New Mexico Invades Arizona For Three-Game Series
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/16/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 16, 2006

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

UP NEXT FOR THE LOBOS: New Mexico, 3-2 overall, head to Arizona taking on one of its oldest rivals. The Lobos are 3-1 on the road while Arizona is 2-1 at home and 4-2 overall.

On Friday, the Lobos and Wildcats face off at 4 p.m. at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium. Junior right-handed pitcher Nate Melek is slated to start against Mark Melancon. Melek is 0-1 with a 1.12 ERA in one appearance while Melancon is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances.

Two southpaws are set to square off on Saturday at 1 p.m. Junior Danny Ray Herrera will pitch for the Lobos while Eric Berger gets the nod for Arizona. Herrera is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA and nine strikeouts in two starts. Berger is 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA, seven strikeouts and just one walk in two starts.

Senior Darren Coltrinari, is slated to make the noon start for New Mexico and either lefty Brad Mills or righty Mike Colla will start for UA. Coltrinari is 0-0 with a 2.84 ERA in one appearance. Mills is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA while Colla is 0-0 iwth a 6.43 ERA in two appearances.

Live stats are available for free on Arizona's official athletic website, www.ArizonaAthletics.com. College Sports Direct, in partnership with the Wildcats, will have live video of the games for a small fee. The games can be viewed from with Arizona's website or College Sports Direct's site at www.collegesportsdirect.com".

A LOOK AT THE LOBOS: New Mexico is hitting just .204 as a team but is 3-2 thanks to their pitching staff. The Lobos hold a 3.26 ERA, the lowest it's been since 1968 , which posted a 2.87 ERA. They have allowed just 18 runs through 47.0 innings and have given up just one extra-base hit. The Lobos have relied on their defense, fielding .977 as a team, including 10 with perfect percentages. The defense has turned 11 double plays in five games, caught five runners stealing and have to pickoffs.

Freshmen Max Willett and Zach Arnett hold the two highest batting averages on the team (.500 and .375, respectively) but have not played in half of UNM's games. Junior Chris Carlson has the best average of everyday players at .294. Carlson leads the team in hits and RBI. He and junior Daniel Stovall at the only two Lobos to hit home runs so far. Juniors Jay Russell and Matt Foote lead the team in runs scored (4) while sophomore Jordan Pacheco had drawn a team-high six walks.

Senior Nate Melek holds the team's lowest ERA at 1.12 but earned their first loss in a four-hit, two-run complete game. Junior Danny Ray Herrera (2.03 ERA) has pitched the most innings for New Mexico, throwing 13.1 in two starts. He has sat down a team-high nine batters. Melek along with junior reliever Damon Miller (1.93 ERA) and freshman reliever Chace Lankford (2.08 ERA) have allowed the fewest earned runs on the team, all with one. Herrera is the only multiple-game starter but Lankford leads the team in appearances, going 1-1 with a save in three outings.

SCOUTING ARIZONA: Arizona in 4-2 overall after two three-game series with Loyola Marymount and UC Riverside. The Wildcats won both series, 2-1. They hit .309 as a team, scoring 40 runs in their first six games. The team has a 4.58 ERA, allowing 60 hits in 53 innings pitched. Defensively, they field .940 and have turned just one double play.

The Wildcats have seven players with a .300 batting average or higher. Konrad Schmidt leads the team in hits (9) with a .375 avg. Brad Boyer (.320) and Jason Donald (.308) lead the team in runs scored (6) while Donald and Jon Gaston (.313) have hit the team's only home runs. T.J. Steele hits .304 with a team-high eight RBI.

Mark Melancon and Daniel Schlereth have shined for the Arizona pitching staff. Melancon, the Wildcats' all-time save leader, will make his first start on Friday, giving the closing role to Schlereth. Both have perfect ERAs in 7.2 innings of work. Both have allowed just two hits and one walk while Schlereth has fanned nine and Melancon, seven. Brad Mills has two of UA's four wins. Mills holds a 3.24 ERA, making one start in two appearances for 8.1 innings.

UNM VS. ARIZONA, THE SERIES: Arizona has won 23 consecutive games against New Mexico, dating back to Feb. 1, 1997. The last time UNM won was Jan. 31, 1997, 7-3 in 11 innings.

The Wildcats hold a 30-147 series lead, including a 13-95 record in Tucson. The last game, a 14-3 UNM loss on April 19, was the first time Arizona played in Albuquerque since April 8, 1978. The teams played 47 consecutive games between those dates in Tucson.

Arizona also holds the series lead in Albuquerque, posting a 35-17 record.

RETURNING HOME: It didn't take sophomore catcher Drew McDonald long to make the trip back home. McDonald, a Tucson native, transfered to New Mexico this semester after spending the first year and a half of his collegiate career at Arizona. McDonald saw limited time at Arizona last season and didn't want to split time this year, making the move to Albuquerque, where he has started three of the first five games.

HOME SWEET HOME: Albuquerque native, freshman Zach Arnett put on a show is his home debut as a Lobo on Tuesday. Arnett, who was hitless in his first collegiate appearance on the road, went 3-for-5 with two RBI against Texas Tech.

CLOSING CALL: Freshman Chace Lankford has answered the call to the bullpen, taking the ball to close out three of New Mexico's first five games. Lankford is 1-1 with a save. He has thrown 4.1 innings, allowing just four hits, one run and one walk while striking out three. Lankford has the team's fourth lowest ERA at 2.08.

PRIZED PITCHING: The Lobo pitching staff got off to an incredible start, allowing just 10 runs in their first four games. Last season, they allowed 10 or less over a four-game stretch just once. Their opponents averaged 9.25 runs per game against UNM last season.

To start a season, the last time New Mexico allowed 10 runs its first four games was in 1969. Since then, the Lobos have allowed less that 20 runs in their first four games only seven times with five of them coming in the 1970s. The most recent season which saw the Lobos give up less than 20 in the first four games was 2000, which allowed 11.

FORESEEING THE FUTURE?: Even though it is extremely early in the season, the Lobos have not held a 3-1 record in their first four games of the season since 2000. That season the Lobos went on to a 35-21 record, including a 22-8 mark in the Mountain West, earning the first MWC Championship.