Baseball Blog: Lobos at the 2010 NCAA Tournament
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  06/03/2010

June 3, 2010

Lobos vs. Stanford Photo Gallery
Lobos at the 2010 NCAA Baseball Tournament Photo Gallery

Assistant director of media relations Judy Willson will provide updates each day from Fullerton, Calif. as the Lobos battle in the 2010 NCAA Regional Tournament

Sunday, June 6 - Bottom of 9

Let's see if we have one more miracle in us.

Cam gets on with a single to right field. That's a good sign after getting hit by a pitch in his last at-bat.

Mitchell Garver is pinch hitting. Another glimpse at the future of Lobo baseball. A walk for Mitchell.

Now pinch hitting for Honeycutt, John Michael Twichell. Puts the ball down the right field line for an out, but moves Cam and Mitchell to second and third. Lobos in scoring position is always a good sign.

Chris flies out to right field. And Jake is at the plate. Called third strike.

Game and season over for the Lobos.

Check out GoLobos.com for a game recap and other stories over the coming weeks.

Sunday, June 6 - Middle of 8

Alex Allbritton and Jacob Nelson just turned a great 5-3 double play. Jake was the first batter in the bottom of the 8th and hit a solid home run over the right field netting, 11-3.

Max Willett followed that with a stand-up double to left center and Fullerton head coach Dave Serrano has seen enough. That will be it for the Titan starting pitcher Daniel Renken.

So far the Titan reliever is dealing ... strikeout, ground out and finally a strikeout.

On to the ninth.

Sunday, June 6 - Middle of 7 Edwin Carl is on the mound now for the Lobos. We'll see if he can slow the Titan bats down.

An uncharacteristic error by Daniel Gonzalez put another Titan runner on, but Rafael Neda guns the runner down on an attempted steal.

Eddie gets two more out to hold off CSF.

C'mon, bats!

Sunday, June 6 - Middle of 6

The Lobos need to get on track if they want to keep playing today. Kenny Toves allowed one more run in the sixth, 11-2.

Jacob Nelson is playing first base for the injured Justin Howard. Justin is in the dugout with a knee brace on for precautionary measures. The x-rays from last night were negative and he will be evaluated when the Lobos return to Albuquerque. So unfortunately, he is done for the weekend.

Sunday, June 6 - Middle of 5

Fullerton picked up three more runs in the fifth to go ahead 10-2. Scary moment when a Titan collided with Rafael Neda on a play at the plate. Neda went down, the ball came loose and the Lobos weren't quite sure what to do.

Neda got back up, made a few throws and got back into the game.

Now the bats need to get going.

Sunday, June 6 - Middle of 4

Okay here's the deal. Lobos must win both games today to get a shot at one more game on Monday. The winner advances to the Super Regionals next week.

Mike Lachapelle started the game for UNM. Fullerton built a 5-0 lead in the first two innings before New Mexico got on the board.

In the bottom of the second the Lobos put up two runs to cut the Fullerton lead to 5-2. With two outs, Chris Juarez scored on a single by Daniel Gonzalez and Max Willett scored the next batter later on an Adam Courcha single to center.

The Titans chased Lachapelle in the third with a 6-2 lead and added another off reliever Kenny Tovers to take it to 7-2.

Toves got out of a jam in the top of the fourth and the Lobos are up to bat.

Saturday, June 5 - Bottom of the 10th

Daniel Gonzalez at the plate ... down on strikes.

Jacob Nelson is pinch hitting for Adam Courcha ... called third strike.

It is up to Kenny Held to get something going ... strike out.

Lobos will play Cal State Fullerton in an elimination game at 5 p.m. MT on Sunday, June 6.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 5 - Top of the 10th

Back-to-back singles by Minnesota to start the inning.

Base hit scores the lead runner, runners on the corners no outs, 5-4 Minnesota.

Another base hit, 6-4 Minnesota.

Finally an out on a fielder's choice, but an error on the throw to first.

In comes Austin House. Hopefully he can work some of that magic from his first appearance against Texas in February. Lobos won that game 6-5.

After starting the game with a predominantly senior line-up, it has been up to the youngsters to come through late in the game.

Chopper to Courcha at second, second out.

Down on strikes, third out.

Let's see what the Lobos can do.

Saturday, June 5 - Bottom of the 9th

Max Willett strikes out.

Cameron Smith strikes out looking.

Alex Allbritton strikes out.

The second pitchers' duel of the game is on! We're going extra!

C'mon, Gabe!

Saturday, June 5 - Top of the 9th inning

And here comes Gabe Aguilar to start the ninth inning.

Strikes out the first batter.

Ground ball to Adam Courcha for the 4-3 out.

Struck out the third batter on a check swing.

Time for the Lobo bats to work some magic!

Saturday, June 5 - end of the 8

What a great pitchers' duel between Rudy Jaramillo and TJ Oakes.

Rudy started the 8th but gave way to Richard Olson after putting two runners on base with no outs.

Olson balked in a run to tie the game, 4-4.

In came Gabe Aguilar.

Strikes out the first batter.

Then gets a double play ball ... Gonzalez to Courcha to a stretched-out Twichell to end the inning.

Oakes is done for the day. Scott Matyas on the mound for Minnesota.

Twichell gets a walk to start the inning and Ben Woodchick comes in to pinch run.

Two outs later, Chris Juarez is up ... and strikes out to end the inning.

All tied up at 4. Kenneth Held coming in to play first.

Saturday, June 5 - end of 7

Lobos take the lead back on a Daniel Gonzalez double that scores Alex Allbritton from first.

New Mexico 4, Minnesota 3

Saturday, June 5 - middle of 7

Minnesota got a run on the board to tie the game. Rudy settled down and got out of the inning.

Saturday, June 5 - end of 6

Rudy got out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the inning, but UNM went down 1-2-3 in the bottom.

Saturday, June 5 - bottom of the 5th inning

My apologies to those who have been following this blog. Have been dealing with media relations responsibilities.

Of course the big news so far is the injury to Justin Howard in the first inning on a play at the plate. It is a left knee injury and he is being examined back in the training room.

Justin had just recorded his nation-leading 119th hit of the season.

So after five, it is Lobos 3, Gophers 2.

Saturday, June 5 - 7:30 p.m.

Hi Lobo fans! Well, we are just 30 minutes away from Round Two of the Fullerton Regional. In the early game, our host, Cal State Fullerton, sent the Stanford Cardinal home with a 6-5 win. So the Titans advance to Sunday's 5 p.m. elimination game against the loser of tonight's match-up between your Lobos and Minnesota. The winner of tonight's game moves to the regional championship game at 9 p.m. on Sunday night to face the winner of the 5 p.m. game.

The sun is almost down and it is cooling down a bit. It is shaping up to be a beautiful night for a ball game!

Almost time for the national anthem, so find ESPNU on your television and turn your radio dial to 101.7 FM The TEAM for all the action.

Saturday, June 5 - 10:30 a.m.

Ahh...the morning after a great win! It was great to see a couple of seniors step up last night as Chris Juarez went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI that scored key runs and Jason Oatman relieved Willy Kesler to earn his first win of the season. Did you know that Jason has only walked one batter this season? None since April 17!

Also, Justin Howard picked up his 118th hit on the evening. That ties him with Jace Brinkerhoff of Utah Valley for the national lead. He should take the lead by himself in today's game.

In case you haven't heard, UNM beat Stanford last night in the NCAA Fullerton Regional, 9-5. Minnesota, the No. 4 seed, followed our win up with a 3-1 win over host Cal State Fullerton. That means we are the only regional site of the 16 that had the No. 3 and 4 seeds advance to the winner's bracket and a No. 1 or 2 seed is headed to the house after tonight's games.

Did you know ... that the 1962 team scored 9 runs in its first win of the NCAA playoffs, beating BYU, 9-2?

Thanks to all of the Lobo fans who have come out to southern California to support the team. Even Lobo volleyball coach Jeff Nelson and his family were at the ballpark last night. The volleyball team ended a 15-year drought between NCAA appearances earlier this season with their own trip to southern California in December. Coach Nelson also joined the UNM staff in 2007.

There are several ways that you can follow the Lobos in their NCAA Tournament adventures:
2. 101.7 FM The TEAM (Albuquerque)
3. The inning-by-inning blog on GoLobos.com
4. Facebook and Twitter updates at the New Mexico Lobos fan page

So pick a way to follow along and we'll see you tonight from Goodwin Field!

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 9th inning Lobos continue to challenge. The Cardinal intentionally walk Chris Juarez who is 3-4 on the day with 3 RBI to load the bases with one out.

Wow! Max Willett gets a bunt down the left field line to score Justin Howard, 8-5. Still just one out. The third baseman jumped over the ball hoping it would roll foul before the bag.

Now two outs with the strikeout of Cameron Smith, Alex Allbritton gets hit on the noggin and Rafael Neda walks in to home plate, 9-5. Ouch! Tough way to get a run across but the super freshman third baseman walks it off.

Cardinal get the third out and we head into the bottom of the ninth, up 9-5.

Okay, Jason. One more inning, let's see finish this up!

Ground out to Daniel Gonzalez, one out...

Fly ball to Chris Juarez, two outs...

Kenny Diekroger is up and he has been a tough out all day. Lots of Lobo fans up on their feet clapping. Another ground out by Daniel Gonzalez!

Game Over!! Lobos win! Lobos win!

Up next the winner of Minnesota/Cal State Fullerton at 9 p.m. MT on Saturday, June 5 on ESPNU and 101.7 The TEAM.

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 8th inning

Alex Allbritton tried to get things going for the Lobos in the eighth, but UNM couldn't get any more runs around the bases.

Jason Oatman came back out on the mound, got a pop up and a strikeout before Stanford got a runner. Cameron Smith collected the third out of the inning in left field.

Lobos 7, Stanford 5 ... on to the 9th inning!

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 7th inning

Lobos get into scoring position with runners at first and third and one out when Stanford makes a pitching change to Danny Sandbrink.

Willy Kesler and Jordan Pries had a great duel. Now it is time for the bullpens to finish this out.

Adam Courcha gets a sacrifice fly to score Cameron Smith and tie the game at 4 with Daniel Gonzalez still on first for the potential go-ahead run. After the Stanford reliever walks Justin Howard and Rafael Neda, it is time for another Cardinal reliever, this time a lefty, Scott Snodgrass.

Minnesota and our host, Cal State Fullerton, are in the house. You can hear the ping of their bats in the big barn of hitting cages down the right field line.

Ryan Honeycutt gets a walk off of Snodgrass to score Daniel, 5-4, and keep the bases loaded for the Lobos. And they will see the fourth Stanford pitcher of the inning in Brian Busick.

Devon Conley is making an appearance as a pinch runner for Ryan. And here comes Chris Juarez with his third hit of the game to score Justin and Rafael to build the Lobo lead to 7-4.

Cardinal get Max Willett out to get to their half of the inning.

With one out, the Cardinal got a run across the plate, 7-5, before Max Willett recorded the second out in center field. And makes back-to-back outs in center to stop the Stanford threat.

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 6th inning

After a little infield maintenance, the sixth inning got underway.

After two not so solid at-bats, Ryan Honeycutt showed some patience and got on base with a walk and moved along by Chris Juarez' second hit of the game. Looked like Max Willett was going to push another run across the plate, but the Stanford center fielder launched his throw to the plate to get Honeycutt out.

Couple of scores across the nation of teams that we played this season...
Arizona beat Baylor, 10-9
Arkansas beat Grambling, 19-7
TCU is up over Lamar, 3-1
and Texas is up against Rider, 6-0

Stanford got runners in scoring position with two outs and Willy had thrown over 100 pitches, so Jason Oatman came in to get the last out.

Jason's last outing was spectacular against TCU with a complete game after throwing the last five outs of the UNLV game, all on May 28.

Still Stanford 4, Lobos 3

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 5th inning

Lobos were three up, three down.

Stanford goes up on a solid base hit to center field, 4-3, with one out. Kesler gets a double play ball to Alex Allbritton to get out of the inning.

Cardinal up 4-3 after 5.

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 4th inning

Now this is the Lobo offense we know and love! Justin Howard picked up his 118th hit of the season and scored on a Chris Juarez double, 3-2. Max Willett got the ball on the ground to get Rafael Neda home and tie the game, 3-3.

Justin is tied with Jace Brinkerhoff of Utah Valley to lead the nation with 118 hits. Utah Valley is not in the NCAA Tournament so Brinkerhoff will not be able to keep pace with Justin.

The Lobo defense and pitcher Willy Kesler are keeping the Cardinal off the bases. Willy has five strikeouts so far.

Still tied 3-3.

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 3rd inning

Three up, three down in the Lobo half.

The Cardinal doesn't get anyone past first base in the inning, so score remains the same, 3-1 Stanford.

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 2nd inning

We have a great group of Lobo fans in the house! They are making some noise in Section E.

For the second inning in a row, the Lobos put someone on base after two outs. Cameron Smith put a nice hit into left field. Unfortunately, he got too far off the bag and was picked off to end the top of the second.

Something to get used to being on television is the extended time between innings. The umpires work with the timeout coordinator located behind the plate to make sure you don't miss any of the action during a commercial break.

It will be interesting to see how many highlight plays Daniel Gonzalez can make at shortstop. We just saw one that could be the first candidate for our own Lobo TV top 10 - over to his right, kept it out of the outfield with the throw just a bit off to first base.

Daniel may not be the only candidate for UNM top plays. Cameron Smith just made a great run from left field to foul territory for an out.

No runs for either team in the inning, still 3-1 Stanford.

Friday, June 4 - vs. Stanford, 1st inning

After getting Adam Courcha and Justin Howard out to start the game, Rafael Neda launched a ball over the right field wall to put UNM up, 1-0.

Two Stanford home runs sandwiched a Willy Kesler strikeout to put the Cardinal up 3-1 with just one out. A pick off and a ground out got UNM out of the inning.

Friday, June 4 - 4 p.m.

Well, we are 4 minutes away from first pitch. The national anthem has been sung and Stanford has just taken the field.

Hopefully everyone is either watching on ESPNU or listening to Scott and Rick on 101.7 The TEAM.

We have our usual lineup, so Adam Courcha is leading off and we are underway.

Friday, June 4 - 11 a.m.

Game Day! In about three hours we will get to Goodwin Field for batting practice before our NCAA Regional match-up with Stanford.

Today's starter is expected to be senior Willy Kesler. Willy is another Lobo that almost wasn't here for this new page in UNM baseball history.

In 2008, Willy was on track to be one of the best pitchers in Mountain West Conference history and get drafted within the first few rounds that June. But on March 29 an emergency appendectomy sidelined him and just as he was getting ready to get back on the mound an arm injury resulted in Tommy John surgery on May 15.

Willy is a fighter. He worked hard that first summer, pushing his rehab. He would stop by the office every few days to show off how much he could straighten his arm out. He was adamant that he would be ready for the 2009 season. Finally in March 2009, he was cleared to throw in a game. 2009 was rough, not the caliber everyone expected from Willy, especially Willy.

2010 has brought a new fire in Willy. He has his velocity and control back. The Mountain West Conference coaches recognized that and named Willy to the 2010 all-MWC first team last week in San Diego.

Now we are just counting down to first pitch at 4 p.m.

Good luck, Lobos!

Thursday, June 3 - 4 p.m.

It has been a fairly laid back day. Get up eat a great team breakfast. Walk to Target to get the little things you realize you forgot to pack. Then off to Goodwin Field for practice and media interviews.

Our bus driver, Darnell, is a great guy, getting us through the LA traffic. Another great thing, he loves baseball and we get him as our driver for the duration of our time here.

Practice was a great time for the team to get on the field and getting some hitting and fielding in, figure out where the bounces are on the infield. The pitchers got their work in as well. Daniel was able to get interviews with Justin Howard and Rafael Neda to post on GoLobos.com talking about being in Fullerton and being named Louisville Slugger All-Americans today. So check those out on Lobo TV.

After practice Justin and Rafael had a 15-minute session with the ESPNU producer, cutting promos for the broadcast and answering some questions that will be used throughout the games this weekend. They both did a great job!

While Justin and Rafael were doing that, Coach B was doing a quick video interview for the NCAA and then sat down to visit with the ESPNU announcers Justin Kutcher and Morgan Ensberg. This is the part that takes a while, and not just because we know that Ray loves to talk about his team. It always makes for a stronger production when the announcers take the time to visit with the head coach, and sometimes players, to get an idea of what the program has gone through to get to this point. It adds some flavor to the game. And when announcers haven't seen you all season, it gives them time to follow up on things they have read in the game notes.

So now it is hurry up and wait until we load the bus up at 1:30 on Friday for Game One against Stanford.

By the way, did I mention that we are one of the sites that will have every game televised on ESPNU this weekend? Well, we are. So set up a happy hour or dinner out tomorrow at one of the several great establishments that support UNM and watch your Lobos take their first step on the Road to Omaha.

Everyone's a Lobo!

Wednesday, June 2 - 7 p.m.

We're here! After changing planes in Phoenix, we are at LAX. We've grabbed our bags and loaded the bus.

To all of the parents, family and friends, we'll try to get some pictures of the whole group dressed up in their travel shirts and ties. For as dirty as this team can get their uniforms, they clean up pretty good. Most of the time it seems like the only clothes in their wardrobe is t-shirts and practice shorts.

Time to get some dinner, then prep for practice/media day on Thursday.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 2 - 3 p.m.

Well, the time has finally arrived. All the pats on the back and high-fives are done and it is time to get down to business. The Lobo baseball team is on its way to Los Angeles for the Fullerton Regional of the 2010 NCAA Baseball Tournament. Daniel Archuleta and I will be travelling with the team to pass along a few of the stories of the team's adventures this week.

Of course, the whole trip really begins in the summer of 2007 when UNM convinced Ray Birmingham to move to the northern part of the state and take over the Lobo program. I remember one of the first conversations I had with him after I started working at UNM that August.

"We are going to take this team to Omaha." We've all heard him say it. My initial reaction was a bit skeptical at first, having spent the previous seven years in Louisiana getting a good dose of what it takes to get a team to the College World Series. "Okay, Coach, whatever you say. Let's get this going."

The first two seasons we were right on the edge of getting that elusive at-large bid. It was nerve-wracking. Were we ever going to put everything together at the same time?

That's what makes this year so special. In just three years, here we are sitting at the Albuquerque Sunport, waiting for our flight to Los Angeles. It is great to see senior captains Max Willett and Adam Courcha realizing a dream after five and four years with the program.

Max would not be on this trip if he had stayed healthy in the 2008 season. The Lobo starting center fielder as a junior, Max suffered a broken wrist when he was hit by a pitch on a road trip to Minneapolis, just a few weeks into the season. He earned a medical hardship that year and gained a fifth-year of eligibility. The hard work he put in to get healthy and during the 2009 and 2010 seasons has paid off with UNM's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1962.

Adam came halfway around the world to be a Lobo. The crafty Aussie has been the ultimate utility player for UNM for four years. His commitment to be a Lobo and play wherever he was needed is paying off with a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Time to board ... See you in LA!