March 19, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - New Mexico first baseman DJ Peterson and right-hander Austin House have earned Mountain West Baseball Player and Pitcher of the Week honors for games played from March 12-18, 2012.
Peterson, a sophomore from Gilbert, Ariz., hit .667 (10-15) for the week as the Lobos went 3-1, including a three-game series sweep of San Diego State to begin Conference play. In Tuesday's 6-2 loss to New Mexico State, Peterson was 1-for-3 with an RBI and two walks. Against SDSU in Friday's series opener, Peterson was a perfect 5-for-5 with three runs scored, four RBI and two home runs in the 11-9 win. Peterson scored the eventual winning run in the bottom of the sixth with the score tied at nine and two outs on a home run to left field.
"DJ had a great night," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. "He swung the bat the right way, sprayed the ball around the field, and hit a tape-measure homer. You can't ask for anymore from a kid than he did."
On Saturday, UNM won 11-2 with Peterson hitting 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two walks. Over the first two games of the series, Peterson reached base eight-straight times, a season-high for the Lobos. Peterson was 3-for-4 with a run scored, two RBI, one walk and two doubles in Sunday's 8-6 win. Both of Peterson's RBI came in the bottom of the sixth as the Lobos scored eight runs in the inning to comeback from a 6-0 deficit. He ended up reaching base in 15 of his 20 plate appearances over the four games. Defensively for the week, Peterson was a perfect 1.000 with 40 putouts and three assists. Peterson, who was a Freshman All-American last season and set a new NCAA record for doubles by a freshman with 32, currently leads the Mountain West Conference in batting (.457), slugging (.800), and on-base percentage (.518). He also leads the league in hits (32), home runs (5), RBI (21), and total bases (56) and is second in runs (18). He is also tied for the league lead in doubles (7) with teammate Mitchell Garver. Prior to this season he was named to the Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American Team by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
"DJ is a first-class kid," Birmingham said. "He has grown and matured as a baseball player and as a person. He is another in a line of great Lobo hitters and will be playing on TV someday."
House, a junior from Albuquerque, N.M., earned the win in Saturday's 11-2 victory over San Diego State. House pitched seven innings to start the game, allowing only four hits, two unearned runs and two walks. He recorded four strikeouts in the outing. Defensively, House recorded a putout and three assists. He has not allowed an earned run in 21 1/3 innings spanning his last three starts.
"I'm so proud of that kid," Birmingham said. "He's a New Mexico kid. He's a kid that pitched very limited time in high school, but I believed in him. He had a growing process as a freshman and sophomore, but now he's a junior and he's everything I hoped he would be."
House currently leads all UNM starters with a 3.15 ERA. He also leads the team in innings pitched (34.1) and strikeouts (26), and has only allowed five extra-base hits all season. His ERA is currently fifth in the conference, and his innings pitched are tied for the league lead. Eleven of his 26 strikeouts have caught the batter looking, which also leads the conference.
This is the second-consecutive week the Lobos have swept the Mountain West Conference Player and Pitcher of the Week awards. Peterson and right-hander Gera Sanchez won last week. Josh Melendez won the Player of the Week award on Feb. 28. Overall, the Lobos have been honored five times already this season. That is as many as the other four teams in the MWC combined.
This is the third career weekly honor for Peterson and the first for House.