMENT TEAM, BUT NOT WORST WINNING PERCENTAGE: The 20ll University of New Mexico Lobos enter the NCAA Division I Baseball Championships with the most losses by any tournament team, with research dating back to 1979. They do not have the worst winning percentage of all-time however, as Campbell University whom went 15-31 (.326 in 1990) and Texas Southern whom went 16-32 (.333 in 2008) had worse winning percentages than UNM, 20-39 (.339, 2011).
PREVIEWING THE REGIONAL OPPONENTS:
Arizona State: The Sundevils are deep and talented. 13 members of the Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team earned All-Pac-10 Conference honors. Five student-athletes were named to the First Team, while eight earned honorable mention. Sophomore shortstop Deven Marrero was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the year this season. Offensively the Sun Devils are led by Joey DeMichele, who is batting .371 with seven HR'sa and 39 RBI's. Arizona State brings a record of 39-16 and a No. 10 national ranking going into the regional. The Sun Devils finsihed second in the PAC 10 during the regular season behind UCLA with a record of 17-10. UNM is 27-112 all time vs. Arizona State.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks bring a record of 38-20 and have a national ranking of No. 16 coming into the regional. Arkansas was eliminated by Vanderbilt in the semifinal round of the SEC tournament. The Razorbacks were the top team in the Western Division in the SEC at 15-15 during the regular season. Arkansas junior catcher James McCann and senior outfielder Kyle Robinson were named to the SEC Baseball Tournament All-Tournament Team. McCann is second on the team with a .309 batting average with six homers, 33 RBI and nine stolen bases. Robinson leads the team with nine homers and ranks second on the team with 45 RBI to go along with a .293 batting average. UNM is 1-2 all time vs. Arkansas
The 49ers bring a sparkling record of 42-14 to go along with a No. 28 national ranking heading into the regional. Charlotte won the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships by sweeping through Richmond, Rhode Island and Richmond once again. It was the third straight conference title for the 49ers. Corey Shaylor batted .636 for the tournament, scoring a team-high five runs. He was also named Most Outstanding Player. Justin Roland, Ross Steedley and Andrew Smith also made the All-Tournament Team. The 49ers have posted 11 shutouts this season, tied for third-most in Division I. UNM has never played Charlotte.
SLIPPER FITS IN MWC TOURNAMENT: It was unlikely, unexpected, and even uncharacteristic of what the Lobos had produced on the field most of the season. But for the Lobos wearing the Cherry & Silver, the Mountain West title was a vision and a dream they focused on with the unbending resilience of youth steeled by the "Why not?" attitude of a veteran coach. And they did it - mowing down Brigham Young, TCU, Utah and TCU again, 4-2 in the championships game atTony Gwynn Stadium. The Lobos nabbed themselves an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the MWC Tournament as a very unlikely six-seed. The Lobos had one of the toughest schedules in the nation this year and took their lumps during the season, their 20-39 record is proof of that. It all paid off in the end, however, as the Lobos won their first ever MWC championship.
FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME: Starting pitchers Rudy Jaramillo and Jake McCasland threw back-to-back complete-game shutouts against Air Force on May 6 and 7, winning by scores of 10-0 and 5-0. The last time the Lobos had two shutouts in a row was on March 17, 1983, when UNM defeated Iowa State, 1-0, and Wyoming, 5-0, on the same day.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Freshman first baseman DJ Peterson is currently second in the nation in total doubles on the season. Peterson has 31 doubles on the season, trailing only Jason Krizan of Dallas Baptist, who has set the NCAA single-season record with 37 doubles. Peterson's 31 doubles marks a new MWC record for doubles in a single season by a freshman and is also the new NCAA record, surpassing that of 28 set by Xavier Nady (California) in 1998 and Taylor Harbin (Clemson) in 2005. Peterson is also currently tied for the third-best season in UNM history as far as doubles are concerned.
PLAYING THE CREAM OF THE CROP ... The Lobos 16-36 record this season does not reflect the talent of this team. One of the reasons UNM has lost over 30 games is due to the fact of the strength of schedule head coach Ray Birmingham put together. Thus far, UNM has played nine 30-win teams (Arizona, Arizona State, Creighton, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech and UNLV), eight teams that were ranked in the top-30 at some point during the 2011 season (Arizona, Arizona State, Creighton, Gonzaga, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and TCU) and two conference leaders (Creighton-Missouri Valley and TCU-MWC). The bleeding doesn't stop there for the Lobos, however, as they still have No. 9 TCU to finish out the season. When the Lobos are done with TCU, they will have played over half of their games (28 of 54) against opponents that were nationally ranked in the top 30 at some point in the season. Coach Birmingham is a believer in if you want to be the best you have to play the best, making no excuses for his team as he truly believes his youthful Lobo squad can hang with the best once they have gotten the experience.
FORMER LOBOS GAINING STEAM IN PRO BALL ...
Matt Young: From undrafted free agent out of UNM to a player on a big league roster, Young has come a long way and deserves the shot he has earned. The Atlanta Braves are very excited about the prospect of Matt Young serving as a backup center fielder to Nate McLouth. Young caught the big league club's attention in 2008 when he hit .289 with 30 stolen bases for Double-A Mississippi. He had similar success in 2009 with Triple-A Gwinnett, as he hit .300 with 42 stolen bases. This will be Young's first stint in the majors, as he has spent the past six seasons in the minor leagues. "It was all kind of a blur," Young said about making the club. "I don't remember what skip said, I just kind of had my head down and was smiling the whole time."
Jordan Pacheco: Former Lobo Pacheco had been turning heads in the Colorado Rockies spring camp this season. Pacheco made quite an impression this spring, as he had a strong push in making the Rockies opening day roster. Pacheco just missed making the roster, however, as he found out March 27 that he would be optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs to begin the season. It's still a great accomplishment for the former MWC Player of the Year, as he was slated to begin the season in Double-A on the Tulsa Drillers.
Brian Cavazos-Galvez: Former Lobo Galvez got promoted within the Los Angeles Dodgers' system to Double-A Chattanooga. In 2009, he earned the Most Valuable Player Award in the Pioneer League after leading the league in hits, runs, doubles and home runs. Last year for Single-A Great Lakes, he hit .318 while racking up 43 stolen bases, 76 runs, 43 doubles, 16 home runs and 77 RBI in 121 games.
LAST SERIES: The Lobos were swept by No. 8 Oklahoma in a four-game series. The Lobos went into the series with momentum on their side, as they had just come off a series sweep of the Air Force Falcons. Unfortunately, the Lobos just ran into another top-level team on the road and could not come away with a victory.
ON THE HORIZON ... UNM ends the regular season at home against TCU May 19-21. UNM's lone senior Richard Olson will be honored during Satuday's game for senior day. After the series with the Horned Frogs, the Lobos will turn their attention to the MWC tournament held in San Diego, Calif., May 24-28.
LOBO BASEBALL TV SCHEDULE ... The Lobo baseball team will have three games televised this season. New Mexico will appear on the MountainWest Sports Network for the three-game series at TCU, April 8-10.
LOBOS ANNOUNCE BROADCAST SCHEDULE ... The University of New Mexico and ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team have reached an agreement to broadcast Lobo baseball. All future dates can be seen on GoLobos.com
30-WIN SEASONS ... The Lobos are averaging 36 wins per year during the last three years under Ray Birmingham...it's the most wins in a three-year period in school history...in 2010, New Mexico had the third highest wins in program history...the most wins in a season by the Lobos is 42 in 1985.