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Baseball Ends 18-game Road Swing With Three-Game Series At BYU
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/04/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 4, 2004

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NEXT IN LOBO BASEBALL

New Mexico (18-23-1, 14-7 MWC) at BYU (19-25, 9-9)

MAY 6-8 * PROVO, UTAH *LARRY H. MILLER FIELD (2,300)

SCHEDULE:

Thursday, May 6 - 7 p.m.
Friday, May 7 - 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 8 - 12 p.m.

MEDIA COVERAGE: Live stats for all games available at www.BYUCougars.com Live audio of Saturday's game available at www.BYUCougars.com.

SERIES INFORMATION: BYU leads, 58-39. The Lobos swept the Cougars April 1-3 in Albuquerque.

PROJECTED PITCHING ROTATION:

Friday - UNM: #28 RH Jr. Jason Fernanez (5-5, 4.76 ERA, 68.0 IP, 39 K, OBA - .292) vs. BYU: #4 LH Jr. Patrick Wells (5-3, 5.53 ERA, 81.1 IP, 43 K, OBA - .300)

Saturday - UNM: #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (3-5, 4.88 ERA, 62.2 IP, 44 K, OBA - .299) vs. BYU: #14 RH Jr. Nick Lemon (1-3, 5.04 ERA, 25.0 IP, 30 K, OBA - .155)

Sunday - UNM: #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (4-3, 5.60 ERA, 62.2 IP, 43 K, OBA - .318) vs. BYU: TBA

STORYLINE: After falling out of first place in the Mountain West Conference last weekend by dropping two of three games at San Diego State, the second-place Lobos will look to regroup with a three-game set at BYU May 6-8.

UNM (18-23-1, 14-7 MWC) is 1 1/2 games back of league leader UNLV (15-5 MWC), who hosts San Diego State this weekend.The Lobos swept BYU for the first time in program history when the two teams met earlier this season in Albuquerque. New Mexico won game one, 9-3, game two, 1-0, and game three, 10-8. The Cougars (19-25, 9-9 MWC) are in fourth place in the conference after sweeping Utah at home last weekend.

The series starts Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. start Friday night. Saturday's finale is set for 12 p.m. Live stats of all games will be available at www.BYUCougars.com, while live audio will be available for Saturday's game at www.BYUCougars.com.

QUICK LOOK AT THE LOBOS (18-23-1, 14-7 MWC): New Mexico has won 11 of its last 15 Mountain West games and 12 of its last 19 overall...the Lobos are 14-7 in the Mountain West, good for second place...UNM dropped two of three games at San Diego State last weekend, falling 7-3 on Friday and 1-0 on Saturday before winning 18-9 in Sunday's finale.

QUICK LOOK AT THE COUGARS (19-25, 9-9 MWC): BYU has won four straight Mountain West games and is in fourth place in the league with a 9-9 mark...the Cougars have won their last two series at home, winning two out of three over San Diego State and sweeping Utah last weekend...BYU is 5-4 at home this season.

A GLANCE AT THE MOUNTAIN WEST RACE: With three weekends to go, UNLV leads the Mountain West with a 15-5 record, 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place New Mexico. San Diego State is in third (12-7), BYU in fourth (9-9), Utah in fifth (5-13) and Air Force in sixth (0-14).

The Lobos finish the conference season with a road series at BYU and two home series against Air Force and UNLV. Other key series' in the MWC include: San Diego State at UNLV (May 7-9); BYU at San Diego State (March 12-14); and Utah at UNLV (March 14-16).

The top two teams in the standings will receive a bye in the first round of the conference tournament held May 26-29 in Las Vegas. The No. 3 seed will play No. 6, and the No. 4 seed will play No. 5. The No. 1 team plays the winner of 4/5, and the No. 2 team plays the winner of 3/6 in the second round. The tournament is double elimination.

NOTES FROM LAST WEEKEND'S SAN DIEGO STATE SERIES: San Diego State claimed two of three games over New Mexico April 30 - May 2 at Tony Gwynn Stadium...the Aztecs won game one, 7-3...they shut out UNM, 1-0, in Saturday's win...it was the second time the Lobos have been blanked this season (TCU, March 12)...UNM pounded 21 hits and three homers in the series' finale to triumph 18-9...A.J. Spitaleri went 4-for-6 with two homers, three RBI and three runs...Joe Salas also went 4-for-6 with a homer and four RBI...Karsten Gaarder pitched six innings of solid relief for his second victory of the season...SDSU claimed the season series from New Mexico, 4-2.

NOTES FROM THE FIRST BYU SERIES: The Lobos swept BYU for the first time in program history April 1-3 at Isotopes Park...UNM took the series opener, 9-3...the Lobos shut out the Cougars 1-0 in Friday's win, marking the first time UNM has won 1-0 at home since Feb. 27, 1990 against Western New Mexico...it was the first 1-0 game the Lobos have won since 1992, a road win at Texas Tech...freshman Danny Ray Herrera went perfect through the first six innings of the 1-0 win...Jeff Grady delivered the game's only run with a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh...UNM completed the sweep with a comeback 10-8 triumph on Saturday...down 8-6 in the bottom of the eighth, the Lobos scored four times to rally for the win, keyed by a Daniel Stovall two-out bases loaded single that brought in the winning runs...Stovall batted .417 in the series with five hits.

Daniel Stovall


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

* In conference action, the Lobos have dominated the Mountain West offensively. They lead the league in batting (.351), total bases (436), slugging (.556), hits (275), RBI (183) and home runs (35).

* Twenty-two of the Lobos' 42 games have come against teams with a winning record, and 16 of those games were against teams either ranked in the Top 25 or receiving votes in the national polls.

* The Lobos are in the midst of an 18-game road swing...their last home game was April 3 against BYU...they will play their last seven games at home, beginning May 14 against Air Force.

*The Lobos have won nine of their last 12 games at Isotopes Park and four in a row...after getting off to a tough start at "The Reactor" with a 0-7-1 record in the first eight games, UNM is now 9-10-1 all-time in its new home.

GET OUT THOSE BINOCULARS - LOBOS TO WATCH:

* Junior centerfielder and leadoff hitter Matt Young is the team's offensive spark. Young leads the team in runs (49) and on-base percentage (.455), and is seventh in the MWC in batting (.359). His eight triples rank sxith in the nation and lead the MWC. Young is also hitting a phenomenal .526 with runners in scoring position, which leads the Mountain West.

Matt Young


* Sophomore catcher A.J. Spitaleri leads the team with a .413 batting average and is hitting .571 (16-for-28) over his last 10 games with four homers and 10 RBI. He went 4-for-6 with two homers, three runs and three RBI in Sunday's win at San Diego State.

* Senior Joe Salas leads the team with eight homers and 42 RBI after hitting a two-run shot and driving in four runs in Sunday's win at San Diego State.

MILESTONE WATCH:

*Matt Young needs 11 more runs to become the fifth player in program history to collect 200 hits and 200 runs. His 127 walks are second best in the UNM record books.

*Joe Salas is four homers away from tying third all-time in the UNM record books. He is currently fourth with 34 home runs. He is also fifth at UNM in RBI (175) and fourth in doubles (61).

AROUND THE HORN -

OFFENSIVELY: The Lobos are batting .312 as a team (second in the MWC) and lead the league with 50 homers. In conference action, UNM has been dominating, leading the league in batting (.351), slugging (.556), hits (275), RBI (183) and home runs (35).

DEFENSIVELY: The Lobos are coming off their best defensive weekend of the season, as they didn't commit a single error at San Diego State. For the season, they have a .965 fielding percentage, which is second in the MWC.. The Lobos lead the league in fielding double plays with 45.

PITCHING: Opponents are batting .294 against UNM pitching and have scored 294 runs (7.0 per game). UNM's staff ERA is 6.24 (fourth in the MWC) compared to opponents' 5.99. The starter's ERA is 5.79 compared to the bullpen's 6.96.

COMPLETE WEEKEND RECAP - NEW MEXICO AT SAN DIEGO STATE SERIES: The Lobos fell out of first place in the Mountain West last weekend after losing two of three games at San Diego State.

In the series opener, SDSU defeated New Mexico, 7-3. The Lobos led 3-2 after five innings, but SDSU scored three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh to pull away for the victory.

Scott Shoemaker, the Mountain West leader in ERA, strikeouts, and wins, picked up his eighth victory of the season by allowing three runs and five hits in six innings of work. Jason Fernandez fell to 5-5 for the season after giving up seven runs on 10 hits in 6.2 innings of action. Drew Jensen earned his second save of the season by pitching three scoreless innings to close the game.

On Saturday, the Aztecs shut out the Lobos, 1-0. Each team collected seven hits in the contest, but SDSU scored the lone run of the game in the first inning and held onto the slim margin the remainder of the game for the victory.

Aztec center fielder Landon Burt led off the bottom of the first with a triple, and then scored on the next play on an RBI groundout to the shortstop. It proved to be the difference in the game.

New Mexico couldn't score against Aztec left-hander Daryl Harang, who allowed six hits in eight innings of work. UNM southpaw Danny Ray Herrera was equally effective, fanning six and giving up seven hits in 7 1/3 innings of action.

The Lobos threatened to score on two occasions, but fell victim to the double play both times. In the fourth, Joe Salas hit a one-out single, and advanced to third on Sean Murray's single to center. The inning ended as Daniel Stovall struck out, and Murray was caught stealing 2-4-3. In the ninth, UNM again put runners on first and third with one out with Salas on third and Garrick Haymore on first. The game ended on a bizarre double play as Chris Dabbs struck out, and with Haymore stealing on the pitch, he was called out at second due to batter's interference.

Karsten Gaarder earned his second win of the season Sunday afternoon at San Diego State.


The bats came alive for UNM in the series finale on Sunday, as it collected 21 hits and hit three homers in slamming San Diego State, 18-9. Five Lobos tallied at least three hits, including A.J. Spitaleri and Joe Salas, who each had four. Karsten Gaarder (2-2) earned his second win of the season after pitching six innings of solid relief.

Spitaleri blasted two homers, scored three runs, drove in three and went 4-for-6 for the afternoon. Salas also went 4-for-6 with three runs while delivering four RBI. Sean Murray, Daniel Stovall and Matt Foote all registered three hits in the game, and Tim Grady had three RBI. Murray tied his career high with four runs scored.

PLAYER NOTES -

A GLANCE AT THE LOBO STARTING PITCHERS: The Lobos will continue to use the same conference starting rotation this weekend, throwing Jason Fernandez, Danny Ray Herrera and Cooper Eddy.

GM. 1 - Thursday - 7 p.m. - #28 RH Jr. Jason Fernandez (5-5, 4.76 ERA)

* Hard-throwing right-hander will be making his 10th start of the season...has also made three appearances out of the bullpen

Jason Fernandez


* Third on the team with a 4.76 ERA, which is sixth best in the MWC...leads team in innings pitched (68.0) and leads MWC in league games with 49.1 innings pitched

* Has tossed two complete games this season, both for victories (2/27 vs. Arkansas; 4/1 vs. BYU)

* In his last outing against BYU, he struck out five and allowed three runs in a complete-game victory

* He is 4-3 with a 4.93 ERA in league play

GM. 2 - Friday - 7 p.m. - #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (3-5, 4.88 ERA)

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

* Struck out a season-best nine in win at Air Force (4/17)

*Picked up first collegiate victory with win over San Diego State (3/27)

*Retired his first 18 batters in six perfect innings in victory over BYU (4/2)

* In front of over 7,000 fans at Olsen Field against No. 14 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

* He is 3-2 with a 5.08 ERA in league play

* Four of his five losses have been one-run games; the other was a two-run game

GM. 3 - Saturday - 12 p.m. - #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (4-3, 5.60 ERA)

* Powerful pitcher who throws in the low 90's and has an excellent slider

* Transfer from Tennessee Tech; threw his first year at Iowa Western Community College

* Threw seven innings and only allowed two runs, one earned, in victory at UNLV (4/25)

* 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) to earn MWC Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time this season

* He is 2-1 with a 6.63 ERA in league play

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 and offensive spark, is UNM's leader in runs (49) and on-base percentage (.455), and his eight triples are sixth best in the nation (0.19 per game). He is batting an impressive .526 (20-for-38) with runners in scoring position, which leads the Mountain West.

The fiery and competitive Young, who is hitting .359, is also moving up the career charts at New Mexico in his third year. He collected his 200th career hit in UNM's win over Utah April 9 and needs just 11 runs to become the fifth player in school history to reach the 200-run and 200-hit plateau.

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. He was also named to the Aggie Classic All-Tournament Team. In one of his best career performances at the plate, Young went 4-for-6 with a career-high six RBI in UNM's win over New Mexico State March 30, including a two-run homer.

A dynamic defensive player, Young owns a perfect fielding percentage and has made some spectacular plays in center field this season.

The Murphy, Texas, native put together a .466 on-base percentage and led the MWC in walks (54) and runs (76) in 2003 while batting .320. Young is second all-time in the UNM record books with 127 career walks and leads the MWC in league games with 22 free passes.

MADER MAKING PUSH FOR MOUNTAIN WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 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. The Albuquerque native is once again putting up excellent numbers, ranking among the top 10 in the MWC in six offensive categories.

Mader, a two-time first-team All-MWC selection, polished his game over the summer playing shortstop in the Alaskan Summer Wooden Bat League. A lifetime .371 batter, Mader has been outstanding in league play, ranking among the top five in six categories, including second in hits with 35 and fifth in batting with a .393 average.

He was named the MWC Player of the Week April 12 after batting .409 with three homers, and in UNM's win over Utah that same week, he went 3-for-5 with three runs and four RBI, including two homers in one inning.

CAPTAIN PROVING HIS WORTH: Senior right-fielder Sean Murray, one of two co-captains on this year's team, is batting .325 with 26 runs driven in. He is tied for fourth in league play with 33 hits. A career .343 hitter, Murray has started at first base, left field and right field for the Lobos this season. An outstanding student off the field, Murray recently earned the prestigious Truman Scholarship at UNM for his 4.20 GPA in Mechanical Engineering.

Sean Murray


BARBA SOLID AT SECOND: Sophomore Ryan Barba has put together another productive offensive season from second base, typically a non-power position. Barba is batting .336 with six homers and 30 RBI to go along with 35 runs. In league play, he is sixth in batting with a .392 average.

Barba drove in five runs in one game for the third time in his career in the Air Force series, going 5-for-7 with a homer, five RBI and four runs on April 17. He tied his career high with a five RBI performance in UNM's 6-3 win over UCSB on March 7, blasting a grand slam in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and propel the Lobos to victory.

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 DOES DOUBLE DUTY: Senior lefty Joe Salas has always possessed an explosive bat in his career at UNM, but this season he is also focusing on being the Lobo closer. He has three saves this season and nine for his career, which is tied for third all-time in New Mexico history. Salas, who also has two wins on the mound, leads the team with 42 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched. His 24 appearances are second in the Mountain West.

Offensively, he broke out last year with 16 homers and 56 RBI in addition to a .366 batting average to earn first-team All-MWC honors. The primary designated hitter in the lineup, Salas has eight homers and 42 RBI this season to lead the team in both categories..

The senior is climbing up the career charts at UNM, as he is fourth all-time in homers (34), third in doubles (61) and fifth in RBI (175). He tied a school and Mountain West record with four doubles at Air Force on April 17, a game in which he went 5-for-6 with five runs and three RBI.

FERNANDEZ PROVIDING CONSISTENCY ON THE MOUND: Right-hander Jason Fernandez leads the team with five victories on the mound this season and is 4-3 in MWC games. Fernandez leads the league in conference games with 49.1 innings pitched.

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. Fernandez limited the Razorbacks, who are currently ranked No. 8 in the nation, to one run and only eight base runners. He threw his second complete game in a win over BYU April 1.

STOVALL NAMED NATIONAL CO-HITTER OF THE WEEK: Freshman Daniel Stovall exploded for 12 hits, three homers, three doubles and seven RBI in the Air Force series to earn the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Co-Hitter of the Week Award along with MWC Player of the Week honors on April 19. Overall, he is batting .327 with five homers and 19 RBI. He has started 28 games at first base after getting seven starts at third in the beginning of the year.

Stovall hit his first career homer Feb. 28 vs. Arkansas and followed it with another shot the same day against Texas A&M. Perhaps his biggest hit of the season came against BYU on April 3, as he broke an 8-8 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-out, bases-loaded single that drove in two runs in UNM's 10-8 win. Stovall's most explosive day at the plate was at Air Force on April 17, as he went 5-for-6 with five RBI, two homers and two runs scored.

Yabba, DABBA, Doo: Freshman right fielder Chris Dabbs is second on the team with a .464 batting average in conference play. Dabbs drove in a season-high four RBI April 24 at UNLV to go along with three runs scored and a three-run homer.The Spring Branch, Texas, native, who was also recruited by several schools (including Texas A&M and Oklahoma) to play football, is batting .348 in all games with three homers and 11 RBI.

Chris Dabbs


EDDY NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST PITCHER OF THE WEEK...AGAIN: Junior right-hander Cooper Eddy has earned Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors twice this season. Overall, he is 4-3 with a 5.60 ERA. In his last victory, Eddy threw seven strong innings at UNLV April 25, allowing two runs on six hits to pick up the victory.

On March 16, Eddy limited a powerful Texas Tech offense to one run on four hits in seven innings of work, and for his efforts, he earned his second MWC Pitcher of the Week accolade of the season. 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.

SPIT THIS:Sophomore catcher A.J. Spitaleri leads the team with a .413 batting average after batting .571 (16-for-28) in his last 10 games with four homers and 10 RBI. A.J. was on fire in the Air Force series, batting 7-for-9 with five runs, two homers and three RBI in his two games of action. Spitaleri is batting .369 in his two years thus far at UNM. He tied a career high with four hits at San Diego State May 2, going 4-for-6 with two homers, three RBI and three runs scored. The native of Raytown, Mo., is hitting .477 in Mountain West games.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - BYU COUGARS

The Cougars enter the weekend winners of four straight Mountain West games. BYU is in fourth place in the MWC with a 9-9 mark, 19-25 overall.

Jeff Hiestand leads the Cougars with a .326 batting average. Brandon Taylor is the most powerful hitter in the lineup with eight homers, 31 RBI and a .296 average.

On the mound, BYU has a staff ERA of 5.65 and opponents are batting .307 against them. The Lobos hit .361 in the first series earlier this season against BYU. Patrick Wells, who will start on Thursday, leads the team with five wins (5-3, 5.53 ERA).

HEAD COACH: Vance Law. Overall record: 147-131-1 (Fifth year). Record at BYU: Same.

SERIES NOTES:

BYU leads, 58-39.

Last UNM win: New Mexico 10, BYU 8 (April 3, 2004)

Last BYU win: BYU 7, New Mexico 8 (May 21, 2003)

Last UNM series win: 2004 in Albuquerque (April 1-3, 2004, Sweep)

Last BYU series win: 2003 in Provo (April 17-19, Two out of three)

Last UNM win in Provo:April 17, 2003 - New Mexico 6, BYU 5

Last UNM series win in Provo:2000, Two out of three

LOBOS VS. BYU: Joe Salas is batting .346 with two homers and 24 RBI in his 21 games against BYU...on the mound, Salas has an 0.00 ERA in six games against the Cougars with eight strikeouts and a 1-0 record...In 16 games, Josh Mader has gone 25-for-71 (.352) with two homers and 14 RBI.

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