April 26, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team will host Texas Tech on Tuesday, April 27, at 2 p.m. MT at Isotopes Park. The Lobos (27-14) have won three straight, including taking a doubleheader from Air Force, 14-2 and 6-0 on Sunday. Texas Tech is 24-20 and has won two straight. 101.7 The TEAM will broadcast Tuesday's game live from Isotopes Park. Scott Galetti and former Lobo baseball player Rick Ronquillo will call the action.
The Lobos hit the road to take on San Diego State on April 30 - May 2. Saturday's game will be broadcast nationally on The Mountain Sports Network at 7 p.m. MT. James Bates, Roger Bailey and Todd Christensen will call the action. The Mtn. can be seen on Comcast Channel 276 and DirecTV channel 616.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH The Red Raiders are 24-20 on the season, 8-2 in their last 10 games and 5-8 away from home.
Texas Tech is coached by Dan Spencer, who is in his third year coaching the Red Raiders with a 49-52 (.485) record.
The Red Raiders return seven players with starting experience, 18 letterwinners and nine starting pitchers from last year's squad.
Tech is led at the plate by freshman infielder Jamodrick McGruder, who is hitting .354. Alexander has four doubles, three triples and 23 RBIs.
The Red Raiders are hitting .315 as a team.
Tech is led on the mound by junior right-hander Chad Bettis, who is 6-3 on the season and has an ERA of 3.95. He has pitched one shutout in 70.2 innings and has 81 strikeouts.
The Red Raiders have a 6.56 team ERA.
The Lobos will likely face junior right-hander Colt Farrar on Tuesday. Farrar is 2-1 on the season in 17 appearances and will be making his first start of the season. He has a 5.47 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched with 22 strikeouts.
SERIES HISTORYTech has a 59-35-1 series advantage over the Lobos. The Lobos have won three of the last five against the Red Raiders and hold a slim 19-18-1 advantage in Albuquerque. New Mexico won the last meeting of the two programs, 15-7 on April 1, 2009. The Red Raiders last defeated the Lobos, 8-4 on March 31, 2009.
IN THE NATIONAL STATS RANKINGS (as of April 20)As a team the Lobos are ranked ninth in the nation with 407 hits, tied at 11th in the nation with 111 doubles and 18th in hits with 401. New Mexico also is ranked 10th in the NCAA with a .346 batting average. The Lobos are tied for ninth in the nation with 12 triples on the season.
Senior Justin Howard is ranked second in the nation with 70 hits, No. 46 with a .422 batting average and tied for 25th with 16 doubles.
Sophomore Gera Sanchez is tied for 61st in the NCAA with five saves.
KESLER EARNS MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEKSenior right-handed pitcher Willy Kesler has been named the Mountain West Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week as announced by the conference office. This is the first career award for the Thornton, Colo., native. Kesler threw UNM's first complete-game shutout since 2007 in a 6-0 victory over Air Force on April 25. Kesler scattered five hits over nine innings with five strikeouts while walking none.
This was Kesler's second complete game of the season and his first shutout at New Mexico. He is the first pitcher to throw two complete games in the the same season since 2008. In the 6-0 victory, Kesler blanked an Air Force team that put up 36 runs in three games against league-leading TCU.
Kesler shares this week's award with San Diego State's Addison Reed.
HOWARD HITS .579 IN FOUR GAMES LAST WEEKSenior Justin Howard went 11-for-19 last week, hitting .579 with eight RBIs, eight runs scored, two home runs and one double. On Wednesday, April 21 against San Francisco, Howard went 5-for-6 with two home runs, one double and four RBIs. In a doubleheader against Air Force on April 25, Howard was a combined 4-for-8 (.500) with three RBIs and three runs scored.
COACH BIRMINGHAM NEARS 100th WIN AS A LOBOHead coach Ray Birmingham is only two wins away from his 100th win as Lobo baseball's skipper. Earlier this season, Birmingham earned his 900th win as a head coach in a 15-14 extra-innings win over Louisiana Tech in game one of a doubleheader on March 13. Birmingham has a 98-59 three-year record at the University of New Mexico.
GONZALEZ LOOKS FOR 100th CONSECUTIVE STARTOn Tuesday, April 27 against Texas Tech, senior shortstop Daniel Gonzalez is scheduled start his 99th consecutive game. On Friday, April 30 against San Diego State the senior from Mesquite, N.M. could make his 100th consecutive start at shortstop for the Lobos. Since transfering from El Paso Community College in the fall of 2009, Gonzalez found a home at shortstop. Coach Birmingham has been quoted as saying, "Watching Daniel Gonzalez play shortstop is like watching Picasso paint."
LEADERS OF THE PACKSenior Justin Howard leads the Lobos in batting average at a .438 clip. Howard also leads the team in on-base percentage (.493), RBIs (46), doubles (17), runs scored (53) and hits (81). Senior Chris Juarez is hitting .429 with 10 doubles and 20 RBIs. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is hitting .346 on the season and is second on the team in RBIs (43).
The Lobo pitching staff is led by junior Kenny Toves, who is 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA. Junior Richard Olson has an ERA of 3.89 and is 3-3 on the season. Olson is second on the team with 42 strikeouts. Senior Willy Kesler has a 4.11 ERA, is 3-1 on the season, leads the team in strikeouts with 57 and has two complete games.
TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST STATISTICSThe Lobos lead the Mountain West Conference with a .350 batting average and in doubles with 115. The Lobo pitching staff is fourth in the conference with a 5.29 ERA and is third in the MWC in strikeouts with 290.
Several Lobo hitters are making their presence known in the MWC rankings. Senior Justin Howard is on top of the Mountain West standings in batting average at a .438 clip. Howard also ranks first in runs scored (53), on-base percentage (.493), hits (81) and is tied for the lead with 17 doubles and tied for second in RBIs (46). Senior Chris Juarez is second in the conference with a .429 batting average. Senior Cameron Smith ranks eighth in the conference with a .368 batting average. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is tied for fourth in the MWC with 43 RBIs.
The pitching staff is just as impressive in the MWC rankings. Junior Kenny Toves is ranked fifth with a 3.23 ERA. Senior Willy Kesler is ranked fourth in the conference with 57 strikeouts. Kesler and senior Edwin Carl are tied for seventh in the league with 16 batters struck out looking. Sophomore Gera Sanchez is tied for the league lead in saves with five.
On defense, Howard is ranked first in putouts with 378.
LOBOS IN THE NATIONAL POLLSThe Lobos are receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association top-30 poll and the USA Today Coaches top-25 poll.
The Lobos also are ranked No. 28 in the NCAA's latest RPI rankings. The Lobos are the second-highest ranked Mountain West team. No. 19 TCU, No. 82 BYU and No. 99 San Diego State are the other MWC representatives in the top-100. New Mexico has two victories over No. 6 Texas, No. 73 USC, No. 83 BYU, No. 86 New Mexico State and three wins over No. 99 San Diego State. The Lobos face three more teams this season in the top-100, TCU (19), Texas Tech (32) and San Diego State (99).