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Lobo Baseball Travels to Las Vegas to take on UNLV
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/31/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 31, 2010

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Fresh off a three-game sweep of San Diego State, the University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team heads to Las Vegas, Nev. to take on UNLV on April 1-3 at Earl E. Wilson Stadium at Roger Barnson Field. First pitch for Friday and Saturday's games will be at 8 p.m. MT. Sunday's game will be played at 2 p.m. MT. The Lobos are currently in first place in the MWC with a 4-2 record and are 17-9 overall. UNLV is 15-10 on the season and is ranked sixth in the league with a 1-2 record.

The Lobos return home on April 8-10 and take on the BYU Cougars. All three games against BYU will be broadcast live on 101.7 FM (KQTM) The TEAM. Scott Galetti will call the action alongside former Lobo baseball player Rick Ronquillo (1978-83).

SCOUTING UNLV

• The Rebels are 15-10 on the season, 5-5 in their last 10 games and 13-6 at home this season.

• UNLV is coached by Buddy Gouldsmith, who is in his fifth year coaching the Rebels with a 147-156 (.485) record. . • The Rebels return six players with starting experience, 24 letterwinners and 11 starting pitchers from last year's squad.

• UNLV is led at the plate by freshman outfielder Brandon Bayardi, who is hitting .391 on the season. Bayardi has 11 doubles and 25 RBIs. Junior catcher Drew Beuerlein leads the Mountain West Conference in RBIs with 32.

• The Rebels are ranked third in the MWC with a .328 team batting average.

• UNLV is led on the mound by senior right-handed pitcher Matt Hutchison, who is 3-0 on the season and has an ERA of 2.39. He is ranked second in the MWC in ERA, seventh with 31 strikeouts and tied for second with four saves.

• The Rebels are ranked sixth in the MWC with a 7.15 team ERA.

• The Lobos will likely face sophomore right-hander Tanner Peters on Thursday, senior right-hander Stephen Singer on Friday and Hutchison on Sunday. Peters is 2-2 on the season and has a 7.53 ERA. Peters leads the league in strikeouts with 50. Singer is 1-3 on the season with a 4.68 ERA.

SERIES HISTORY

UNLV leads the all-time series against the Lobos, 72-49 and hold a 53-25 advantage at home. The Rebels took two of three from the Lobos last season on May 1-3. New Mexico swept UNLV in its last trip to Vegas on May 9-11, 2008.

HONEYCUTT NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Junior Ryan Honeycutt has been named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week as announced by the conference office on Monday. Honeycutt hit .526 last week going 10-for-19 with seven RBIs and one grand slam.

This is the first weekly award for Honeycutt at New Mexico. In Friday's game against San Diego State, Honeycutt took the first pitch he saw over the right field for a grand slam that propelled the Lobos to a 12-7 win. The Las Cruces native tied a career-high with five RBIs in a single game in game one against the Aztecs.

LOBO PITCHING GETS THE JOB DONE AGAINST AZTECS

Junior Richard Olson and freshman Bobby Mares have become mainstays in the Lobo starting rotation and both picked up their second wins of the season against San Diego State this past weekend. Olson scattered eight hits in seven innings and had a career-high eight strikeouts. The Sydney, Australia native started the season as a relief pitcher and has developed into the Lobos' Friday night guy. Mares is 2-0 on the season and has been as good as advertised. Mares put in 6.1 innings of work against SDSU and had a career-high six strikeouts. The right-hander from El Paso, Texas has 16 strikeouts on the season and has started the last two Sundays for the Lobos.

IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS

As a team the Lobos rank fourth in the nation in doubles (75) and hits with 334. New Mexico also is ranked 13th in the NCAA with a .350 batting average.

Senior Justin Howard is ranked first in the nation with 50 hits, No. 41 with a .439 batting average and tied for 11th with 12 doubles. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is tied for 25th in the nation with 11 doubles.

Sophomore Gera Sanchez is tied for 18th in the NCAA with five saves.

LEADERS OF THE PACK

Senior Justin Howard continues to lead the Lobos in batting average at a .439 clip. He also leads the team in on-base percentage (.504), doubles (12), runs scored (29) and hits (50). Howard has the longest hitting streak in the nation at 27 games dating back to May 21, 2009. All-America candidate Rafael Neda is hitting .352 on the season and leads the team in RBIs (28).

The Lobo pitching staff is led by junior Richard Olson, who has an ERA of 3.30 and is 2-2 on the season. Olson has pitched 30 innings this season and has 30 strikeouts to just 12 walks. Senior Willy Kesler has a 4.54 ERA, is 1-1 on the season and leads the team in strikeouts with 37.

TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST STATISTICS

The Lobos lead the Mountain West Conference with a .350 batting average and in doubles with 75. The Lobo pitching staff has the most strikeouts in the conference with 191 and is fourth in the conference with a 5.72 ERA.

Several Lobo hitters are making their presence known in the MWC rankings. Senior Justin Howard leads the league with a .439 batting average and in on-base percentage (.504), junior Ryan Honeycutt is tied for fourth with a .396 batting average and senior Chris Juarez is ranked 10th, hitting .383. Howard is tied for the lead in the league in doubles with 12 and junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is tied for third with 11. Neda is ranked fourth in the conference in RBIs with 28.

The pitching staff is just as impressive in the MWC rankings. Junior Richard Olson is ranked sixth in the conference with a 3.30 ERA and eighth with 30 strikeouts. Senior Willy Kesler is ranked third in the conference with 37 strikeouts. Senior Edwin Carl is tied for fourth in the league with 12 batters stuck out looking. Sophomore Gera Sanchez leads the league in saves with five.

On defense, Howard is tied for the lead in fielding percentage (1.000) and is ranked first in putouts with 225.

LOBOS IN THE NATIONAL POLLS

The Lobos are receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association top-30 poll.

The Lobos are also ranked No. 31 in boydsworld.com's RPI index. The Lobos are the highest ranked Mountain West team. No. 32 TCU, No. 63 Utah, No. 85, No. 93 BYU and No. 97 San Diego State round out the MWC teams in the top-100 . The Lobos have two victories over No. 14 Texas, No. 49 USC, No. 75 New Mexico State and three over No. 97 San Diego State. The Lobos face five more teams this season in the top-100, Arkansas (11), TCU (32), Texas Tech (55), San Diego State (85) and BYU (93).

COACH BIRMINGHAM GETS WIN NO. 900

Lobo baseball head coach Ray Birmingham earned his 900th career victory in a 15-14 extra-innings win over Louisiana Tech in game one of a doubleheader on March 13. Down, 14-8 in the bottom of the 10th inning the Lobos got seven runs off seven hits to seal the come-from-behind victory. The Lobos swept the four-game series over Louisiana Tech and picked up one win against Utah. Birmingham is now 906-380-2 (.703) in his 23-year career.

KESLER HAS CAREER DAY AGAINST UTAH

Senior right-hand pitcher Willy Kesler pitched the best game of his career in a 5-2 win over the Utah Utes on March 20. The Thornton, Colo., native threw the first complete game of his career and had a career-high 13 strikeouts. He is the first Lobo pitcher to throw a complete game this season and the first since sophomore Rudy Jaramillo did it on May 1, 2009 in an 8-4 win over UNLV. Kesler is also the first Lobo to throw more than 10 strikeouts since April 11, 2008 when Bobby LaFromboise threw 10.

HONEYCUTT HAS A PERFECT SATURDAY

Junior designated hitter Ryan Honeycutt was a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate March 20, in a 5-2 win over Utah. Honeycutt had three RBIs on the day including the two go-ahead runs in the top of the fifth inning that broke a 2-2 tie and put the Lobos on top 4-2.

GONZALEZ WALKS OFF TWICE

Senior Daniel Gonzalez had two walk-off singles in a doubleheader against Louisiana Tech on March 13. The Mesquite, N.M., native knocked in two RBIs with a shot to left center in the bottom of the tenth inning of game one. In the nightcap Gonzalez played the hero once more by hitting a single up the middle to score a runner from second. Gonzalez was 9-for-18 on the weekend with 11 RBIs. Coming into the series with Louisiana Tech, Gonzalez only had six RBIs.

LACHAPELLE PICKS UP TWO WINS IN ONE WEEK

Junior Mike Lachapelle scattered nine hits over eight innings and earned his second win of the season in a 13-4 victory over New Mexico State on March 10 and scattered five hits over 5.1 innings in relief against Louisiana Tech on March 14 for his second win of the week.. Lachapelle fanned 13 batters on the week. His outing against New Mexico State was the longest outing for Lachapelle this season.

HONEYCUTT HEATS UP AGAINST NMSU

Junior Ryan Honeycutt went 6-for-8 in two games against New Mexico State on March 9-10. Honeycutt had one double and two RBIs in the two-game series with State. The Las Cruces, N.M., native is now hitting .396 on the season.

JARAMILLO SHUTS DOWN TROJANS

Sophomore left-hander Rudy Jaramillo picked up his first win of the season, scattering five hits over eight innings to lead the Lobos to a 3-2 victory over USC on March 5. Jaramillo gave up two runs on three hits in the first inning but only allowed two hits over the next seven innings to thwart the Trojan attack. Jaramillo struck out one batter.

YOUNG GUNS

The underclassmen on the team keep coming up with veteran plays. Freshman Alex Allbritton is fourth on the team in batting average at a .359 clip and has started all 26 games at third base. Allbritton was a home run shy of hitting through the cycle on March 14. The Aurora, Colo., native had a single, two doubles and a triple on the day with one RBI.

Freshman Mitchell Garver went 2-for-3 with three RBIs against Arizona on March 24 and came up big on Feb. 26, in a 7-5 win over Northern Colorado. Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Garver was at the plate with the bases loaded and went opposite field down the right field line for a bases-clearing triple to put the Lobos on top, 6-5. Garver got his first career start at catcher in the second game of the Feb. 27 doubleheader with Northern Colorado.

Freshman Bobby Mares picked up the second win of his collegiate career in a 5-4 win over San Diego State on March 28. Mares pitched 6.1 innings giving up three runs on four hits while striking out six.

NEW MEXICO BOYS GETTING THE JOB DONE

New Mexico natives Mitchell Garver (Albuquerque), Gera Sanchez (Las Cruces), Austin House (Albuquerque) and Edwin Carl (Farmington) all had a hand in taking three of four from Northern Colorado on Feb. 26-28. Garver got a clutch bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the eighth on Feb. 26 in a 7-5 come-from-behind win. Sanchez came on in the bottom of the eighth in a Feb. 27, 5-2 game one win. Sanchez gave up one hit and shut the Bears down over the last two frames to earn the first win of his Division I career. Carl picked up his first win of the season pitching 2.2 scoreless innings, striking out four of the 12 batters he faced in the Feb. 26 7-5 win. House picked up the first save of his collegiate career in that game as well.

LOBO BASEBALL ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH 101.7 THE TEAM

The University of New Mexico baseball team and Lobo Sports Properties are proud to announce 101.7 The TEAM (KQTM FM) as its radio partner for the 2010 season. For the first time in program history, Lobo baseball will be featured on FM radio. The TEAM will carry 30 games from Isotopes Park and on the road.

Calling the action for Lobo home games will be Lobo football and men's basketball play-by-play announcer Scott Galetti. Galetti has covered Lobo athletics for the last two years and previously called baseball for Long Beach State University and the High Desert Mavericks, the single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

Of the 13 games left to be broadcast on 101.7 The TEAM, 7 will be from the friendly confines of Isotopes Park. The broadcasts will feature key home series with BYU (April 8-10), San Francisco (April 20) and TCU (May 7-9).

Fans also will be able to follow the Lobos on the road. Series with San Diego State (April 30-May 2), Utah (May 20-22) and the Mountain West Tournament from San Diego, Calif. (May 25-29) also will be available.

HARVESTING NEW MEXICO TALENT

Of the 33 rostered Lobo baseball players, 11 are from the Land of Enchantment. Oscar Almeida (Albuquerque) Devon Conley (Rio Rancho), Mitchell Garver (Albuquerque), Daniel Gonzalez (Mesquite), Austin House (Albuquerque), Kenny Toves (Carlsbad), Edwin Carl (Farmington), Gera Sanchez (Las Cruces), Steven Florez (Mesilla), Cody Volker (Albuquerque) and Ryan Honeycutt (Las Cruces,) all played their high school ball in New Mexico.

ALL-AMERICAN CANDIDATE Rafael Neda NAMED TO JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST

University of New Mexico junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda has been named to the 2010 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award delivered by Papa John's Pizza Watch List. Neda is one of 53 catchers up for the prestigious award given to the nation's top catcher. Neda is currently hitting .352 on the season with 28 RBIs, three home runs and nine doubles.

Neda was selected for more than his ability behind the plate. The junior from Obregon, Sonora, Mexico is involved in community service projects including, Power Pals at Kirtland Elementary School, where Lobo baseball players adopt a child to read to once a week and Toys-for-Tots where UNM students provided needy children with gifts at Christmas.

Neda also participated in the La Familia Holiday Party where he helped serve food and signed autographs for children. He also took part in a free camp put on by Lobo baseball for children of U.S. soldiers serving in the military. Neda also helped with the UNM Back Pack Drive, where UNM student-athletes helped fill and distribute backpacks with school supplies to children in need.

The field will be narrowed down to ten semifinalists to be announced on May 19. The finalists will be announced June 2 with the winner being announced at the 13th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on July 1.

LOBOS PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference Preseason Poll. TCU was picked to finish first and received all 10 first-place votes. San Diego State and Utah, 2009 NCAA Regional qualifiers, were picked third and fourth, respectively. BYU was picked to finish fifth, UNLV sixth and Air Force seventh.

In each of the last two seasons New Mexico has finished above its predicted finish in the preseason poll. New Mexico was picked fifth in the 2009 preseason poll and finished second for the second straight year. In 2008 the Lobos were picked to finish fourth in the conference and ended the season in second place.

THREE LOBOS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Senior Max Willett, junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda and junior Ryan Honeycutt were selected to the All-MWC Preseason Team. The Lobos and San Diego State landed the most players on the All-MWC team with three each.

THE SCHEDULE

Head coach Ray Birmingham and his staff have put together one of the toughest schedules in school history for the 2010 season. The Lobos play three teams ranked in Baseball America's preseason top-25, two College World Series participants and five NCAA Regional participants. New Mexico took on preseason No. 1 Texas on Feb. 19-21 and will play preseason No. 17 Arkansas on April 13-14 and preseason No. 11 and favorite to win the MWC regular season championship TCU on May 7-9.

NEDA NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN

Junior catcher Rafael Neda has been named to the Louisville Slugger, Ping!baseball and Pro-Line Athletic Preseason All-American teams. Neda hit .415 last season with seven home runs and 49 RBIs. For the second straight season, Neda was named to the 2009 All-MWC team. Born in Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, Neda will be the anchor of the defense and a true leader on the team.

THREE LOBOS NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS

Seniors Max Willett and Adam Courcha and junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda were selected by their teammates as captains for the 2010 season. Willett is serving his second term as captain and along with Neda are the lone two returning All-MWC performers. Courcha is the definition of a utility player. Over his three-year career he has played viturally every position and will play third base this season.
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