May 12, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team will host the Delaware State Hornets this Friday-Sunday, May 14-16 at Lobo Field. The Lobos (31-17, 13-7 MWC) will honor their nine seniors on Saturday, May 15 in a pre-game ceremony celebrating Senior Day, starting at 12:30 p.m. MT. The Hornets (12-30, 8-10 MEAC) are on a 10-game losing streak.
The Lobos will travel to Salt Lake City to take on Utah in a three-game series next Thursday-Saturday. The Lobos can lock up the No. 2 seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament with a three-game sweep of the Utes.
SCOUTING DELAWARE STATE The Hornets are 12-30 on the season, have lost 10 straight and are 5-11 on the road.
Delaware State is coached by J.P. Blandin, who is in his 10th year coaching the Hornets with a 235-255 (.475) record.
The Hornets return four players with starting experience, 11 letterwinners and four starting pitchers from last year's squad.
Delaware State is led at the plate by sophomore infielder Scott Davis, who is hitting .363 on the season. Davis has 14 doubles and one triple.
The Hornets are hitting .285 as a team.
Delaware State is led on the mound by freshman right-handed pitcher Elliott Gardner, who is 4-4 on the season and has an ERA of 7.40.
Delaware State has a 8.92 ERA as a staff.
Delaware State's starting rotation is TBA.
SERIES HISTORYThis will be the first meeting between the two programs.
NEW MEXICO HONORS ITS NINE SENIORS ON SENIOR DAYThe University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team will honor the hardwork and dedication of its nine seniors on Saturday, May 15 in a pre-game ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m. MT before the Lobos host Delaware State. Head coach Ray Birmingham and his staff will congratulate the nine seniors on their accomplishments throughout their years as a Lobo. Seniors Edwin Carl, Adam Courcha, Daniel Gonzalez, Justin Howard, Chris Juarez, Willy Kesler, Jason Oatman, Cameron Smith and Max Willett will be honored for their efforts on and off the field.
IN THE NATIONAL STATS RANKINGS (as of May 11)As a team the Lobos are ranked 10th in the nation with a .349 batting average, fifth with 619 hits and eighth with 132 doubles. The Lobos are tied for 24th in the nation with 19 triples on the season.
KESLER EARNS SECOND MWC PITCHER OF THE WEEK AWARDSenior Willy Kesler earned his second Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week award in the last three weeks for his complete-game performance against No. 4 TCU. Kesler held the Horned Frogs to a season-low four hits and gave up just two runs in a 3-2 victory on May 8 at Isotopes Park. This is the second award of his career and third for a Lobo pitcher this season.
Kesler was riding a 28.1-inning streak of not allowing an earned run before giving up two runs with one out in the top of the ninth against TCU. He responded by striking out his ninth batter of the day and getting the next batter to ground out to the second baseman for the last out of the game. Kesler has pitched 26 innings in his last three games and has been victorious in all three outings.
Kesler was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week on April 26 for his complete-game shutout of Air Force on April 25. Kesler scattered five hits over nine innings and had five strikeouts.
LEADERS OF THE PACKSenior Justin Howard leads the Lobos in batting average at a .440 clip. Howard also leads the team in on-base percentage (.488), RBIs (56), doubles (23), runs scored (64) and hits (96). Senior Chris Juarez is hitting .419 with 10 doubles and 27 RBIs. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is hitting .376 on the season and is second on the team in RBIs (54).
The Lobo pitching staff is led by senior Willy Kesler, who has a 3.45 ERA, is 5-1 on the season, leads the team in strikeouts with 73 and has three complete games. Junior Kenny Toves is 4-2 with a 4.19 ERA. Sophomore Rudy Jaramillo is 3-2 on the season including going 2-1 in his last three outings. Jaramillo has a 6.19 ERA and 20 strikeouts.
TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST STATISTICSThe Lobos lead the Mountain West Conference with a .349 batting average and are ranked second with 132 doubles. The Lobo pitching staff is fourth in the conference with a 5.66 ERA and is third in the MWC in strikeouts with 336.
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 .440 clip. Howard also ranks first in runs scored (64), hits (96), doubles (23) and is tied for the lead in RBIs (56). Senior Chris Juarez is third in the conference with a .419 batting average and is ninth in the league with 67 hits. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is ranked sixth in the MWC with a .376 batting average, third with 56 RBIs, ranked fourth with 19 doubles, tied for seventh with 10 home runs and is ranked fifth with 70 hits.
The pitching staff is just as impressive in the MWC rankings. Senior Willy Kesler is ranked third in the conference with a 3.45 ERA and is ranked fourth in the conference with 73 strikeouts. Junior Kenny Toves is ranked eighth with a 4.19 ERA. Sophomore Gera Sanchez is tied for second in the league in saves with five.
On defense, Howard is ranked first in putouts with 436.
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. 32 in the NCAA's latest RPI rankings (May 11). The Lobos are the second-highest ranked Mountain West team. No. 14 TCU and No. 93 San Diego State are the other MWC representatives in the top-100. New Mexico has two victories over No. 5 Texas, No. 62 USC, No. 77 New Mexico State, five wins over No. 93 San Diego State and one win over No. 14 TCU and No. 44 Texas Tech.