April 20, 2006
NEW MEXICO VS. UTAH, THE SERIES: The Lobos and the Utes tried to begin their season series in San Diego at the Mountain West Conference Preseason Tournament. The game was postponed after eight innings due to team travel arrangements. The Utes were leading 11-4 through eight innings. Arnett was 2-for-3 with a run scored while senior Brandon Bingham was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Below are some series notes:
SCOUTING THE UTES: Utah, 19-15 overall and 3-3 in the Mountain West, has split its last six decisions but has won 8 of the last 11. Utah is the second best hitting and fielding team in the conference (behind New Mexico), with a .320 batting average and .970 fielding percentage. They also have the second best ERA at 4.91.
Ryan Khoury has led the Utes all season at the plate. He has a .426 batting average (the best in the MWC) and leads the team in runs (38), hits (58), RBI (32), walks (25) and stolen bases (12-for-14). His 11 doubles and six home runs are the second most on the team, trailing Jay Brossman. Brossman, hitting .380, has scored 30 runs with 54 hits, 12 doubles, seven home runs, 31 RBI and 13 walks.
Josh Cooper and Eric King are the top starters for Utah, both posting a 3-4 record. Cooper holds a 4.01 ERA with a team-high 46 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. King has a 4.32 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 41.2 innings. Brad DeVore is the Utes top reliever, posting a 1.67 ERA and 3-2 record with four saves in 15 appearances. DeVore has struck out 20 and allowed just five runs to score in 27 innings.
IN THE NATION: Once again, the Lobos are one of the best teams in the nation statistically. Through April 16, New Mexico had the 30th best fielding percentage (.970) and they led the nation in double plays turned per game (1.46). The Lobos tied with Hawai`i-Hilo for the most DPs (51). Their win-loss percentage (.657) is tied for 47th.
Offensively, the team continues to shine. They have the 25th best batting average (.322), are sixth in scoring (9.2 rpg), 10th in home runs per game (1.34), 28th in triples (0.40 pg), 21st in doubles (2.26 pg) and eighth in slugging percentage (.517).
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 seventh in RBI (1.46 pg), ninth in home runs (0.4 pg) and 19th in slugging percentage (.754). Junior first baseman/designated hitter Daniel Stovall and left-handed junior pitcher Danny Ray Herrera make the list in two spots. Stovall is third in RBI (1.51 pg) and fourth in doubles (0.51 pg) while Herrera is tied 22nd in wins (7) and 48ths in ERA (1.96). Sophomore second baseman Jordan Pacheco is second in the nation in runs per game (1.49), junior left fielder Jay Russell is 15th in sacrifice hits (0.3 pg) and junior center fielder Matt Foote is 15th in times hit by a pitch (0.43 pg).
ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN: The Lobos are 24-12 overall, which is the best record in the Mountain West Conference to date. TCU has won 22 games, with a winning percentage of .579 and leads the conference standings at 9-1. New Mexico is 6-3 in the MWC, which is the second best.
The Lobos are the top fielding team in the conference with a percentage of .971. They have turned 52 double plays, which is 15 more than any other school in the MWC.
Individually, the Lobos are dominating all the categories. New Mexico has at least three ranked in the top-10 in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBIs, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases and times hit by a pitch. Sophomore Ian Hollick stands out for the Lobos, ranking in the top-10 in batting average (.397, 2nd), slugging percentage (.691, 2nd), on-base percentage (.494, 3rd), runs scored (36, T6th), hits (54, T4th), RBI (43, 3rd), doubles (13, T2nd), triples (3, T2nd), home runs (7, T6th), walks (24, T3rd) and total bases (94, 3rd).
Junior Danny Ray Herrera has etched his name throughout the pitching categories, holding the best ERA (1.96), most innings pitched (87.1), most games started (11) and fewest runs allowed (22) for pitchers who average at least 1 inning per game. Herrera is also in the top-10 in opposing batting average (.220, 2nd), stikeouts (73, T4th), strikeouts looking (19, 4th), wins (7, 2nd), fewest earned runs allowed (19, 3rd), fewest walks allowed (19, 8th), fewest doubles allowed (6, 2nd) and fewest triples allowed (2, T7th).
The fielders are just as strong individually, leading the conference in two of the six categories. First basemen Daniel Stovall and second baseman Jordan Pacheco have turned a league-high 37 double plays. Stovall is third in putouts (287), fourth in chances (298) and tenth in fielding percentage (.993). Junior center fielder Matt Foote holds a perfect fielding percentage to tie for the conference lead. and Senior shortstop Ryan Barba is second in the conference in assists (122) and double plays (36) while Pacheco has dished out 121 assists (third) and is tenth in chances (207). Sophomore catcher Drew McDonald is 10th in putouts (158).
CARLSON NABS NATIONAL AND MWC WEEKLY HONORS: Collegiate Baseball Newspaper announced Monday morning that junior designated hitter/first baseman Chris Carlson was one of its five Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week. This is Carlson's first weekly honor of the season and first weekly national honor of his career.
Later in the day, Carlson was named Mountain West Conference Player and of the Week for the second time in his career.
Carlson, from Topeka, Kan., hit .611 (11-for-18) from the plate with six home runs, three doubles, 14 RBI and 10 runs scored as the Lobos went 3-1 last week, including a three-game sweep of Air Force. He hit at least one home run, and tallied multiple hits, RBI and runs scored, in all four games played last week. Carlson opened the week going 2-for-3, with two home runs two RBI and two runs scored in a 14-7 loss to Texas Tech. In game one vs. Air Force, Carlson went 3-for-4 with a grand slam, a double, five RBI and three runs scored in UNM's 23-11 win. In game two vs. the Falcons, he went 3-for-5 with two more homers, a double, three RBI and three runs scored, and finished the series going 3-for-6 with a home run, a double, four RBI and two runs scored.
CARLSON, HOLLICK GARNER NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: Junior designated hitter Chris Carlson and sophomore third baseman Ian Hollick were named College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll `Players of the Week' for the week of April 18. This is the second national honor for Carlson this week, while Hollick garners his first national recognition of the season.
Carlson, from Topeka, Kan., hit .611 (11-for-18), with six home runs, three doubles, 14 RBI and 10 runs scored, as the Lobos went 3-1 last week, including a three-game sweep of Air Force. He hit at least one home run, and tallied multiple hits, RBI and runs scored, in all four games played last week. Carlson opened the week going 2-for-3, with two home runs two RBI and two runs scored in a 14-7 loss to Texas Tech. In game one vs. Air Force, Carlson went 3-for-4 with a grand slam, a double, five RBI and three runs scored in UNM's, 23-11, win. In game two vs. the Falcons, he went 3-for-5 with two more homers, a double, three RBI and three runs scored, and finished the series going 3-for-6 with a home run, a double, four RBI and two runs scored.
Hollick, a Corona, Calif., native, hit for the cycle in the nightcap of last Thursday's doubleheader with Air Force, leading the Lobos to a 24-3 win. He is just the eighth Lobo to hit for the cycle in New Mexico's history. For the game, Hollick went 4-for-4 and drove in a team-high five runs. He hit a two-run home run to left, putting New Mexico on top 4-1 in the first inning, singled in the third, then tripled after the Lobos batted around. He led off the Lobo half of the seventh with a double to complete the feat. For the week, Hollick hit .688 (11-for-16), with two home runs, three doubles, one triple, 12 RBI and seven runs scored in four games played.
NOT YOUR FATHER'S ARIZONA WILDCATS: There is no doubt that the Arizona Wildcats are in a slump this season. The New Mexico baseball team was not intimidated by the unbeatable legend of the Wildcats. UNM won its first season series with the Arizona, claiming the final game 13-3 Tuesday afternoon at Isotopes Park. The Lobos, winning three of four, haven't won a series since taking two of three in Tucson in 1994.
The Lobos added to Arizona's misery, tapping them for 18 hits, which ties with New Mexico's production on Feb. 19 for the most hits the Wildcats have surrendered all season. Not only that, UA's 10-run margin of deficit is the largest it has succumb to all season.
BOMBS AWAY: The New Mexico offense, sparked by junior Chris Carlson, has been dropping bombs on opponents and the record books lately. Tuesday at Texas Tech, Carlson belted two home runs, combining with his teammates for five in the game. The last time UNM had five homers in a game was April 18, 2004 at Air Force. In the series vs. Air Force, Carlson hit four home runs in three games, including two in game two of the doubleheader Thursday night. In game one, the team hit three and doubled that total in the nightcap with six thanks to two from Carlson and two from senior Ryan Barba, who hit his in consecutive at bats.To close the series on Friday, the Lobos sent five more bombs out of the park. They hit 14 in the series and 19 on the week.
In the sixth inning at Texas Tech, Carlson's second home run came on a 3-2 pitch that he blasted to left. The very next pitch junior Daniel Stovall took yard, making it the first time since May 28, 2004 vs. Utah that the Lobos had back-to-back home runs. Stovall was a part of the previous back-to-back bombs, hitting the first one that was followed by one from A.J. Spitaleri. If that wasn't enough, Carlson and Stovall went back-to-back in game one vs. Air Force.
Carlson has hit at least one home run in each of his last five games and six of his last seven.
RUN WITH THE LOBOS: There is no need to run with the bulls Spain when the Lobos are running plenty in New Mexico. They set a new program record for runs scored in a three-game series, scoring 73 times last weekend. The Lobos increased their run total in each game, scoring 23 in the opener, followed by 24 in game two and 26 in the finale.
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.The Lobos' 52 double plays fielded are more than any other MWC school's production with UNLV's 37 the next closest. Not to mention Stovall and Pacheco are tied for first in the conference for most double plays turned with 37 each. Barba is right on their heels, with 36 of his own.
SENSATIONAL STARTERS: The Lobos have relied heavily on their starting rotation for innings and wins. The starters, 18-7 with a 4.73 ERA, have thrown 226.1 innings with 163 strikeouts. The bullpen, 6-5 with a 6.75 ERA, has tossed 101.1 innings with 59 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 .283 compared to the starters' .328 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 five games, the Lobos pinch-hit 16 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 0-8 when trailing after seven innings and 0-9 after eight innings. On the flip side, they are 11-1 when scoring 10 or more runs and 21-2 when leading after seven innings and 20-1 when leading after eight innings.
The Lobos are 9-9 when an opponent scores first and 6-5 when their opponent scores in the first inning. But, they are 11-4 when they score in the first and 15-3 when they score first. The Lobos are also 17-1 when they out-hit their opponents.
HITTING FOR THE CYCLE: Sophomore third baseman Ian Hollick hit for the cycle in game two of the doubleheader vs. Air Force. Hollick is just the eighth Lobo to hit for the cycle in the program's history. Of the eight, four have come at the Falcon's expense.
FAST FOOTE: Junior Matt Foote has been running all season and shows no signs of slowing down. His 17 stolen bases on 21 tries leads the team and the conference. He has scored 41 runs, which is the second most on the team and in the MWC.
HOT HITTING HOLLICK: Sophomore Ian Hollick has been offensively solid all season. He leads the team in batting average (.397), triples (3), walks (24) and holds the team's longest hitting streak at 14 games. His career-high hit streak started in Arizona on Feb. 18 and didn't end until March 18 vs. San Francisco. During his streak, he accomplished a rare feat vs. 12th-ranked Oregon State, hitting a solo home run off of Dallas Buck, which was just the third off of Buck and the fourth against the team all season. At the MWC Preseason Tournament, he led the team in hitting with a .385 average while the team hit just .189. Hollick scored four of the team's nine runs, hit both of UNM's home runs, had two of the team's nine RBI and five of its 21 hits.
DOUBLIN' DAN: Junior Daniel Stovall has been a double-hitting machine this season, cranking out 18 to lead the Mountain West Conference. Stovall hit two in four different games this season, including each of the games in the series vs. Northern Colorado.
PUTTING PACHECO IN PLAY: Sophomore Jordan Pacheco is one of six Lobos to start and play in all 36 games this season. A constant defensive wizard at second, Pacheco has put out 78 batters, the fourth most on the team, and dished out 121 assists, the second most on the team and in the MWC. When he isn't putting people out, he is putting himself on base. Pacheco is hitting .373, the second best average on the team, has scored a team-high 55 runs and leads the team in hits (57). He has been hit by a pitch 11 times, drawn a 23 walks and has stolen nine bases, the second most of any Lobo.
D-RAY DELIVERS: Junior Danny Ray Herrera has done nothing but deliver win after win for New Mexico. A perfect 7-0 in 11 starts, Herrera holds a 1.96 ERA, the best in the MWC. Herrera has thrown three complete games, including one shutout, leading the conference in innings at 87.1. Herrera has allowed 69 hits, but only 11 were more than singles. He has fanned 73 and walked just 19. Only 19 earned runs have scored with Herrera on the mound.
PUT ME IN COACH, I'M READY TO PLAY: Freshman Chad Itokazu has been ready to play anywhere head coach Rich Alday wants to put him. He's started four games in right field, pinch hit and thrown in relief and against Air Force, saw time at third, second and shortstop, performing well each time. At the plate, he is hitting .211 (4-for-19), has one of the team's 14 triples and has three RBI and six runs scored. On the mound, Itokazu has made 12 appearances for 13.2 innings. He is 1-1 with a 7.90 ERA, walked 10 and struck out 12.
ROLE REVERSAL: Freshman Chace Lankford began the season as UNM's closer but made a recent made the switch to starter. In his first three appearances, Lankford came in to close a game, compiling a 1-1 record with a save. His following three appearances as the Sunday starter resulted in a 3-0 record. Of his following three appearances, one was a start and two were in relief. Overall, Lankford has been successful no matter when he throws, posting a 4.80 ERA with a 5-2 record and 21 strikeouts in 30.0 innings.
PITCHING TO EXTREMES: Senior Jesse Garcia-Perez has gone from one extreme to another. He started the season coming out of the bullpen. Doing so, Perez posted a 14.00 ERA, striking out five with seven walks, 14 earned runs and 20 hits in 9 innings. But since moving from the bullpen to a starting role, Perez has gone 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA. He has struck out seven, walked seven, allowed 14 hits and just four earned runs in 11 innings.
BULLPEN BY COMMITTEE: Head coach Rich Alday has 13 different Lobos in relief so far this season. Junior Damon Miller has made the most appearances (14), going 2-2 with a 4.79 ERA in 20.2 innings. Miller, with 11 strikeouts, trails freshman Chad Itokazu for the team-high with 12. Itokazu has made 12 appearances, the second most on the team, going 1-1 with a 7.90 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched.
REACHING FOR THE RECORDBOOKS: Junior Daniel Stovall is almost into the UNM career record books. Stovall, with 30 home runs, trails fifth place by four. Jeff Grady is currently in fifth with 34 career homers. Stovall hit nine bombs in 2005 and 12 in 2004. He already has nine this season.
Senior Darren Coltrinari and junior Danny Ray Herrera are vying for the same record. Herrera has made 38 career starts while Coltrinari has 32. The fifth most is 40, held by Barry Kiess (1994-97) and James Vermilyea (2001-03). The record is 47.
Both Coltrinari and Herrera are also approaching the top-5 in wins and losses. Herrera, with 18 wins, and Coltrinari, with 11 wins, are chasing Ron Adair (1971-74) and Kurt Hildebrandt (1991-93, `95), who are tied for fifth with 20. Coltrinari and Herrera both have 12 career losses, needing five to place in a four-way tie for second with 17. The record is 21, set by Barry Kiess (1994-97).
FIRST TO 20: The 15-7 win at San Diego State on Sunday, April 9 gave New Mexico its 20th win of the season. Needing 31 games to reach 20 wins, the 2006 team ties with the 1993, 1984, 1982 and 1980 teams for the ninth fastest to 20. The 1969 and 1973 teams tie for the quickest, needing just 22 games to win 20. Under coach Rich Alday, the 2003 team was the fastest, needing 30 to win 20. This year's squad is tied for the second fastest to 20 with the 1993 team while coached by Alday.
EXTRA EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT: UNM has played eight extra-inning games this season, going 4-4. The eight games sets a new program record for the most extra inning games. The previous record was seven, set by the 1984 team. The team to come closest to the mark since '84 was the 1991 team led by Alday, which played four extra inning games.
The longest extra inning game of the season was a 12 inning, 3-2 loss to BYU at the Mountain West Conference Preseason Tournament. The 12 inning game ties for the fourth longest in program history. The longest was a 4-3 loss to New Mexico State on Feb. 9, 2002 in 15 innings. The Lobos have also played one 14 inning game (a 9-8 win over Colorado State on March 17, 1973) and a 13 inning game (a 4-4 tie vs. Colorado State in 1964).