Lobos Kick Off 13-Game Homestand With Northern Colorado
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/02/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 2, 2006

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UP NEXT FOR THE LOBOS: New Mexico opens a 13-game homestand this weekend with a three-game series vs. Northern Colorado. The Lobos are on a four-game win streak while the Bears are on a two-game losing streak. The teams play Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Isotopes Park.

Right handed senior Nate Melek will start his fourth consecutive Friday night start, winning two straight. Melek is 2-1 overall with a 2.78 ERA and has walked just four in 22.2 innings. Lefty Chris Johns (1-1, 5.47 ERA) will start for the Bears Friday.

Junior south paw Danny Ray Herrera is scheduled to make his third straight start on Saturday. Herrera is 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA and 22 strikeouts. He has allowed just six runs and six walks in 31.1 innings. Righty Seth Gilleland (1-1, 4.12 ERA) will oppose Herrera.

It's likely that freshman phenom Chace Lankford, a righty, will get the nod on Sunday for New Mexico. Lankford is 2-1 with a save in four appearances. He has a 4.82 ERA with seven strikeouts. Northern Colorado will start either righty Tyler Pearson (1-0, 3.86 ERA) or Eric Maydew (0-3, 10.97 ERA).

Live stats will be available for all three games at the Lobos' official athletic website: www.GoLobos.com and on Northern Colorado's website: www.UNCBears.com. The game will be broadcast by KDEF 1150 AM in Albuquerque and by Newstalk 1310 KFKA in Greeley. Both broadcasts are available on the internet at the respective schools' websites.

UNM VS. NORTHERN COLORADO, THE SERIES: The Lobos host Northern Colorado for the second three-game series in as many years. Under head coach Rich Alday, New Mexico is 4-0 after sweeping the series last year and winning a single game in 2003.

Overall, New Mexico holds a 14-9 series lead over Northern Colorado. The series started in 1959 with the Bears winning six in a row. The Lobos have won 11 in a row, dating back to March 14, 1968. The series took a 33 year recess between 1970 and 2003.

A LOOK AT THE LOBOS: As a team, New Mexico has one of its lowest batting averages (.292) in recent years but the pitching staff's ERA (5.03) is significantly lower than previous seasons and the Lobos are proving to be a strong defensive club, fielding .969 with a conference-leading 25 double plays turned.

Individually, several Lobos have started off hot at the plate. Junior Matt Foote leads everyday players with a .408 avg., 20 hits, 18 runs and seven stolen bases. Sophomore Jordan Pacheco is right behind Foote, hitting .348 with 17 hits, 14 runs and six stolen bases while leading the team in hit by pitches (7). Juniors Chris Carlson and Daniel Stovall have been driving forces in the line-up, bringing home a team-high 18 runs each. Carlson leads the team in home runs (5) and walks (11) while Stovall has a team-high six doubles with three home runs.

Junior Danny Ray Herrera picked up the season right where he left off last year. Again he leads the conference in wins with a 3-0 record in four starts. He has a 1.72 ERA, the third lowest in the Mountain West Conference, and has struck out 22 batters in 31.1 innings. Senior Nate Melek has also been a dominant force on the mound, going 2-1 in three starts for a 2.78 ERA. Junior Damon Miller has been the guy to count on in the bullpen, making seven appearances for 10.2 innings and a 3.38 ERA. Miller has allowed just four earned runs to score while striking out seven.

SCOUTING THE BEARS: Northern Colorado (3-7 overall) enters the weekend on a two-game losing streak after visiting New Mexico State. The Bears are just 1-6 on the road. They have wins over Lamar, Air Force and New Mexico State.

The team's talent at the plate is masked by a .263 batting average. They are being outhit by their opponents (.335) but have six players with .300 averages or higher. Grady Gorman and Zach Harris lead the team in hits (12) and RBI (12). Gorman, hitting .343, has hit two home runs and one of the team's two triples. Harris, with a .333 avg., leads the team in runs (10) and home runs (3).

Northern Colorado's ace, Chris Johns, has a 5.47 ERA over four starts. Johns, 1-1, has struck out a team-high 19 battters in 24.2 innings. Tyler Pearson has the lowest ERA of the Bears' four starters at 3.86. Pearson is 1-0 with 11 strikeouts in 11.2 innings, allowing the fewest hits (8) and runs (5). Matt Collins and Evan Linn are the top two relievers for UNC, with 4.91 and 7.36 ERAs, respectively.

HERRERA NAMED MWC PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Junior Danny Ray Herrera was named the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday for the first time this season and the second of his career. Herrera pitched a complete game shutout vs. Utah Valley State Saturday, the Lobos' first of the season. In 9.0 innings of work, he struck out seven batters, while scattering six hits and walking only one, to collect his second consecutive complete game and third win of the season. It was just the fourth time in Herrera's career that he threw a complete game or a shutout. The seven strikeouts tied for the third most in a single game in his career.

Junior Danny Ray Herrera

COLLEGE BASEBALL FOUNDATION PLACES HERRERA ON NATIONAL HONOR ROLL: One day after being named the MWC Pitcher of the Week, junior Danny Ray Herrera was placed on the College Baseball Foundation's National Honor Roll of the Week. Herrera was one of 35 honorees, including 27 pitchers.

WINNING WAYS: The Lobos are 9-4 overall, which ties the 1993 team for the best start through the first 13 games since head coach Rich Alday took over the program in 1990. The 1993 team went on to win 35 games, which is tied with the 2000 team for the fifth most wins in a single season in program history. The 2000 team, through its first 13 games, went 7-6 and went on to win the Mountain West Conference regular season title.

Currently, the nine wins is the most in the conference. The next closest is TCU, which was predicted to with the MWC, with six. The Lobos were picked to finish fifth.

BOMBS AWAY: Sophomore Ian Hollick snapped the nasty losing streak UNM had to start the season when it hit a home run. Juniors Chris Carlson and Daniel Stovall and sophomore Jordan Pacheco had combined to hit seven home runs in three games of the team's first eight, which the Lobos were 0-3 in. Hollick's solo shot in the Utah Valley State game on Saturday, Feb. 25 led to New Mexico's 3-0 win. Just to prove it was safe to hit home runs and win at the same time, Carlson and Stovall both hit bombs to left in UNM's 9-6 win over the Wolverine the next day. On Tuesday at New Mexico State, Hollick again hit a home run in a win. This time however, it was a grand slam, the first hit by UNM since 2004.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: With senior Ryan Barba at shortstop, sophomore Jordan Pacheco at second base and junior Daniel Stovall at first, New Mexico opponents have run into trouble against arguably the best infield in the MWC.The Lobos' 25 double plays fielded are more than twice any other MWC school's production with three tied at 12. Not to mention Barba, Pacheco and Stovall rank 1, 2 and 3 in the conference for most double playes turned with 19, 18 and 17, respectively.

SWING AND NO MISS: On Sunday, Feb. 26, New Mexico sent 35 batters to the plate against Utah Valley State. The Lobos drew six walks, giving them 29 official at bats. Not once, did a Lobo strike out. The last time New Mexico went an entire game without a strikeout was April 18, 2004 vs. Air Force. UNM won that game 18-6, with no strikeouts in 44 at bats.

BMILLER MAKING HIS MOVE: Junior transfer Damon Miller has proven he is the guy who deserves the ball in ninth. Miller has made a team-high six appearances in relief for New Mexico, earning two saves. His 1.04 ERA is the lowest on the team for pitchers making more than one appearance. In 8.2 innings, he has allowed just one earned run to score and struck out seven.

REACHING FOR THE RECORDBOOKS: Junior Daniel Stovall is almost into the UNM career record books. Stovall, with 24 home runs, trails fifth place by 10. Jeff Grady is currently in fifth with 34 career homers. Stovall hit nine bombs in 2005 and 12 in 2004. He already has three this season.

Senior Darren Coltrinari and junior Danny Ray Herrera are vying for the same record. Coltrinari has 32 games started in his career while Herrera has 31. The fifth most is 40, held by Barry Kiess (1994-97) and James Vermilyea (2001-03). The record is 47.

Both Coltrinari and Herrera are also approaching the top-5 in wins and losses. Herrera, with 15 wins, and Coltrinari, with 11 wins, are chasing Ron Adair (1971-74) and Kurt Hildebrandt (1991-93, `95), who are tied for fifth with 20. Coltrinari and Herrera both have 12 career losses, needing five to place in a four-way tie for second with 17. The record is 21, set by Barry Kiess (1994-97).

KDEF 1150 AM TO BROADCAST LOBO BASEBALL FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE SEASON: For the third straight season, Albuquerque radio station KDEF will supply exclusive broadcasts of Lobo baseball on 1150 AM and throughout the world at www.GoLobos.com. All of the team's 29 home games will be broadcast live.

Henry Tafoya will call the play-by-play for the Lobos, while Dan Rivera and Mike Foote will provide analysis. It also marks the third straight season for the trio calling Lobo baseball. Prior to each broadcast, there will be a 15 minute pre-game show. A post-game show with interviews will follow at the conclusion of each game.

In addition to the broadcasts, all of New Mexico's home games can be followed live on the internet at www.GoLobos.com with Gametracker. Gametracker takes official statistics from the press box and provides up-to-the-minute information for users, including updated team and individual stats, an updated box score, and play-by-play. Gametracker can be accessed on the right side of UNM's home page in the upcoming events box.