Lobo Baseball Signs Four to National Letters of Intents
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/23/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 23, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-- University of New Mexico baseball coach Ray Birmingham and his staff have announced the signing of four more UNM baseball players. Freshmen Oscar Almeida, Arthur Nelson and Zak Miller and transfer Mike Lachapelle have signed National Letters of Intent to play with the University of New Mexico. All four were brought in for their abilities to touch 90 mph on the radar gun. Coach Birmingham has also brought in the top players from New Mexico and the southwest to assemble one of the best recruiting classes Lobo baseball has had in quite some time.

"We brought in a group of kids with serious arm strength," said Birmingham. "We look to improve our pitching staff and make it the best staff in Lobo baseball history. The top programs in the country recruited all four of these guys and they chose to be Lobos. We got these guys away from some really good programs and that just tells you the respect Lobo baseball is getting. The upside is that all four have really good grade point averages as well."

Oscar Almeida • RHP • 5-11/180 • Fr.-HS • Albuquerque, N.M. • Rio Grande HS
Four-year letterwinner at Rio Grande HS under head coach Orlando Griego ... named All-State first team as a senior and All-Metro first team as a senior and junior ... earned an academic letter in 2008 ... played club ball for the Albuquerque 18's.

Coach Birmingham on Almeida
"Almeida is a local kid with a great work ethic who will be a good pitcher for us."

Mike Lachapelle • LHP • 6-2/165 • Jr.-Tr • Tucson, Ariz. • Pima CC
Transfer from Pima CC and four year letterwinner at Sahuaro HS in Tucson, Ariz. under head coach Mark Chandler ... also lettered in football ... was a three-time Conference Pitcher of the Week while at Pima CC ... earned first team all-conference, first team all-city and pitched in the Arizona Super 50 game in high school ... played club ball for Holyoke Blue Sox.

Coach Birmingham on Lachapelle
"Lachapelle was probably the best left-hander in the Arizona junior college system. He has a real good shot of getting drafted. He can get to the high 80's and touch 90 every now and then. Most importantly, he is a very smart pitcher."

Zak Miller • RHP • 6-3/198 • Fr.-HS • Surry, B.C., Canada • Elgin Park Secondary School
Lettered in baseball under head coach Doug Mathieson ... also lettered in hockey and volleyball ... went 10-2 with a 1.01 earned run average his senior year and was named league MVP and to the all-conference defensive and offensive teams ... won championships with hockey and volleyball teams while at Elgin Park ... earned Top Student honors at Elgin Park, which is awarded to the athlete who best exemplifies academic standing, community service and athletics.

Coach Birmingham on Miller
"Miller was the number one pitcher for an elite team in British Columbia. Miller will be a freshman pitcher out of the bullpen and will have a good chance at being a starter by the end of the year. His upside is huge."

Jacob Nelson • RHP/3B • 6-2/170 • Fr.-HS • Lakewood, Colo. • Wheatridge HS
Four-year letterwinner under head coach Adam Miller ... was named Jeffco all-conference all four years of high school ... also lettered in basketball ... played club ball for the Colorado Slammers.

Coach Birmingham on Nelson
"Nelson is an all-state pitcher out of Colorado. He is a dual threat because he was also a top infielder in Colorado. He can also swing the bat with a lot of power. Nelson could be a two-way guy for us.

Coach Birmingham has would also like to welcome 12 newcomers with big expectations.

Alex Allbritton • INF • 6-2/180 • Fr.-HS • Aurora, Colo. • Grandview HS
Four-year letterwinner under head coach Dean Adams ... was named All-Centennial League three times in his career ... earned four academic letters ... club teammate with current Lobo Jacob Nelson on the Colorado Slammers.

Coach Birmingham on Allbritton
"Allbritton is probably the best shortstop in the southwest. He has the best set of hands I've seen on a kid in a long time."

Eric Baalman • RHP • 6-0/190 • So.-TR • Littleton, Colo. • New Mexico JC
Played the last season at New Mexico JC ... lettered in baseball and basketball at Dakota Ridge HS ... went 11-1 with a 1.39 ERA.

Coach Birmingham on Baalman
"Is trying to regain the spark that made him one of the top pitchers in Colorado and I think he is getting there."

Devon Conley • OF • 6-0-155 • Fr.-HS • Rio Rancho N.M. • Rio Rancho HS
Four-year letterwinner for head coach Ron Murphy ... named first team all-state, first-team all-district, first-team all-metro all in 2009 ... named Mr. Baseball 2009 for 5A ... named to the North team in the North/South All-Star game.

Coach Birmingham on Conley
"Devon is a tremendous athlete. He is a big time athlete and a winner. He is going to be a great Lobo by the time it's all said and done."

Mitchell Garver • C • 6-1/195 • Fr.-HS • Albuquerque, N.M. • La Cueva HS
Four-year letterwinner for head coach Stan McKeever ... named first team all-state and first team all-district from 2008-09 ... earned honorable mention All-American in as a senior ... named APS and La Cueva Male athlete of the year in 2009 ... first team all metro in 2009 ... member of the Albuquerque Baseball Academy.

Coach Birmingham on Garver
"Mitchell Garver is probably one of the best catchers to come out of New Mexico in a long, long time."

Kenny Held • OF • 6-2/215 • Jr.-TR • Tucson, Ariz. • Central Arizona JC
Received his Associates degree in exercise science from Central Arizona JC ... letterwinner for Toni Gabasi at Mountain View HS in Tucson, Ariz. ... was the 2007 5A Arizona Player of the Year ... played in the Arizona high school All-Star game as a senior ... earned first team all-state and all-city honors in both his senior and junior years ... earned academic all-state honors his junior and senior years ... played for the Arizona Sunbelt in high school and the Mankato Moon Dogs in 2009.

Coach Birmingham on Held
"Kenny Held has the chance to be the best hitter in the United States. He is that good. Kenny has the ability to replace Brian Cavazos-Galvez and not miss a beat. He can really hit and we have taught him a lot in the last month."

Trey Horn • INF • 6-0/205 • Jr.-TR • Burkburnett, Texas, Hill JC
Letterwinner for head coach Mike Leach at Burkburnett HS ... also lettered in football ... named first team all-district ... earned academic all-state honors ... played for Burkburnett Blacksox, Union City Greyhounds and Ozark Generals club teams.

Coach Birmingham on Horn
"Trey is a great kid out of Hill JC and is a very hard worker."

Jerome Montoya-Maston • RHP • 6-4/230 • Farmington, N.M. • Eastern Arizona College
Letterwinner for head coach Don Lorret and was part of the four-time 4A state champion Farmington HS baseball team ... named first team all-state and all-district as a pitcher ... part of the Four Corners Thunder club team who went to the Connie Mack World Series.

Coach Birmingham on Montoya Maston
"Jerome is a 94 mph arm. He can touch 95-96 and could be the guy to replace Cole White. Jerome has every bit of potential that Cole White had."

Thomas Malone • RHP • 6-4/215 • Fr.-HS • Katy, Texas • Cinco Ranch HS
Letterwinner for head coach Kevin Hilderbrand ... was a National Merit Semifinalist ... played for the Katy Collegians who won the NBC Gulf Coast Championship.

Coach Birmingham on Malone
"Malone is one of the smartest baseball players I've ever coached. He had an ACT score that would rival Albert Einstein. He's got a chance to be very special for the Lobos. He's a raw athlete with a lot of work ethic."

Gerardo Sanchez • RHP • 6-0/175 • So.-TR • Las Cruces, N.M. • New Mexico JC
Earned all-conference and all-region honors for New Mexico JC ... lettered for head coach Miguel Gomez at Mayfield HS in Las Cruces, N.M. ... earned all-state and all-district honors ... was named New Mexico Player of the Year in 2006.

Coach Birmingham on Sanchez
"Sanchez reminds me of Brian Flores when I had him at New Mexico JC. Flores ended up taking Arizona State to Omaha. I think Gerardo has that type of ability."

Orrin Sears • C • 6-3/205 • Fr.-HS • Albuquerque, N.M. • El Dorado HS
Four-year letterwinner for head coach Jim Johns ... named second team all-state ... also lettered in football where he was a first-team all-state ... named Athlete of the Year at El Dorado HS ... played for Post 49 American Legion team as well as the Albuquerque Heat.

Coach Birmingham on Sears
"Orrin Sears has a lot of potential in a lot of areas besides catching. He has thrown 91 mph on the mound and he could be an outstanding outfielder. He is great athlete and he is a winner."

Cody Voelker • INF • 6-2/190 • Fr.-HS • Albuquerque, N.M. • La Cueva HS
Four-year letterwinner for head coach Stan McKeever ... named first team all-state 2008-09 ... earned honorable mention All-American in 2009 ... was named American Legion State MVP ... played for the Post 49 American Legion state championship team.

Coach Birmingham on Voelker
"Cody Voelker is probably one of the better hitters in New Mexico in the past two or three years. I'm excited about him."

Alex Wehner • RHP • 6-2/185 • Fr.-HS • Rio Rancho, N.M. • Rio Rancho HS
Lettered for head coach Ron Murphy ... part of the 2009 state championship team ... named first team all-state and all-district 2008-09 ... named Louisville Slugger Player of the Year for New Mexico in 2009 ... named ABCA first team all-region ... has the Rio Rancho HS school record for career wins with 24 ... carried a varsity record of 24-1 ... was the No. 1 ranked pitcher in New Mexico ... a member of the North All-Star team in the North/South All-Star game ... played for the Albuquerque Baseball Academy club team ...

Coach Birmingham on Wehner
"Wehner is a winner. He pitched for the state champions and took them to a state title. He's got a great body and great work ethic and a chance to be very special."

This group of incoming freshmen and transfers join the signing class of fall '08.

Zack Cleveland • RHP • 6-1/180 • Jr.-TR • Golden, Colo. • Central Arizona JC

Coach Birmingham on Cleveland
"We are very fortunate to get Zack Cleveland. He is another guy that touches 95 mph. He is very good."

Richard Olson • RHP • 5-10/170 • Jr.-TR • Baulkham Hills, Australia • Clarendon JC

Coach Birmingham on Olson
"Olson is a fierce competitor. He's a bulldog that throws 90-91 mph with a great hammer."

Austin Terhune • LHP • 6-0/190 • Jr.-TR • Perryton, Texas • Sweard County CC

"Austin Terhune is a left hander with a change up. He is very special a very special pitcher."

Brett Doe • INF • 5-11/170 • Fr.-HS • Mesquite, Texas • Poteet HS

Coach Birmingham on Doe
"Brett comes from a family of winners. The Doe family is probably one of the most competitive baseball families in all of Texas. Brett throws about 93 mph across the infield."

Steven Florez • 6-1/185 • Fr.-HS • Mesilla, N.M. • Las Cruces HS

Coach Birmingham on Florez
"Steven Florez is another low 90's freshman who is probably going to be a Friday night guy before it's all said and done. I'm excited about him. Steve has every tool to be big time special here."

Austin House • RHP • 6-4/175 • Fr.-HS • Albuquerque, N.M. • La Cueva HS

Coach Birmingham on House
"House was drafted by the Red Sox. He's 91-92 on the mound. He is real special. He could be a weekend starter before it is all said and done."

Bobby Mares • RHP • 6-0/195 • Fr.-HS • El Paso, Texas • Socorro HS

Coach Birmingham on Mares
"Bobby Mares is a winner and has a great arm. He took Socorro high school to the state championship and won. He is unbelievable. Socorro had never won a state championship and Bobby is the one who drove the car there."

John Twitchell • OF • 6-2/195 • Fr.-HS • Sunnyvale, Texas • Bishop Lynch HS

Coach Birmingham on Twitchell
"John Twitchell is one of the best power hitters in the Dallas Metro Plex area. He has a big upside. He was recommended by a former big leaguer. He has shown me every bit of the potential to be outstanding."