Feb. 17, 2004
THIS WEEK IN LOBO BASEBALL:
Ultimate Dugout Baseball Fiesta Tournament
WHERE: ALL GAMES AT ISOTOPES PARK (Except Game One on Sunday)
Friday, Feb. 20 Northwestern (1-2) vs. No. 23 Nebraska (0-0), 10:30 a.m. Kent State (0-1) vs. NEW MEXICO (0-0), 2 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 21 Kent State vs. Northwestern, 10:30 a.m. No. 23 Nebraska vs. NEW MEXICO, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 22 LOBO FIELD: No. 23 Nebraska vs. Kent State, 11 a.m. ISOTOPES PARK: Northwestern vs. NEW MEXICO, 11:30 a.m.
RADIO: All Lobo games will be broadcast by Henry Tafoya on KDEF 1150 AM and on www.GoLobos.com. To listen, click here: Lobo Baseball Broadcasts
LIVE STATS: Live stats of UNM games will be available at www.GoLobos.com. To access, click here: Gametracker
TICKET INFORMATION: For baseball ticket information, click here: Tickets
Probable Lobo Weekend Pitching Rotation:
Friday: #20 Cooper Eddy (RH, Jr., West Des Moines, Iowa; Tennessee Tech) Saturday: #2 Danny Ray Herrera (LH, Fr., Odessa, Texas; Permian HS) Sunday: #21 Darren Coltrinari (RH, So., Grand Junction, Colo.; Central HS)
STORYLINE: Opening Day finally arrives for the Lobos this week as UNM hosts the Ultimate Dugout Baseball Fiesta this weekend (Feb. 20-22) at Isotopes Park to start the 2004 season. The Lobos are the last team to open in the Mountain West Conference, and it marks the latest UNM has started in 27 years.
New Mexico will play Kent State on Friday at 2 p.m., No. 23 Nebraska on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Northwestern on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. All Lobo games can be heard on the radio at KDEF 1150 AM or on www.golobos.com, and live stats will also be available at www.golobos.com.
DON'T LEAVE FOR THE BALLPARK WITHOUT THEM - CAN'T MISS NOTES:
* This is the Lobos' latest start in 27 years. The last time the Lobos started this late was in 1977, when UNM played Utah on Feb. 25.
* This is the first time in Coach Alday's tenure that the Lobos open their season at home. The Lobos' last season opener at home was a 10-4 loss to New Mexico State in 1989.
* The Lobos are 4-10 in opening day games under Coach Alday; the last win came against Grand Canyon in 2000.
* On Feb. 20, New Mexico will meet Kent State for the first time.
* The last time UNM and Nebraska met, the Cornhuskers prevailed with a 3-2 win in 13 innings.
* The Lobos are 37-138 (.211) all-time vs. ranked opponents; 19-37 at home. UNM was 3-8 vs. ranked teams last year, including wins over No. 7 Arizona State, No. 16 UNLV and No. 23 Southwest Missouri State.
* The Lobos own a 4-1 series advantage over Northwestern.
All Lobo home games will be broadcast on KDEF 1150 AM and on www.golobos.com. Live stats will be available for Lobo games on www.golobos.com.
GET OUT THOSE BINOCULARS - LOBOS TO WATCH:
* Senior co-captain Sean Murray led the Lobos last year with a .383 batting average.
* Senior Joe Salas, a left-handed fireballer out of the bullpen, is also the Lobos' most explosive hitter at the plate. He blasted 16 homers in 2003.
* Junior Josh Mader, a lifetime .371 hitter, returns to his natural position at shortstop this season after playing two years at third base.
* Junior Matt Young batted leadoff every game last year and is the spark for the Lobo offense after amassing a .466 on-base percentage and leading the MWC with 54 walks and 76 runs.
A GLANCE AT THE LOBO STARTING PITCHERS: Two of UNM's three starting pitchers will be making their Lobo debut on the mound this weekend. Junior Cooper Eddy, a transfer from Tennessee Tech, will get the call on Opening Day for the Lobos. Left-handed freshman Danny Ray Herrera will make his collegiate debut on Saturday and sophomore Darren Coltrinari, the lone Lobo starter from last season, will pitch on Sunday.
#20 Cooper Eddy (Jr., RHP, West Des Moines, Iowa) * Right-handed hurler who throws in the low-90's and has a good curveball and changeup * Pitched for Iowa Western College in 2002 and Tennessee Tech in 2003 * Coach Alday says "he's a complete pitcher who has a chance to get drafted this year"
#2 Danny Ray Herrera (Fr., LHP, Odessa, Texas) * Lefty will be making his collegiate debut this weekend * Keeps hitters off balance with excellent off-speed pitches * First-team all-district pitcher and All-Permian Basin MVP in 2003
#21 Darren Coltrinari (So., RHP, Grand Junction, Colo.) * Posted a 3-4 record with a 6.75 ERA last season in 70.2 innings of work * Lone returning starter from 2003 * Coach Alday says he has a "bulldog mentality" and goes right after hitters
2003 RECAP - LOBOS BLAST THROUGH THE RECORD BOOKS: New Mexico finished the 2003 season with a 34-26 record and placed fourth in Mountain West action with a 17-13 mark. The Lobo offense dominated the MWC, setting six school records and leading the conference in nine categories. In addition, UNM was first in the nation in doubles per game (2.87), third in batting (.345), third in slugging percentage (.564), third in home runs per game (1.55) and tied for third in runs per game (9.90). Individually, six Lobos were named to the All-Mountain West team, including Josh Mader, Joe Salas, James Vermilyea and Dusty Young, who garnered first team honors. Alexander and D. Young were also named to the Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger All-America third team. Head coach Rich Alday became UNM's all-time winningest coach with 405 wins, and collected his 900th career win with a victory over Air Force on May 4.
MADER RETURNS TO NATURAL POSITION: After playing two years at third base, junior Josh Mader finally returns to his natural position at shortstop following the departure of All-American Dusty Young. Mader polished his game over the summer playing shortstop in the Alaskan Summer League. A lifetime .371 hitter, Mader batted .357 with seven homers and 49 RBI in 2003, garnering first-team All-MWC honors.
SALAS BRINGS EXPLOSIVE BAT BACK TO THE LINEUP: Senior and 2003 first-team All-MWC selection Joe Salas returns for his final season in the Cherry & Silver after breaking out last year with 16 homers and 56 RBI in addition to a .366 batting average. Salas, who will primarily be the Lobos' designated hitter, is also slated as the team's closer on the mound.
PUT ME IN COACH - YOUNG IN CENTER FIELD: A dynamic defensive player, junior Matt Young will get his chance in center field this season after playing left field for two years. Young, the team's leadoff hitter and spark offensively, put together a .466 on-base percentage and led the MWC in walks (54) in 2003 while batting .320.
NEW LOOK LOBOS: The Lobos feature many fresh faces in 2004 with 18 newcomers (seven transfers, 11 freshman). Six of the seven transfers along with four freshmen are pitchers and will bring immediate help to a depleted staff that is only returning two hurlers from last season. The other transfer, Garrick Haymore (Eastern Arizona), is slated to be the starting left fielder. The Lobos will also count on a rotation of freshmen to contribute at the corners.
The Lobos lost 14 letterwinners from 2003, including right-hander James Vermilyea, who was drafted in the ninth round by the Toronto Blue Jays. UNM also lost third-team All-Americans Chris Alexander and Dusty Young.
HOMETOWN FLAVOR: Eight players on the 2004 roster hail from Albuquerque, including brothers Jeff and Tim Grady (Cibola HS). Junior Josh Mader (Cibola) is cousins with both of the Grady's, while seniors Sean Murray (Academy) and Joe Salas (Rio Grande), junior Jason Fernandez (La Cueva) and freshmen Matt Foote (Academy) and Ramon Romero (La Cueva) are all natives of the Duke City.
DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS: While Albuquerque is represented well on this year's roster with eight players, they are outnumbered by Texans, as 11 players from the Lone Star State play for the Lobos (Chris Dabbs, Karsten Gaarder, Danny Ray Herrera, Josh Jezek, Kevin Letz, Jackie Smith, Lucas Smith, Mike Smith, Jay Russell, Daniel Stovall, Matt Young). New Mexico signed three players from Texas in the early signing period.
2004 CAPTAINS: Senior Sean Murray and junior Jeff Grady were selected as co-captains for the 2004 season. Murray is a three-year letterwinner and starting right fielder, while Grady has earned two letters and is the starting catcher.
REUNION TOUR - ALDAY & BINGHAM COACHING TOGETHER AGAIN: New assistant coach Dave Bingham and head coach Rich Alday are coaching together once again this season. Both natives of Tucson, Alday and Bingham played at the University of Arizona before transferring to Emporia State. The pair were then drafted and played a year in the minor leagues in the Washington Senators organization.
After playing, the two turned to coaching, and were assistants on the Emporia State staff. Alday then left to start the Pima (Ariz.) College program, while Bingham stayed and turned Emporia State into a national powerhouse (national champs, 1978). The two reunited as assistants on the 1988 United States Olympic Team, which won the gold medal in Seoul, South Korea.
Bingham then went on to coach at the University of Kansas for eight seasons, including leading the Jayhawks to the 1993 College World Series, and Alday came to lead the Lobo program in 1990. After coaching at Kansas, Bingham started the Dave Bingham Baseball Academy, where he has been coaching and teaching the past nine years.
UNM PICKED FOURTH IN MWC: New Mexico was picked to finish fourth in the Mountain West preseason coaches poll. UNLV was tabbed as the conference favorite, marking the first time other than San Diego State was picked to win the league title. The Rebels collected 24 points to capture the top spot, followed by the Aztecs with 22 points. BYU earned 15 points to place third. New Mexico and Utah (12 points each) tied for fourth, while Air Force ranked sixth (five points).
LOBOS INK 13 IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD: UNM head baseball coach Rich Alday and the Lobo baseball program signed 13 players, including nine from the state of New Mexico, during the fall signing period. The following players will be eligible for the 2005 season. The signed players include:
* Kyle Blanks (1B - 6-6 - 270 - Edgewood, N.M./Moriarty High School) * Tyler Cales (P - 6-4 - 190 - San Antonio, Texas/Madison High School) * Carlos Castillo (C - 6-3 - 195 - Los Lunas, N.M./El Paso Community College) * Brian Flores (LHP - 5-10 - 160 - Carlsbad, N.M./Carlsbad High School) * Mitchell Goines (RHP - 6-3 - 230 - Farmington, N.M./New Mexico Junior College) * Josh Hernandez (INF - 5-9 - 190 - Los Lunas, N.M./El Paso Community College) * Brandon Hewett (RHP - 5-11 -195 - Terrell, Texas/Forney High School) * Bobby Moore (LHP - 6-0 - 180 - Edgewood, N.M./Moriarty High School) * Jordan Pacheo (INF/P - Albuquerque, N.M./La Cueva High School) * Raymond Pelton (RHP - 6-5 - 240 - Carlsbad, N.M./El Paso Community College) * Joe Register (INF - 6-2 - 210 - Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin High School) * Eric Ridener (RHP - 6-4 - 215 - Coral Springs, Fla./Coral Springs High School) * Nick Sanders (INF - 5-11 - 165 - Albuquerque, N.M./Valley High School)
FORGET SPRINGFIELD, THIS IS OUR HOME - LOBOS MOVE INTO ISOTOPES PARK IN 2004:The Lobos move into their Field of Dreams this spring - Isotopes Park. Beginning in 2004, New Mexico will play all of its home games in the stadium and share the facility with the Triple-A Albuquerque Istopes, parent club of the 2003 World Series Champion Florida Marlins.
Isotopes Park (formerly Albuquerque Sports Stadium) was most recently used as a Triple-A baseball stadium by the Albuquerque Dukes, with a multi-use field. The City of Albuquerque has since renovated the existing facility to continue use as a baseball-only stadium.
The new stadium seats 11,124 fans, including suite seating. Isotopes Park has approximately 66,500 square feet of exterior seating plus 3,440 square feet of exterior suite seating; 54,300 square feet of open concourse and walkway plus 4,540 square feet of outdoor deck; 66,400 square feet enclosed space; 7,000 square feet of open outdoor picnic area; and a 120,000 square foot playing field.
The Lobos played in the former Albuquerque Sports Stadium for the 2001 season and hosted the Mountain West Conference Tournament in 2003.
MARK McGWIRE USELESS STAT OF THE WEEK:
"When I broke in, they didn't keep track of things the way they do now. These days they have a stat for how many times a guy goes for a cup of coffee." - Mark McGwire
The Lobos are 235-116 (.669) all-time when playing schools that begin with the letter "N", which is the most wins for UNM against any letter. Coach Alday is 59-45-1 vs. schools that start with "N". This week, the Lobos play Nebraska and Northwestern.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS:
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES (0-1)
Kent State only played one game last weekend at the Coca-Cola Classic in Winthrop, S.C. due to inclement weather, falling to Kentucky in the bottom of the ninth inning, 3-2.
Starter Andy Sonnanstine pitched six strong innings for KSU, fanning seven and allowing two runs, both unearned. Phil Bojc picked up the loss in relief. Offensively, junior leadoff hitter Chuck Moore hit a home run and first baseman Chad Kinyon went 2-for-3 with a double.
The Golden Flashes collected a 36-18 record in 2003, including an 18-4 mark in Mid-American Conference action, which was good for first place in the Eastern Division.
KSU returns two big bats to its lineup: senior Adam Crowder (.368 BA, 13 HR) and senior Chad Kinyon (.343 BA, 16 HR).
PROBABLE ROTATION (2004 Stats): 1. RH So. Andy Sonnanstine (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.0 IP, 7 K) 2. LH So. Justin Laraway (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP) 3. RH Jr. Jason Brunke (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP)
HEAD COACH: Rick Rembielak. Career record: 337-224-1 (11th year). Record at KSU: Same.
SERIES NOTES: First meeting.
No. 23 NEBRASKA HUSKERS (0-0)
Nebraska also opens its season this weekend in Albuquerque. Although the team has yet to play a game, the Huskers are ranked 23rd in this week's Baseball America poll and 21st in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
NU returns 17 letterwinners from last season's team that went 47-18 and reached the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska went 20-7 to finish first in the Big 12.
PROBABLE ROTATION (2003 Stats): 1. LH So. Zach Kroenke (6-2, 2.72 ERA) 2. LH Sr. Justin Pekarek (2-1, 4.24 ERA) 3. RH Sr. Quinton Robertson (10-2, 4.23 ERA)
HEAD COACH: Mike Anderson. Career record: 47-18 (2nd year). Record at NU: Same.
Nebraska leads, 12-7.
Coach Alday vs. Nebraska: 5-5 (2-2 at home, 3-3 neutral)
Last UNM win: UNM 7, Nebraska 5 (1997)
Last NU win: Nebraska 3, UNM 2, 13 innings (2002)
Streak: Nebraska has won three in a row
NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS (1-2)
Northwestern went 1-2 last weekend in Phoenix, Ariz. The Wildcats defeated Washington State, 3-2, but fell to Pacific, 15-11, and San Francisco, 10-4.
Dan Brauer leads the team with a .500 avg., while Anthon Wycklendt is batting .417 with two triples and six RBI.
The Wildcats return 18 letterwinners from last season's 25-25 team that finished fifth in the Big Ten Conference (15-14 conference record).
PROBABLE ROTATION (2004 Stats): 1. Sr. RH Dan Konecny (0-0, 9.64 ERA, 4.2 IP, 4 H, 6 K, 5 BB) 2. Jr. LH J.A. Happ (0-0, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 5 K, 1 BB) 3. So. LH Dan Brauer (0-0, 5.06 ERA, 5.1 IP, 2 H, 5 K, 4 BB)
HEAD COACH: Paul Stevens. Career record: 422-456-4 (17th year). Record at NU: Same.
New Mexico leads, 4-1.
Coach Alday vs. Northwestern: 4-1 (3-1 at home, 1-0 neutral)
Last UNM win: UNM 6, Northwestern 5 (2003)
Last Northwestern win: Northwestern 10, UNM 8 (2002)
Streak: UNM has won two in a row