Baseball Begins Road Swing At Nebraska
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/05/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 5, 2004

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New Mexico Lobos (10-16-1) at Nebraska Huskers (21-5)



Monday, April 5 - 6:35 p.m.
Tuesday, April 6 - 1:35 p.m.

MEDIA COVERAGE: There will be a live broadcast feed of the games along with live stats at www.Huskers.com. Games can be viewed via video streaming on a subscription basis. Please refer to www.Huskers.com for more information.

SERIES INFORMATION: This will be the 21st meeting between the two schools. Nebraska defeated New Mexico earlier this season (Feb. 21), 12-8, at the Baseball Fiesta Tournament in Albuquerque, N.M. The Huskers lead the series, 13-7.

STORYLINE: The New Mexico baseball team brings a season-best four-game winning streak into Lincoln to face Nebraska April 5-6. UNM (10-16-1) has won five of its last six games and went 4-0 last week after beating archrival New Mexico State, 17-13, and sweeping BYU for the first time in program history. The Lobos are third in the Mountain West with a 6-3 league mark, one game behind conference leaders UNLV and San Diego State (both with 7-2 MWC records).

The Huskers, who were ranked No. 19 in last week's Baseball America poll, are 21-5 overall after sweeping conference foe Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., last weekend. NU defeated the Lobos, 12-8, in the first weekend of the season during the Baseball Fiesta Tournament Feb. 21 in Albuquerque and has defeated UNM four consecutive times. New Mexico's last win over Nebraska arrived in extra-innings in 2002, with the Lobos capturing a 3-2 victory in 13 innings.

ODDS-N-ENDS: The Lobos are 6-3 in the MWC, good for third place...they are one game back of conference leaders San Diego State and UNLV (7-2)...sixteen of the Lobos' first 27 games have come against teams with a winning record, and nine of those games were against teams either ranked in the Top 25 or receiving votes in the national polls...New Mexico will play its next 18 games on the road and won't play at home until May 14 against Air Force...the Lobos played 14 out of their last 18 games at Isotopes Park.

ON DECK: The Lobos resume conference play with a three-game series at Utah April 8-10 (Thursday-Saturday). All games will begin at 12 p.m.

NOTES FROM THE BYU SERIES: The Lobos swept BYU for the first time in program history last weekend (April 1-3) at Isotopes Park...UNM took the series opener, 9-3...the Lobos shut out the Cougars 1-0 in Friday's win, marking the first time UNM has won 1-0 at home since Feb. 27, 1990 against Western New Mexico...it was the first 1-0 game UNM has played in since a loss to TCU in 1999...it was the first 1-0 game the Lobos have won since 1992, a road win at Texas Tech...freshman Danny Ray Herrera won his second straight game, going perfect through six innings...Jeff Grady delivered the game's only run with a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh...UNM completed the sweep with a comeback 10-8 triumph on Saturday...down 8-6 in the bottom of the eighth, the Lobos scored four times to rally for the win, keyed by a Daniel Stovall two-out bases loaded single that brought in the winning runs...Stovall batted .417 in the series with five hits.


* Junior centerfielder and leadoff hitter Matt Young is the team's offensive spark. Young leads the team in runs (27) and on-base percentage (.426), and is second in batting (.349). He went 4-for-6 with a career-high six RBI in Tuesday's win over New Mexico State. Young hit .444 (8-for-18) last week with a homer, 10 RBI and two triples. His six triples this season already establish a career high and is tops in the Mountain West.

Josh Mader is fifth in the Mountain West with a .368 batting average.

* Junior shortstop Josh Mader, the team's No. 3 hitter, leads the team in batting (.368, fifth in Mountain West). Mader tied a career high with four hits at New Mexico State March 24 and had a season-high four RBI in last Saturday's win over SDSU. He is batting .448 (22-for-48) in his last 10 games with 14 RBI.

* Senior Joe Salas tied a career-high with five RBI in Tuesday's win over NMSU, including a grand slam in the sixth inning which gave the Lobos the lead for good, and leads the team with 23 RBI. Salas hit two more homers in the BYU series. Overall last week, he batted .375 (6-for-16) with four runs, three homers and 11 RBI. He also collected two saves (3/30 vs. NMSU; 4/2 vs. BYU) and a win (4/3 vs. BYU) on the mound last week. His nine career saves are tied for third best in New Mexico history.

WEEKEND UPDATE - BYU SERIES RECAP: The Lobos swept BYU for the first time in program history last weekend (April 1-3) at Isotopes Park to improve to 6-3 in the Mountain West.

In the series opener, junior right-hander Jason Fernandez threw his second complete game of the season and improved to 3-3 for the year as New Mexico defeated BYU, 9-3, Thursday night. Matt Young led the Lobos with three hits and two RBI, while Ryan Barba and Joe Salas each hit homers for UNM.

Fernandez struck out five and only walked one while surrendering 10 hits in the complete game effort, the third as a staff this season for the Lobos. He also threw a complete game in UNM's 3-1 win over Arkansas Feb. 27.

BYU led 2-1 after four and a half innings, but the Lobos took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. A.J. Spitaleri scored from third on a double play before Barba blasted his third homer of the season to left field, giving UNM a 4-2 advantage.

New Mexico put the game out of reach with four runs in the seventh. After a Cougar throwing error on a pickoff play that scored Chris Dabbs from third, BYU intentionally walked Josh Mader to put runners on first and second with two outs. The only problem with the strategy was that cleanup hitter Joe Salas was on deck, and he crushed his 0-2 offering over the right-field wall for a three-run homer, his second in as many games, to put the Lobos up 8-2. Salas finished the game 2-for-4 with a run and three RBI.

The Lobos made use of its shortest game of the year on Friday night, shutting out BYU, 1-0, in one hour and 50 minutes on a chilly, rainy evening at Isotopes Park. The Lobos put together their first shutout of the season and won 1-0 at home for the first time since Feb. 27, 1990.

Matt Young batted .444 last week with 10 RBI.

Catcher Jeff Grady delivered the knock-out blow with a solo homer in the seventh for the game's only run. Grady pulled his shot down the left-field line and sent it deep over the fence for his team-leading fifth home run of the season.

The one run was all the Lobo pitching staff needed to secure the win. Danny Ray Herrera was brilliant in his second straight victory as he retired the first 18 batters of the game, going perfect through six innings. BYU got a hit to lead off the seventh, but Herrera retired the next three to end the inning.

Joe Salas relieved Herrera in the eighth after the freshman gave up two hits, and after a wild pitch and a walk, Salas settled down to end the Cougar threat with a groundout.

Salas earned his third save of the season with a successful ninth inning. He hit the first batter of the inning, but after a sacrifice bunt, he struck out the next two batters - the No. 3 and No. 4 hitters in the BYU lineup - to close the game. The save was Salas' ninth of his career, which moves him into a tie for third place all-time at UNM.

Herrera (2-4) was masterful on the mound, allowing only three hits and no walks with three strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work. Not only was he effective, but also minimal in his work - he threw just 84 pitches, 52 for strikes.

Amid extremely windy conditions in the series finale at Isotopes Park, UNM team completed a three-game sweep over BYU for the first time in program history with a comeback 10-8 win.

After the Lobos surrendered the lead in the top of the eighth inning, UNM rallied back from an 8-6 deficit and scored four runs in the bottom of the inning in the victory. The Lobos led 6-3 heading into the eighth, but the Cougars scored five times on only one hit. BYU took advantage of the wild and rainy conditions and sloppy Lobo play, scoring on two Lobo errors, three walks, three wild pitches and one hit batter.

But then it was the Lobos turn in the bottom of the eighth.

UNM stormed back with four runs in the eighth on one hit, but it was the biggest hit of the game. With the scored tied at 8 and the bases loaded with two outs, Daniel Stovall delivered a two-run single that plated Chris Dabbs and Josh Mader, giving the Lobos the 10-8 lead. The Lobos tied the game on a walked two and hit two batters in the eighth, all while using four pitchers in the inning.

Joe Salas (1-1), who entered the game in the eighth, struck out the side in the ninth to earn his first win of the season.

The Lobos pounded out 17 hits in the contest, including a 4-for-5 performance from Sean Murray. Stovall added three hits, while Garrick Haymore, A.J. Spitaleri and Ryan Barba each collected two hits.

LAST TIME AGAINST NEBRASKA (Feb. 21, 2004): The 23rd-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated the New Mexico baseball team, 12-8, on Feb. 21 at Isotopes Park in the Ultimate Dugout Baseball Fiesta Tournament.

The Lobos led after 5 1/2 innings, 7-6, but a 34-minute rain delay slowed UNM's momentum as the Huskers scored three runs in the seventh to go up 9-7. UNM out-hit Nebraska 13-11, however, the Lobos produced four errors in the field compared to NU's one, allowing two unearned runs.

Five Lobos collected two hits in the contest, including Matt Young, who nailed a two-run triple in the fourth inning.

The Lobos and Huskers traded runs in the first and second innings, but Nebraska jumped out to a 6-2 lead after scoring three runs in the third and one in the fourth. Young's two-run triple and Ryan Barba's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth trimmed the lead to 6-5. New Mexico took its first lead of the contest in the fifth on a two-run homer by Chris Dabbs, his first career long ball as a Lobo.

In the top of the sixth, Jason Fernandez retired the Huskers in order for the second straight inning, including three strikeouts, in his second inning of relief. But after Fernandez's strikeout, the rain started to pour, and the delay began. After the delay, the Huskers scored three runs in the top of the seventh off Fernandez on four hits and a costly Lobo throwing error to go up 9-7. Nebraska added one run in the eighth and two in the ninth off reliever Joe Salas.

New Mexico scored its last run on a Josh Mader RBI single in the eighth.

Freshman Danny Ray Herrera threw four innings in his collegiate debut, allowing six runs, five earned, on four hits and two strikeouts. Tim Schoeninger (1-0) picked up the win for NU in relief, while Mike Sillman collected the save.