March 23, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- For the first time since 1985, the University of New Mexico baseball team has cracked the national polls. The Lobos are ranked or receiving votes in five of the six national collegiate baseball polls. Collegiate Baseball has the Lobos ranked the highest at No. 20, and Baseball America has the Lobos ranked No. 21, the first appearance in that poll since 1985. Ping! Baseball has the Lobos ranked No. 30, while the NCBWA and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls have the Lobos receiving votes.
New Mexico is 22-3 on the season and has a nine-game win streak going into this weekend's Mountain West Conference series with BYU. The Lobos are currently in first place in the league at 3-0. The boost to the Lobos national recognition came last week when UNM took two games from then-ranked No. 3 Texas A&M in College Station.
The Lobos currently lead the Mountain West Conference in just about every offensive category, including a .410 batting average with 296 runs scored, 394 hits, 74 doubles and 32 triples. The pitching staff is sporting a 4.10 ERA, third in the MWC, with 184 strikeouts and 22 wins. Defensively, UNM leads the league in fielding percentage at .975.
March 23 Mountain West Conference Player of the Week - Kevin Atkinson, Sr., 1B
Atkinson, from Surrey, B.C., Canada, batted .615 (16-for-26) from the plate, with three home runs, one double, nine RBI and 13 runs scored, as the Lobos went 6-0 last week, including a two-game sweep at No. 3 Texas A&M.
In a 10-6 win vs. the third-ranked Aggies, Atkinson went 4-for-5 with two RBI, two runs scored and one stolen base. In the Lobos' 9-6, game two win, he went 3-for-5 with one double, two runs scored and one RBI. For the series, Atkinson hit .700 (7-for-10) and tallied four runs scored, and three RBI.
In UNM's first game of a four-game series vs. Northwestern, Atkinson blasted a solo home run, as the Lobos defeated the Wildcats, 11-6. In New Mexico's 16-12 victory in game one of Saturday's double-header, Atkinson went 3-for-4 with two homers, three RBI and four runs scored, and followed with a 1-for-3, two-run scored performance in a 10-6, game two win. He finished the week going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI in UNM's 13-4 series-ending victory. Defensively, Atkinson tallied 64 putouts and six assists from the first base position.
Atkinson is the second Lobo to earn MWC Player of the Week honors this season. Second baseman Mike Brownstein earned the honor last week for his week against New Mexico State and Air Force.