March 9, 2004
THIS WEEK IN LOBO BASEBALL:
New Mexico (2-9-1) at TCU (8-7)
ALL GAMES AT LUPTON STADIUM (2,500) * FORT WORTH, TEXAS
SCHEDULE (TIMES LISTED, CENTRAL):
Friday, March 12 * 7 p.m. Saturday, March 13 * 3 p.m.. Sunday, March 14 * 1 p.m.
MEDIA COVERAGE: Live stats available at www.GoFrogs.com and www.GoLobos.com. To access at either page, go to the right side on the front page of the website and look under the upcoming events box.
For live audio provided by TCU, click here
PROJECTED PITCHING ROTATION:
Friday: UNM: #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (0-2, 5.60 ERA, 10 K, 17.2 IP) vs. TCU: #21 RH Sr. Clayton Jerome (3-1, 2.93 ERA, 29 K, 30.1 IP)
Saturday: UNM: #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (1-2, 5.21 ERA, 16 K, 19.0 IP) vs. TCU: #31 LH Sr. Eugene Espineli (1-0, 3.71 ERA, 25 K, 26.2 IP)
Sunday: UNM: TBA TCU: TBA
STORYLINE: The New Mexico baseball team travels to Fort Worth, Texas, this weekend (March 12-14) for a three-game series against TCU at Lupton Stadium. The series opens Friday at 7 p.m. CT, followed by Saturday at 3 p.m. CT. The finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. Live stats of this weekend's games will be available at TCU's website, www.GoFrogs.com, and also on the right side of the front page on www.GoLobos.com.
UNM enters the week with a 2-9-1 mark. The Lobos fell in two of three games to UC Santa Barbara last weekend at Isotopes Park, but did win the finale on March 7, 6-3. The Lobos continue to play top notch competition, as 10 of their first 12 games have come against winning teams. Their schedule is ranked the 13th most difficult in the nation.
The Lobos have played the 13th toughest schedule in the nation.
TCU heads into the week with an 8-7 record. The Horned Frogs will play No. 19 Arizona in Round Rock, Texas, before hosting the Lobos.
WEEKEND UPDATE - UC SANTA BARBARA RECAP: UC Santa Barbara took two of three games from the Lobos last weekend at Isotopes Park (March 6-7).
With Friday's game cancelled due to inclement weather, the Gauchos and Lobos squared off for a doubleheader on Saturday. In game one, UCSB took an 8-1 lead after four and a half innings, but the Lobos stormed back, scoring three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth, cutting the lead to 8-6. The Gauchos scored one run in the last three innings, however, to take a four-run lead into the bottom of the ninth. UNM plated three runs in the comeback effort in the ninth on two hits and three Gaucho balks, but it wasn't enough to take the lead.
The Lobos were close again in game two, leading 6-5 after six innings. The lead was lost in the Gaucho seventh as Taylor Vogt blasted a three-run homer over the center-field fence, giving UCSB an 8-6 advantage. UNM trimmed the lead to one in the bottom of the seventh on Tim Grady's first career homer, but again the Lobos wouldn't get any closer.
New Mexico finally reversed its fortunes in close games with a 6-3 triumph over UCSB in Sunday's finale. Down 2-1 in the eighth, the Lobos tied the game and then loaded the bases for Ryan Barba. Barba delivered, sending a shot over the left-field wall for a grand slam, giving UNM a commanding 6-2 lead. Cooper Eddy fired a seven-hit complete game for UNM with seven strikeouts to earn his first win in the Cherry & Silver.
DON'T LEAVE FOR THE BALLPARK WITHOUT THEM - CAN'T MISS NOTES:
* TCU leads the all-time series vs. New Mexico, 11-7. The Lobos won the last meeting, 17-16, in 1999.
* Seven of the Lobos first 12 games have come against teams either ranked in the Top 25 or receiving votes in the national polls, and 10 of the games have come against teams with a winning record. Texas A&M moved up two spots this week to No. 12, while Nebraska was ranked No. 23 when UNM faced the Huskers. Arkansas was receiving votes in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll. UNM's schedule is currently rated the 13th toughest in the nation.
*The Lobos won their first game in their new facility, Isotopes Park, with a 6-3 win over UCSB March 7. UNM is 1-6-1 all-time at Isotopes Park.
GET OUT THOSE BINOCULARS - LOBOS TO WATCH:
* Junior Matt Young, the Lobo leadoff hitter, is UNM's offensive spark. He leads the team in runs (14, T-8th in MWC) and is third in batting with a .340 average.
* Freshman third baseman Daniel Stovall has exploded onto the scene with impressive numbers in his nine games. Stovall is second in the league in slugging (.645), seventh in batting (.355) and tied for sixth in homers (two).
* Junior transfer pitcher Cooper Eddy earned his first win as a Lobo March 7 vs. UCSB, firing a seven-hit complete game with seven strikeouts and only one walk. Eddy has a 3.60 ERA in his last two games with 13 K's in 15 innings.
* Sophomore second baseman Ryan Barba was the hero in the Lobos' 6-3 win over UCSB. Barba tied a career high with five RBI in the game, including a grand slam in the eighth inning - his first career homer - to propel the Lobos to the victory. He leads the Lobos with 10 RBI.
AROUND THE HORN...
OFFENSIVELY: The Lobos, traditionally a powerful offense force, struggled at the plate in their first nine games, but heated up last weekend. UNM batted .366 against UCSB with 41 hits in the series, including a season-high 17 in game one on March 6, to rise the season batting average from .243 to .276. New Mexico is still getting outscored at a pace of 95-57, and the 57 runs are the lowest in the MWC.
DEFENSIVELY: The Lobos have commited 20 errors for a .957 fielding percentage (opponents - 14 E, .970 pct.). On the basepaths, runners have stolen 14-of-19 bases. Second baseman Ryan Barba is sixth in the MWC with 11 double plays and seventh with 34 assists.
PITCHING: Opponents are batting .297 against UNM pitching and have scored 95 runs - although 23 of them are unearned. UNM's staff ERA is 6.06 compared to opponents' 4.04. The staggering difference is the walk-to-strikeout ratio (UNM - 76 K, 63 BB; Opponents - 79 K, 25 BB). The starter's ERA is 5.66 compared to the bullpen's 6.75.
LOBOS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: While it's a little early in the season to be looking at strength ratings, it's always nice to know where a team stacks up nationally.
The Lobos are ranked 105th in the nation in the Boyd's World College Baseball ISR rankings and 143rd nationally in the Boyd's World College Baseball Pseudo-RPI rankings released March 7. The ISR (Iterative Strength Rating) measures the quality of a team's season to date by combining their winning percentage with the difficulty of their schedule. The Ratings Power Index (RPI) is the official NCAA formula designed to aid the selection committee for each sport in choosing the tournament field. It is based on a combination of a team's winning percentage, their opponents' winning percentage, and their opponents' opponents' winning percentage, with bonuses and penalties involved for road wins against top teams or home losses to lower-ranked teams.
According to Boyd's World, the Lobos also have played the 13th-toughest schedule in the nation. The Mountain West Conference is currently ranked 18th in the nation out of 31 leagues. UNLV is the highest rated team in the MWC with a Pseudo-RPI of 31.
PLAYER NOTES -
A GLANCE AT THE LOBO STARTING PITCHERS: Two of the three weekend starters have been set, with Sunday's pitcher still unannounced. Freshman lefty Danny Ray Herrera will start on the weekend for the fourth consecutive time and will start on Friday, while junior right-hander Cooper Eddy will start on Saturday, which will also be his fourth start of the season.
Gm. 1, Friday, March 12, 7 p.m. CT: #2 Fr. LH Danny Ray Herrera - 0-2, 5.60 ERA
* Lefty has been impressive in his first three starts against top-notch competition (Nebraska, Texas A&M and UC Santa Barbara)
* Keeps hitters off balance with off-speed pitches, including an excellent changeup
* In front of over 7,000 fans at Olsen Field against host 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
*Tenth in the MWC in opposing batting average (.296).
Gm. 2, Saturday, March 13, 3 p.m. CT: #20 Jr. RH Cooper Eddy - 1-2, 5.21 ERA
* Powerful pitcher who throws in the low 90's
* Leads team in innings pitched (19.0) and strikeouts (16)
* Lost his first two starts against Kent State (Feb. 20) and Arkansas (Feb. 29)
* Pitched six strong innings vs. Arkansas, giving up three runs on eight hits and six strikeouts
* 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
Gm. 3, Sunday, March 14, 1 p.m. CT: TBA
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, is the offensive leader in hits (16) and runs (14, T-8th in MWC).
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. Young was also named to the Aggie Classic All-Tournament Team.
A dynamic defensive player, Young has a perfect fielding percentage in center this season. The Murphy, Texas, native put together a .466 on-base percentage and led the MWC in walks (54) in 2003 while batting .320.
MADER RETURNS TO NATURAL POSITION: 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. Mader, a 2003 first-team All-MWC selection, polished his game over the summer playing shortstop in the Alaskan Summer League. A lifetime .367 batter, Mader is heating up at the plate after hitting .429 against UCSB. Overall, he is batting .326 with five RBI.
BARBA SOLID AT SECOND: Sophomore second baseman Ryan Barba leads the team with 10 RBI after his career-tying five RBI performance in UNM's 6-3 win over UCSB on March 7. Barba hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, breaking a 2-2 tie to propel the Lobos to victory.
Barba is fourth on the team in batting (.333) and runs scored (14). 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 BRINGS EXPLOSIVE BAT BACK TO THE LINEUP: Senior and 2003 first-team All-MWC selection Joe Salas returns for his final season in the Cherry & Silver after breaking out last year with 16 homers and 56 RBI in addition to a .366 batting average. Salas, who will primarily be the Lobos' designated hitter, is also slated as the team's closer on the mound. Although Salas is struggling at the plate this season with a .174 average, he hit .333 with three RBI in last weekend's series against UCSB.
FERNANDEZ LOOKING FOR CONSISTENCY ON THE MOUND: Right-hander Jason Fernandez is 1-2 on the mound this season, but has looked very impressive at times.
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. Fernadez limited the Razorbacks, who were previously undefeated and ranked No. 28 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll, to one run and only eight base runners. However, in his latest start vs. UCSB, he took the loss after giving up eight runs and 10 hits in 4.2 innings of work. Fernandez is still second on the team in ERA (4.86) and strikeouts (11).
HOT BAT AT THE HOT CORNER: Freshman Daniel Stovall is second in the Mountain West with a .645 slugging percentage and seventh with a 355 batting average. He hit .444 (4-for-9) last weekend vs. UCSB.
Stovall hit his first career homer Feb. 28 vs. Arkansas and followed it with another shot the same day against Texas A&M. The powerful hitter also blasted two doubles in his first collegiate start vs. No. 23 Nebraska.
SPIT THIS: Sophomore catcher A.J. Spitaleri was on fire at the plate last weekend vs. UCSB, collecting five hits in seven at-bats (.714) with three runs and an RBI. His RBI infield single in the bottom of the eighth vs. UCSB on March 7 tied the game before Barba nailed his grand slam. A.J. currently leads the team in batting (.391) and on-base percentage (.440).
EDDY NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Junior right-hander Cooper Eddy showed why he was the projected number one starter at the beginning of the season with a masterful seven-hit complete game win over UCSB on March 7. Eddy (1-2) fanned seven Gauchos and only allowed one walk to earn Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors March 8. The transfer from Tennessee Tech leads the team with 16 strikeouts and 19 innings pitched.
MARK McGWIRE USELESS STAT OF THE WEEK
"When I broke in, they didn't keep track of things the way they do now. These days they have a stat for how many times a guy goes for a cup of coffee." - Mark McGwire
The Lobos play two games on even dates this weekend. So far this season, they are 0-5-1 on even dates, and 3-3 on odd dates.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - TCU (8-7)
TCU enters the week with an 8-7 record after beating St. John's twice and losing to Texas-Arlington over the weekend. The Horned Frogs will play Arizona on Thursday, March 11 at Round Rock, Texas, before hosting New Mexico.
TCU is batting .306 as a team and is led by Chad Huffman, who is batting .403 with two homers and eight RBI. Shelby Ford is the team's leading power hitter with a .355 average, six homers and 18 RBI.
The pitching staff's ERA is 6.09 and opponents are batting .289 against them. Clayton Jerome is the ace of the staff with a 3-1 record and 2.93 ERA.
HEAD COACH: Jim Schlossnagle. Overall record: 85-54 (3rd year). Record at TCU: 8-7 (1st year).
TCU leads, 11-7.
Last meeting: UNM 17, TCU 16 (1999)
Last TCU win: TCU 4, UNM 3 (1999)
Coach Alday vs. TCU: 4-10 (Home: 3-6; Away: 1-4)
TCU RESULTS (8-7): Feb. 5 - TCU 13, Dallas Baptist 12 Feb. 7 - Dallas Baptist 10, TCU 9 Feb. 15 - Texas State 7, TCU 4 Feb. 15 - Texas State 6, TCU 2 Feb. 17 - Texas Arlington 11, TCU 0 Feb. 19 - TCU 14, Oklahoma State 6 Feb. 20 - TCU 6, Dallas Baptist 1 Feb. 21 - TCU 7, Furman 2 Feb. 24 - Oklahoma State 7, TCU 5 Feb. 27 - TCU 6, Texas Tech 4 Feb. 28 - TCU 8, Texas Tech 5 Feb. 29 - Texas Tech 19, TCU 9 March 5 - TCU 13, St. John's 9 March 6 - TCU 3, St. John's 2 March 7 - Texas-Arlington 8, TCU 7