No. 5 Oregon State Hosts New Mexico This Weekend
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/27/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 27, 2006

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UP NEXT FOR THE LOBOS: New Mexico, 27-15 overall, is on hiatus from Mountain West Conference play this weekend as it heads into Corvallis for two games with No. 5 Oregon State and one game with Cal Poly. The Lobos are on a two-game losing streak, after falling to eighth-ranked Oklahoma (18-9) on Monday and Texas Tech (6-4) on Tuesday.

Friday night's 5 p.m. PT game will pit senior righty Nate Melek (5-4, 6.52 ERA) vs. Oregon State's Mike Stutes (3-2, 2.86 ERA). Southpaw junior Danny Ray Herrera (8-0, 2.08 ERA) looks for his ninth win on Saturday at 12 p.m. PT, taking on Cal Poly's Casey Fien (4-1, 2.97 ERA). Right-handed senior Jesse Perez (2-0, 8.06 ERA) will close out the weekend at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday, facing an unknown OSU opponent.

Live stats for both games vs. OSU will be available on the Beavers' official website: www.osubeavers.com. Live audio for the Lobos' game vs. Cal Poly is available on the Mustangs' official website: www.GoPoly.com.

NEW MEXICO VS. OREGON STATE, THE SERIES: The season series between Oregon State and New Mexico resumes in Corvallis this weekend after the team's split the first two played in Albuquerque March 10-11. OSU, ranked No. 12 at the time, won 10-4, snapping the Lobos' eight-game win streak behind ace Dallas Buck, who improved to 4-0 on the season, allowing four hits, two runs and three walks with five K's in 7 innings. But UNM's ace, junior Danny Ray Herrera struck back on Saturday, striking out nine, including five in the first two innings to lead the Lobos to 13-2 victory. The teams were supposed to meet on Sunday but the game was cancelled due to snow.

In a series that began during head coach Rich Alday's second season at the helm of the Lobos, Oregon State holds a 5-2 lead. The Beavers won the first four games, outscoring New Mexico 39-24. The first five meetings took place at neutral locations. OSU made its first trip to the Duke City in March and UNM is making its first trip to Corvallis this weekend.

NEW MEXICO VS. CAL POLY, THE SERIES: The series begins now as the Lobos and Mustangs meet for the first time ever. Cal Poly is the fourth team that New Mexico will play for the first time this season. The first three were Utah Valley State, San Francisco and Dallas Baptist. The Lobos posted a 6-3 record against them, sweeping UVSC, taking two-of-three from DBU and one-of-three vs. USF.

SCOUTING THE BEAVERS: Oregon State, 28-10 overall, had a seven-game win streak snapped at home Tuesday by Portland in 12 innings. The Beavers, ranked No. 5 by Baseball America, No. 6 by ESPN and No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball, have won 16 of their last 19. As a team, OSU is hitting .300 with a 3.61 ERA and .970 fielding percentage.

Of the Beavers' everyday players, Cole Gillespie has been the most consistent hitter. Hitting .376, Gillespie leads the team in runs (49), doubles (14), home runs (7) and walks (27). Darwin Barney (.336), had a team-high 51 hits and 11 stolen bases while Shea McFeely (.318) leads the Beavers in triples (5) and RBI (33).

Dallas Buck is OSU's All-American, going 8-0 with a 3.09 ERA. Buck has struck out 46 and walked 33 in 64 innings. Jonah Nickerson has been vital to the Beavers' rotation, going 7-3 with a 2.35 ERA. Nickerson has struck out a team-high 60 batters and walked just 17 in 65 innings. Kevin Gunderson has been a stud out of the bullpen, producin a 1.63 ERA iwth 12 saves in 27.2 innings. Gunderson is 1-1 with 30 strikeouts, 12 walks and just five earned runs allowed in 20 appearances.

SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly is 23-18 overall and 7-4 in the month of April. The Mustangs enter the weekend on a two-game win streak. They have not played at a neutral site all year, which could work in their favor as UNM is 0-3 at neutral locations. Cal Poly is hitting .281 with a 4.20 ERA and .968 fielding percentage.

Josh Lansford and Matt Canepa are the only two Mustangs currently hitting over .300. Lansford is hitting .363 thanks to a team-high 62 hits while Canepa holds a .333 batting average. Jimmy Van Ostrand is hitting .289 and leads the Mustangs in runs (38), home runs (11) and RBI (45). Brent Walker (.250) has drawn a team-high 32 walks and stolen 20 bases.

Of the 13 pitchers to appear for Cal Poly, only two have ERAs above 5.00. Bud Norris (7-4, 4.29) and Gary Daley (5-5, 5.65) have been the primary starters, both throwing 79.2 innings in 13 and 14 starts, respectively. Daley has struck out a team-high 83 batters while Norris has thrown the teams' lone complete game. Casey Fien, who has made four starts, has made most of his 21 appearances from the bullpen. Fien is 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA, 39 strikeouts and just 11 walks.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH: Junior www.GoLobos.com.

IN THE NATION: Once again, the Lobos are one of the best teams in the nation statistically. Through April 23, New Mexico leads the nation in double plays, turning 56 total for a 1.37 per game average. The Lobos are sixth in the nation in runs per game, averaging 9.3, seventh in the nation in slugging percentage (.524) and tied ninth in home runs per game (1.32). UNM is also ranked in batting average (.332, 11th), fielding percentage (.972, 16th), doubles per game (2.27, 19th), triples per game (0.39, 29th) and win-loss percentage (.659, 45th).

Individually, the Lobos are thriving as well. Junior first baseman/designated hitter Chris Carlson is ranked in the most categories for New Mexico. Carlson is fourth in RBI (1.51 pg), tied sixth in home runs (0.41 pg) and tied 16th in slugging percentage (.750). Junior first baseman/designated hitter Daniel Stovall and left-handed junior pitcher Danny Ray Herrera make the list in two spots. Stovall is tied seventh in doubles (0.46 pg) and 10th in RBI (1.39 pg) while Herrera is tied 13th in wins (8) and 43rd in ERA (2.08). Sophomore second baseman Jordan Pacheco is second in the nation in runs per game (1.49), junior left fielder Jay Russell is tied 10th in sacrifice hits (0.31 pg) and junior center fielder Matt Foote is tied 22nd in times hit by a pitch (0.37 pg).

ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN: The Lobos are 27-15 overall, which is the best record in the Mountain West Conference to date. TCU is 25-27 and leads the conference standings at 11-2. New Mexico is 9-4 in the MWC, which is the second best, trailing the Horned Frogs by two games.

UNM is the top fielding team in the conference with a percentage of .972. They Lobos lead the conference in chances (1,702) and assists (516). They have turned 56 double plays, which is 16 more than any other school in the MWC. The Lobos also lead the conference in batting average (.331), slugging percentage (.521), on base percentage (.417), runs (387), hits (506), RBI (363), doubles (96), triples (16), home runs (54), total bases (796), total plate appearances (1,825), at bats (1,528) hit by pitch (59) and sacrifice flies (24).

Individually, the Lobos are dominating all the categories. New Mexico has at least two ranked in the top-10 in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBIs, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases, walks, sac bunts and sac flies, stolen bases and times hit by a pitch. Sophomore Ian Hollick stands out for the Lobos, ranking in the top-10 in batting average (.382, 2nd), slugging percentage (.662, 4th), on-base percentage (.484, 3rd), runs scored (40, 6th), hits (60, T5th), RBI (48, 3rd), doubles (14, T3rd), triples (3, T4th), home runs (8, T6th), walks (29, 1st), total bases (104, 4th) and assists (87, 10th).

Junior Danny Ray Herrera has etched his name throughout the pitching categories, holding the best ERA (2.08), lowest opposing batting average (.220), most innings pitched (95.1), most games started (12), fewest runs allowed (25) and fewest doubles allowed (6) for pitchers who average at least 1 inning per game. Herrera is also in the top-10 in stikeouts (76, 5th), strikeouts looking (19, 4th), wins (8, 2nd), fewest earned runs allowed (22, T3rd) and fewest walks allowed (20, T7th).

The fielders are just as strong individually, leading the conference in three of the six categories. First basemen Daniel Stovall and shortstop Ryan Barba have turned a league-high 40 double plays. Stovall is third in putouts (327), fourth in chances (338) and ninth in fielding percentage (.994). Barba also leads the conference in assists (143). Center fielder Matt Foote holds a perfect fielding percentage to tie for the conference lead and while second baseman Jordan Pacheco has dished out 137 assists (third), 39 double playes (third) and is tenth in chances (235). Sophomore catcher Drew McDonald is 10th in putouts (170).

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 and quite possibly the nation.The Lobos' 56 double plays fielded are more than any other MWC school's production with UNLV's 40 the next closest. Nationally, their 56 double plays is also the most, leading Hawai`i-Hilo's 51. Not to mention Stovall and Barba are tied for first in the conference for most double plays turned with 40 each. Pacheco is right on their heels, with 39 of his own.

SENSATIONAL STARTERS: The Lobos have relied heavily on their starting rotation for innings and wins. The starters, 20-8 with a 4.96 ERA, have thrown 259.1 innings with 182 strikeouts. The bullpen, 7-7 with a 7.78 ERA, has tossed 120.1 innings with 69 strikeouts.

New Mexico is also stronger at the plate with its starters. The Lobos have used 14 different pinch hitters with six getting at least one hit. Non-starters are hitting .281 compared to the starters' .333 average. In the first 31 games, the Lobos pinch-hit in 18 games but only six of them came in the last 14 games. In the last 11 games, the Lobos pinch-hit 21 times.

KEYS TO SUCCESS: In order for New Mexico to win, they need to score early and score often, at least according to the statistics. The Lobos are 0-3 when scoring less than three runs and they are 0-11 when trailing after seven innings and 0-12 after eight innings. On the flip side, they are 12-1 when scoring 10 or more runs and 24-2 when leading after seven innings and 22-1 when leading after eight innings.

The Lobos are 11-10 when an opponent scores first and 7-7 when their opponent scores in the first inning. But, they are 11-5 when they score in the first and 16-5 when they score first. The Lobos are also 19-2 when they out-hit their opponents.

LOBOS LAST TIME OUT: The New Mexico baseball began its five-game conference hiatus with a game at No. 8 Oklahoma on Monday followed by a game at Texas Tech on Tuesday.

New Mexico's 7-6 lead was erased in the bottom of the sixth at Oklahoma. The Sooners scored 10 runs on their way to a 18-9 victory. The Sooners' 10 runs on eight hits, were just too much for the Lobos to overcome, dropping them to 1-2 vs. ranked opponents this season.

Freshman Aaron Bates suffered the loss, surrendering eight runs, seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 3 innings. Junior Sean McKee was the only Lobo to hold the Sooners scoreless, allowing two hits and two walks with a strikeout in 1.1 innings.

Senior Ryan Barba and sophomore Drew McDonald both finished 2-for-3 while juniors Jay Russell, Chris Carlson and Matt Foote and sophomore Ian Hollick all went 2-for-4. Sophomore Jordan Pacheco and Carlson drove in a team-high two runs while McDonald scored twice to lead UNM.

A two-run home run by Texas Tech's Roger Kieschnick in the bottom of the seventh broke a 4-4 tie, giving the Red Raiders a 6-4 win, their seventh straight win over New Mexico. The tying run plus the two runs off the home run were all unearned.

Junior Damon Miller made his first start of the season, holding the Red Raiders hitless threw 3 innings. Miller went 6.1 innings for four hits, four runs (three earned), four walks and a strikeout. Freshman Chad Itokazu evened out at 2-2 with the loss, allowing two hits for two unearned runs in 1.2 innings.

Junior Daniel Stovall led the Lobos at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Russell was 2-for-3 with a RBI while Foote was 1-for-1 with two RBI.