Brownstein Named MWC Baseball Player of the Year
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/18/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 18, 2009

FORT WORTH, Texas --- University of New Mexico second baseman Mike Brownstein was been named the 2009 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year at the annual tournament banquet tonight in Fort Worth. Joining Brownstein on the first team were catcher Rafael Neda, first baseman Kevin Atkinson, outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez and pitcher John Hesketh. Outfielder Max Willett was the lone Lobo named to the second team. It is the largest group of Lobos to be named MWC first team since 2000.

"This is a very deserving group of young men," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "Mike Brownstein has had a fantastic season and really bought in to what we have been teaching him over the past two seasons."

Brownstein, a senior from Tucson, Ariz., leads the league in batting average (.426), runs scored (72), hits (101), doubles (23) and triples (11). He is second with 185 assists and has 20 stolen bases. Defensively, he is fielding at a .984 clip. The Lobo leadoff hitter, he is one of five Lobos to finish the regular season hitting over .400. Brownstein was named MWC Player of the Week on March 16. Earlier this month, Brownstein was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VI second team. He is the third Lobo to receive the MWC Player of the Year honor - Aaron Sisk (2000) and Jordan Pacheco (2007). Brownstein was a second team selection in 2008.

Neda, a sophomore from Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, led the league in MWC-only batting average at .457 and was one of five Lobos to finish the regular season above .400 in overall average. Neda is second on the squad with a .416 average. Neda leads the Lobos with 39 free passes to first base, 29 walks and 10 hit by pitch. Defensively, Neda had a behind the plate fielding average of .982. Neda was a second team selection in 2008. Neda was on the Brooks Wallace and Johnny Bench Watch Lists.

Atkinson, a senior from Surrey, British Columbia, has played in all 55 games this season, starting the majority at first base. Atkinson recently moved to third base with the injury to Dane Hamilton. Atkinson also finished the regular season with a batting average over .400, at .404. Atkinson is second on the squad with 90 hits. He is fielding at a .982 average and has 405 putouts. Atkinson was named MWC Player of the Week on March 23 and was a second team selection in 2008.

Cavazos-Galvez, a senior from Albuquerque, N.M., was named MWC Player of the Week earlier in the day. He is fifth on the team with a .403 batting average. Cavazos-Galvez leads the team in slugging percentage (.758), total bases (160), home runs (15) and RBI (63). He also is one of the toughest batters to strikeout, going down only 15 times in 211 at-bats. Cavazos-Galvez is a perfect 1.000 in right field this season. Cavazos-Galvez was the Lobos lone representative on the 2008 first team.

Hesketh, a senior from Langley, British Columbia, has made a league-leading 14 starts for the Lobos with a 6-3 record and 3.61 ERA. He is second in the league with 66 strikeouts in 82.1 innings. Earlier this month, Hesketh was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VI second team. Hesketh is scheduled to start the Lobos first game of the tournament on Wednesday, May 20.

Willett, a redshirt junior from Highlands Ranch, Colo., is the UNM No. 2 hitter behind Brownstein and leads the league with 15 sacrifice hits. He is a perfect 12-12 in stolen bases and has a 1.000 fielding average while roaming center field for the Lobos. Willett is hitting .363 on the season and also is among the toughest to strikeout on the team with 19 in 212 at-bats. Willett earned MWC Player of the Week honors on April 13.

Brownstein became the ninth Lobo this season to earn conference Player of the Year honors among UNM's 21 sports - Jeanne Fairchild (volleyball), Lacey Odeing (women's cross country freshman), Lee Emmanuel (men's indoor track and field), Thomas Schwab (men's alpine skiing), Johnny Parkes (men's tennis), Ola Abou-Zekry (women's tennis), Steve Saunders (men's golf) and Jodi Ewart (women's golf).

The Lobos begin 2009 Conoco MWC Tournament action on Wednesday, May 20 at 2 p.m. (MDT)

2009 All-Mountain West Conference Teams

First Team
C - Rafael Neda, New Mexico, So.
1B - Kevin Atkinson, New Mexico, Sr.
1B - Matt Vern, TCU, Sr.
2B - Mike Brownstein, New Mexico, Sr.
3B - Steve Parker, BYU, Jr.
SS - Anthony Morel, UNLV, Sr.
OF - Brian Cavazos-Galvez, New Mexico, Sr.
OF - Cory Vaughn, San Diego State, So.
OF - J.J. Sferra, UNLV, Sr.
DH/UT - Kent Walton, BYU, Sr.
SP - John Hesketh, New Mexico, Sr.
SP - Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State, Jr.
SP - Trent Appleby, TCU, So.
RP - Addison Reed, San Diego State, So.

Second Team
C - Bryan Holaday, TCU, Jr.
1B - Brandon Meredith, San Diego State, Fr.
2B - Corey Shimada, Utah, Sr.
3B - Matt Carpenter, TCU, Sr.
SS - Taylor Featherston, TCU, Fr.
OF - Stetson Banks, BYU, So.
OF - Max Willett, New Mexico, Jr.
OF - Chris Ellington, TCU, Sr.
DH/UT - Erik Castro, San Diego State, Jr.
SP - Blake Torgerson, BYU, Jr.
SP - Tyler Lavigne, San Diego State, Jr.
SP - Jordan Whatcott, Utah, Jr.
SP - Brian Budrow, Utah, Sr.
RP - Jordan Muir, BYU, Sr.
RP - Taylor Cragin, TCU, Sr.

Player of the Year - Mike Brownstein, New Mexico
Pitcher of the Year - Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State
Freshman of the Year - C.J. Cron, Utah
Coach of the Year - Jim Schlossnagle, TCU