Feb. 16, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico baseball team will open its 2012 season with a three game series against the Nevada Wolf Pack this weekend, beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday at Isotopes Park. The Lobos enter the season fresh off their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance last year. UNM shocked the Mountain West in 2011 by sweeping through the championship tournament as the last place seed, earning the conferences' automatic bid in the process.
The Lobos expect big things for the 2012 season, as the team only lost one significant contributor last season in pitcher Richard Olson.
"We have veterans everywhere, which we didn't have last year," head coach Ray Birmingham said. "I'm very excited about this year. It could be the most special year in Lobo baseball history."
New Mexico Lobos -- In Isotopes Park
Friday:3 p.m., Nevada vs. New Mexico
Saturday: 1 p.m., Nevada vs. New Mexico
Sunday: 1 p.m., Nevada vs. New Mexico
SCOUTING THE WOLF PACK ... Nevada was picked to finish fourth in the Western Athletic Conference this season in the preseason WAC coaches' poll. Junior starting pitcher Tom Jameson was named to the All-WAC preseason team as well. The Wolf Pack had a record of 24-31 in 2011, with a 12-12 record in the WAC. Nevada was very solid at home, posting a record of 17-10, but struggled on the road at 6-19. Nick Melino is Nevada's top returning offensive threat. The senior led the Wolf Pack in runs scored (43), and was second in Home Runs (4), batting average (.303) and total hits (61). Jameson is 6' 7" right-hander that compiled a 6-6 record last season with a 4.84 ERA.
PLAYING THE CREAM OF THE CROP ... Once again coach Ray Birmingham has challenged his team with a very tough schedule. UNM will face the likes of 2011 NCAA tournament participants Oklahoma and Arizona State. The Lobos will host both schools this year, however, because UNM traveled to Norman, Okla., and Tempe, Ariz., last season. The Lobos also have two series against conference powerhouse TCU, as well as a home series against a very formidable Florida Gulf Coast squad. Gonzaga is no picnic either, as the Bulldogs will come to Albuquerque this year as well.
LOBOS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN POLL ... The Mountain West released the 2012 Baseball Preseason Poll and the University of New Mexico was picked to finish third according to the panel of coaches in the conference.
New Mexico (20-41, 10-14 MW) made its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance last season by earning the MW Championship title and the league's automatic bid. Head coach Ray Birmingham returns 17 letterwinners, including a solid core made up of MW Championship Most Valuable Player Peterson (1B, So.), Mitchell Garver (C, Jr.), Rudy Jaramillo (Sr., RHP), Austin House (RHP, Jr.), Ben Woodchick (INF/OF, Sr.) and Allbritton (SS, Jr.).
Rk. Team (1st place votes) Points
1. TCU (5) 25
2. UNLV 16
3. New Mexico 15
4. San Diego State 12
5. Air Force 7
2012 MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Position - Name, Class InstitutionC - Josh Elander, Jr. TCU
1B - DJ Peterson, So. New Mexico
2B - Scott Dysinger, Sr. UNLV
3B - Jantzen Witte, Jr. TCU
SS - Alex Albritton, Jr. New Mexico
OF - Jason Coats, Sr. TCU
OF - Brance Rivera, Sr. TCU
OF - Cody Smith, So. San Diego State
UT/DH - Brandon Bayardi, Sr. UNLV
P - Andrew Mitchell, So. TCU
P - Cole Swanson, So. San Diego State
DJ Peterson NAMED PRE SEASON ALL AMERICAN ... Sophomore DJ Peterson was named to the Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American Team as announced by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Peterson was selected as the third-team first baseman and was one of two Mountain West players to make the list. TCU's Josh Elander was named the third-team catcher. "DJ is a first-class kid," head coach Ray Birmingham said. "He has grown and matured as a baseball player and as a person. He is another in a line of great Lobo hitters and will be playing on TV someday."
Last season Peterson led the Lobos in almost every offensive caragory, including: batting average (.317), hits (78), HR's (6), RBI (48), total bases (134) and slugging percentage (.545). He is coming off a year in which he was named to two freshen all-America teams (NCBWA and Louisville Slugger). Peterson also set a new NCAA record for doubles in a single season by a freshman, with 32. His 32 doubles puts him in a tie with former Lobo Justin Howard for the single-best season in Mountain West history
LOBOS ANNOUNCE BROADCAST SCHEDULE ... The University of New Mexico and ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team have reached an agreement, once again, to broadcast Lobo baseball. UNM and 101.7 The Team have agreed to broadcast 25 Lobo games this year, including road games at New Mexico State and Texas Tech, as well as the Mountain West Tournament. A list of the games being broadcast can be found on GoLobos.com. GoLobos.com also plans to stream home games via the All Access page any time ESPN 101.7 The Team broadcasts.
LOBO BASEBALL TV SCHEDULE ... The Lobo baseball team will have five games televised this season. New Mexico's most exciting TV game will appear on the CBS Sports Network against 2011 NCAA tournament opponent Arizona State at 7 p.m. April 10 at Isotopes Park.
April 10 vs. Arizona State at 7 p.m. MT (CBS College Sports)
April 13 at SDSU at 7 p.m. MT (The Mtn.)
April 14 at SDSU at 7 p.m. MT (The Mtn.)
April 15 at SDSU at 2 p.m. MT (The Mtn.)
May 11 at UNLV at 7:05 p.m. MT (The Mtn.)
LOBOS RECEIVING VOTES ... Fresh off its Mountain West Championship, the University of New Mexico baseball team will not be flying under the radar in the 2012 season. Collegiate Baseball newspaper announced its 2012 preseason Top 40 today and has the Lobos listed just outside the Top 40 in the receiving votes category.
New Mexico finished the 2011 season with a 20-41 record, but shocked the MW field when it swept through the tournament to win it's first ever tournament championship and earn its second straight bid into the NCAA tournament.
COLLEGEBASEBALLINSIDER.COM POLL RECOGNIZES A FEW LOBOS ... Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham received high praise from his fellow MW coaches after being chosen as the best game coach along with TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle.
Last year's freshman All-American DJ Peterson was chosen as one of the three best pure hitters in the conference as well as the most underrated hitter. Peterson set an NCAA record for doubles in a season by a freshman with 32 last season.
LOBOS DRAFTED ... The New Mexico baseball team has nine student-athletes that have been drafted by Major League Baseball. During Birmingham's tenure at UNM, New Mexico has had 13 players drafted and 16 have played professional baseball. UNM had a record six players drafted in 2009. The current Lobos who have been drafted are; Austin House (Texas), Alexis Garza (Houston), Gera Sanchez (Texas), DJ Peterson (Tampa), Jake McCasland (San Francisco), John Pustay (Texas), Sam Wolff (Boston), Alex Real (Atlanta) and Chris Nunez (Florida).