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Baseball Opens MWC Action With Utah This Weekend At Isotopes Park
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/17/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 17, 2004

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Utah Utes at New Mexico Lobos

ALL GAMES AT ISOTOPES PARK (11,124) * ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:
Friday, March 19 * 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 20 * 1 p.m..
Sunday, March 21 * 12 p.m.

MEDIA COVERAGE:

RADIO: All games broadcast on KDEF 1150 AM and www.GoLobos.com with Henry Tafoya and Dan Rivera calling the action.

LIVE STATS: Live stats available at www.GoLobos.com

Gametracker for Friday's Game

Gametracker for Saturday's Game

Gametracker for Sunday's Game

TICKETS: Individual game tickets will be on sale prior to each game (Adults - $6; Seniors - $4; Youth - $3).

For more information, call 925-LOBO or check www.GoLobos.com

PROJECTED PITCHING ROTATION:

Friday:

UTAH: #15 LH So. Jason Price (1-2, 3.63 ERA, 30 K, 34.2 IP) vs.

UNM: #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (0-3, 4.56 ERA, 14 K, 23.2 IP)

Saturday:

UTAH: #32 RH Jr. Doug Mackay (1-4, 8.20 ERA, 29 K, 26.1 IP) vs.

UNM: TBA

Sunday:

UTAH: TBA vs.

UNM: #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (2-2, 4.15 ERA, 21 K, 26.0 IP)

STORYLINE: The conference season opens this weekend (March 19-21) for the Mountain West Conference as all six teams will be in league action. The Lobos start things off with Utah, who enters the weekend with a 4-11 non-conference mark. UNM (3-12-1) is looking for a new season during MWC play after a brutal non-conference schedule that was rated the 12th-toughest in the nation. New Mexico will be riding the momentum of its 4-1 victory over Texas Tech earlier this week as it begins conference action with the Utes. For more information on Utah, please refer to page 10 in the notes.

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All Lobo games this weekend can be heard on KDEF 1150 AM or on www.GoLobos.com. Live stats are also available at www.GoLobos.com.
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The series opens Friday, with the first pitch set for 6 p.m. Saturday's game will begin at 1 p.m. and Sunday's game will start at 12 p.m.

ON DECK: The Lobos travel to Las Cruces to face intrastate rival New Mexico State (16-4) on Tuesday, March 23. The Aggies and Lobos will meet again in Albuquerque March 30.

LAST TIME OUT - LOBOS SHUT DOWN TEXAS TECH: The New Mexico baseball team scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally past Texas Tech, 4-1, Tuesday night (March 16) at Isotopes Park. Junior right-hander Cooper Eddy (2-2) won his second consecutive start by only allowing four hits and one run in seven innings of work, while striking out five.

Eddy and Texas Tech starter Michael McGowan had an excellent pitcher's duel in the beginning stages of the game. McGowan, who had a no-hitter through four innings, was taken out in the fifth with Lobo runners on second and third, but reliever Juan Razo got out of the jam on a groundout.

Eddy surrendered his first run on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, giving the Red Raiders (13-6) a slim 1-0 lead.

Sean Murray collected two doubles in Tuesday night's win over Texas Tech.


The Lobo bats came alive in the bottom of the inning, however, scoring three runs on four hits. With runners on first and third, leadoff hitter Matt Young drilled a triple to the gap in left-center field, scoring Jay Russell and Ryan Barba for the 2-1 Lobo lead. Garrick Haymore brought in Young with a single to left for the 3-1 advantage.

The Lobo bullpen then came on to close the game for Eddy. Jason Fernandez pitched a perfect eighth and Joe Salas closed the ninth for his first save of the season.

Barrett Pliler (0-1) took the loss for Texas Tech after giving up two runs on three hits in the seventh.

New Mexico added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on a Russell double that plated Sean Murray. Murray went 2-for-4 in the game with two doubles.

The Lobos (3-12-1), who entered the week playing the nation's 12th-toughest schedule, played an excellent defensive game, highlighted by several diving catches and no errors. The pitching staff also did their part, limiting the powerful Red Raider offense to one run and four hits. Texas Tech, who had an RPI of 20, entered the game averaging 11.5 runs per game and 12.4 hits per game.

DON'T LEAVE FOR THE BALLPARK WITHOUT THEM - CAN'T MISS NOTES:

* New Mexico leads the all-time series vs. Utah, 58-33. The Lobos defeated the Utes five out of six times last season.

* Fourteen of the Lobos' first 16 games have come against teams with a winning record, and eight of those games were against teams either ranked in the Top 25 or receiving votes in the national polls. Texas A&M moved up three spots this week to No. 9, while Nebraska is ranked 25th. Arkansas and Texas Tech were receiving votes. UNM's schedule is currently rated the 12th toughest in the nation.

*The Lobos won their first game in their new facility, Isotopes Park, with a 6-3 win over UCSB March 7. UNM has won two straight at home and is 2-6-1 all-time at Isotopes Park.

GET OUT THOSE BINOCULARS - LOBOS TO WATCH:

* Junior centerfielder and leadoff hitter Matt Young is the team's offensive spark. He leads the team with 16 runs and is also batting .311 with a .377 on-base percentage. His two-run triple in the seventh put the Lobos ahead for good in their win over Texas Tech on Tuesday. Young's four triples this season already establishes a new career high.

* Junior right-hander Cooper Eddy is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 12 strikeouts in his last two starts (16.0 innings). Eddy tossed seven innings and only allowed one run in his last outing, a 4-1 win over Texas Tech.

* Junior left fielder Garrick Haymore leads the team with a .411 on-base percentage and is batting .283 with six RBI. He knocked in a crucial run in the seventh inning in UNM's win over Texas Tech, giving the Lobos a 3-1 lead.

PACK THE PARK NIGHT SET FOR MARCH 27: The New Mexico baseball program is looking to "Pack the Park" on March 27 vs. the San Diego State Aztecs, beginning at 6 p.m. All tickets for the event are only $2, and there will be a fireworks extravangza after the game.

The Lobos are looking to "Pack the Park" on Saturday, March 27 vs. San Diego State, beginning at 6 p.m.


The Lobos are looking to break the all-time attendance mark for the program, which is currently 5,430, set on April 28, 2003, vs. Air Force. UNM is hoping the lure of the Aztecs will help them in its quest - earlier this season, SDSU set an NCAA baseball record with 40,106 fans attending the March 11 game against Houston in the city's brand new PETCO Park.

AROUND THE HORN...

OFFENSIVELY: The Lobos, traditionally a powerful offense force, are struggling at the plate in their first 16 games. UNM is batting .259 as a team and only hit .178 with 16 hits at TCU. New Mexico is getting outscored at a pace of 114-65, and the 65 runs are last in the MWC. The Lobos did collect eight hits and four runs in Tuesday night's win over Texas Tech.

DEFENSIVELY: The Lobos have commited 24 errors for a .961 fielding percentage (opponents - 17 E, .973 pct.), but are improving in the field every game. Tuesday's win over Texas Tech was a fielding clinic, highlighted by several diving stops and catches that propelled the Lobos to victory. Second baseman Ryan Barba is tied for third in the MWC with 15 double plays turned and ninth with 40 assists, and shortstop Josh Mader is seventh in assists with 43.

PITCHING: Opponents are batting .295 against UNM pitching and have scored 114 runs - although 25 of them are unearned. UNM's staff ERA is 5.72 (fourth in the MWC) compared to opponents' 3.55. The staggering difference is the walk-to-strikeout ratio (UNM - 93 K, 81 BB; Opponents - 101 K, 34 BB). The starter's ERA is 4.77 compared to the bullpen's 7.36. In Tuesday's win, Lobo pitching limited the powerful Texas Tech offense (averaging 11.5 runs per game and 12.4 hits per game) to one run and four hits.

LOBOS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: While it's a little early in the season to be looking at strength ratings, it's always nice to know where a team stacks up nationally.

The Lobos are ranked 137th in the nation in the Boyd's World College Baseball ISR rankings and 183rd nationally in the Boyd's World College Baseball Pseudo-RPI rankings released March 14. The ISR (Iterative Strength Rating) measures the quality of a team's season to date by combining their winning percentage with the difficulty of their schedule. The Ratings Power Index (RPI) is the official NCAA formula designed to aid the selection committee for each sport in choosing the tournament field. It is based on a combination of a team's winning percentage, their opponents' winning percentage, and their opponents' opponents' winning percentage, with bonuses and penalties involved for road wins against top teams or home losses to lower-ranked teams.

According to Boyd's World, the Lobos also have played the 12th-toughest schedule in the nation. Lobo opponents have a combined 155-122 (.560) record and the non-conference opponents are an impressive 115-58 (.665) thus far.

The Mountain West Conference is currently ranked 22nd in the nation out of 31 leagues. UNLV is the highest rated team in the MWC with a Pseudo-RPI of 134.

PLAYER NOTES -

A GLANCE AT THE LOBO STARTING PITCHERS: Two of the three Lobo starting pitchers for this weekend have been decided. Freshman Danny Ray Herrera is still looking for his first collegiate win and will make his fifth collegiate start on Friday. Saturday's starter is still undetermined, but could likely be either Jason Fernandez or Petr Pacas, both right-handers. Cooper Eddy, fresh off his win against Texas Tech, will pitch in Sunday's finale.

GM. 1 - Friday - 6 p.m. - Fr. LH #2 Danny Ray Herrera (0-3, 4.56 ERA)

* Lefty has been impressive in his first four starts against top-notch competition (Nebraska, Texas A&M and UC Santa Barbara, TCU)

* Keeps hitters off balance with off-speed pitches, including an excellent changeup

* In front of over 7,000 fans at Olsen Field against host Texas A&M on Feb. 27, he threw seven innings, struck out five, and didn't allow an earned run (two unearned) in a tough loss

*Tenth in the MWC in opposing batting average (.283).

GM. 2 - Saturday - 1 p.m. - TBA

GM. 3 - Sunday - 12 p.m. - Jr. LH #20 Cooper Eddy (2-2, 4.15 ERA)

* Powerful pitcher who throws in the low 90's * Transfer from Tennessee Tech; threw his first year at Iowa Western Community College

* Leads team in strikeouts with 21 in 26.0 innings of work

*2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 12 strikeouts in his last two starts

* Lost his first two starts against Kent State (Feb. 20) and Arkansas (Feb. 29)

* Pitched six strong innings vs. Arkansas, giving up three runs on eight hits and six strikeouts

* Earned Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors after firing a seven-hit complete game in win over UC Santa Barbara on March 7; he struck out seven and only walked one

* Threw seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball in win over Texas Tech (3/16)

PUT ME IN COACH - YOUNG IN CENTER FIELD: Junior Matt Young is the starting center fielder this season for the Lobos after two years in left. Young, the team's leadoff hitter, is the offensive leader in hits (19) and runs (16), and has already has established a new career high with four triples.

Young was named the Mountain West Player of the Week Feb. 23 after an impressive opening weekend at the Baseball Fiesta Tournament in which he went 6-for-11 with two triples, four RBI and six runs. Young was also named to the Aggie Classic All-Tournament Team.

A dynamic defensive player, Young has a perfect fielding percentage and has made some spectacular plays in center field season. The Murphy, Texas, native put together a .466 on-base percentage and led the MWC in walks (54) in 2003 while batting .320.

Matt Young has already established a new career high with four triples this season.


MADER RETURNS TO NATURAL POSITION: After playing two years at third base, junior Josh Mader finally returns to his natural position at shortstop this season following the departure of All-American Dusty Young. Mader, a 2003 first-team All-MWC selection, polished his game over the summer playing shortstop in the Alaskan Summer League. A lifetime .362 batter, Mader is batting .293 with five RBI this season.

BARBA SOLID AT SECOND: Sophomore second baseman Ryan Barba leads the team with 10 RBI after his career-tying five RBI performance in UNM's 6-3 win over UCSB on March 7. Barba hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, breaking a 2-2 tie to propel the Lobos to victory.

Barba is second on the team in runs (ninth) and fourth in hits (15). He earned all-tournament honors at the Aggie Classic with a .368 average in the six games. A native of Van Nuys, Calif., Barba earned the starting spot at second at the end of his freshman season with his strong bat (.366 BA).

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. He picked his first save of the season and seventh of his career (tied for fifth in the Lobo record books) March 16 against Texas Tech.

FERNANDEZ LOOKING FOR CONSISTENCY ON THE MOUND: Right-hander Jason Fernandez is 1-2 on the mound this season, but has looked very impressive at times.

The junior was named the MWC Pitcher of the Week March 1 after firing a six-hit complete game in UNM's 3-1 win over Arkansas Feb. 27. Fernadez limited the Razorbacks, who were previously undefeated and ranked No. 28 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll, to one run and only eight base runners. However, in his latest start vs. UCSB, he took the loss after giving up eight runs and 10 hits in 4.2 innings of work. In his last outing, Fernandez tossed one scoreless inning of relief at TCU on March 14.

HOT BAT AT THE HOT CORNER: Freshman Daniel Stovall is tied for second on the team in batting (.311) and is second in slugging percentage (.511). He plays both first and third base for the Lobos.

Stovall hit his first career homer Feb. 28 vs. Arkansas and followed it with another shot the same day against Texas A&M. The powerful hitter also blasted two doubles in his first collegiate start vs. No. 23 Nebraska.

SPIT THIS: Sophomore catcher A.J. Spitaleri leads the team in hitting with a .344 average and is second with a .389 on-base percentage. A.J. is batting .438 (7-for-16) in his last seven games, and was on fire at the plate in the UCSB series, collecting five hits in seven at-bats (.714) with three runs and an RBI.

Hay...MORE PRODUCTION IN LEFT FIELD: Junior left fielder Garrick Haymore is providing the Lobos with a steady bat in the No. 2 hole in the lineup. Haymore, who is batting .364 (8-for-22) in his last seven games, leads the team with a .411 on-base percentage. Overall, he is hitting .283 with six RBI, including a crucial run-scoring single in the Lobos' win over Texas Tech.

EDDY SHOWING POTENTIAL ON THE MOUND: Junior right-hander Cooper Eddy has showed why he was the projected number one starter at the beginning of the season in his last two outings, as he is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. The transfer from Tennessee Tech leads the team with 21 strikeouts and 26 innings pitched.

In his last effort, Eddy (2-2) limited a powerful Texas Tech offense to one run on four hits in seven innings of work. In his first win of the season against UCSB, Eddy fanned seven Gauchos and only allowed one walk in a seven-hit complete-game effort to earn Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors March 8.

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

Out of the Lobos 16 games this season, six of the starting pitchers' last names for the opposing team have begun with "M", the most of any letter. The Lobos are only 1-5 in those games, but they did beat Michael McGowan of Texas Tech on Tuesday. The Lobos will face Utah's Doug MacKay in Saturday's game.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - UTAH (4-11)

Utah enters the week with a 4-11 record after getting swept by Pacific last weekend. The Utes four wins have come against Southern Utah (twice), Central Florida and Central Michigan. Like UNM, Utah has also played a tough schedule, playing four games against ranked teams (three vs. No. 13 Tulane, one vs. No. 7 Arizona State).

As a team, Utah is batting .265 with 15 homers and 71 runs. Junior catcher Trevor Eastman leads the team with a .368 average and .455 on-base percentage.

The pitching staff is struggling with a 6.32 ERA. Friday's starter, Jason Price, is 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA, while Saturday's starter, Doug Mackay, is 1-4 with an 8.20 ERA.

HEAD COACH: Tim Esmay. Overall record: 195-210-1 (8th year). Record at Utah: Same.

SERIES NOTES:

* New Mexico leads, 58-33. The Lobos took five of six games against the Utes in 2003 and have won four in a row over Utah.

* Last meeting: UNM 12, Utah 11 (2003)

* Last Utah win: Utah 11, UNM 8 (2003)

* Coach Alday vs. Utah: 44-23 (Home: 26-9; Away: 17-12; Neutral: 1-2)

LOBOS VS. UTAH: Historically, Matt Young has been the top Lobo vs. Ute pitching in recent years, racking up a .468 batting average (22-for-47) with 20 runs in his 13 games against Utah. In fact, several Lobos have impressive numbers vs. Utah. Josh Mader is batting .373 with 13 RBI in 13 games and Joe Salas is hitting .333 with two homers and 14 RBI in 19 games.

Monday, April 21
2:00 PM - 
Baseball
vs. Texas Tech
Friday, April 25
7:05 PM - 
Baseball
at UNLV
Saturday, April 26
2:05 PM - 
Baseball
at UNLV
Sunday, April 27
2:05 PM - 
Baseball
at UNLV
Friday, May 02
6:00 PM - 
Baseball
vs. San Diego St.
Saturday, May 03
2:00 PM - 
Baseball
vs. San Diego St.
Sunday, May 04
1:00 PM - 
Baseball
vs. San Diego St.
Monday, May 05
1:00 PM - 
Baseball
vs. Utah Valley
Friday, May 09
7:00 PM - 
Baseball
at Nevada
Saturday, May 10
7:00 PM - 
Baseball
at Nevada
Sunday, May 11
2:00 PM - 
Baseball
at Nevada
Thursday, May 15
6:00 PM - 
Baseball
vs. Air Force
Friday, May 16
6:00 PM - 
Baseball
vs. Air Force
Saturday, May 17
1:00 PM - 
Baseball
vs. Air Force
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