June 6, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - University of New Mexico freshman outfielder and Albuquerque-native Ryan Padilla has been named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team by Collegiate Baseball newspaper Tuesday. He is the second Lobo in as many years to earn Freshman All-American honors and the sixth since 2002.
This is just one of many honors for Padilla this season. He was named to the All-Mountain West second team for his performance during conference play and was named the National Hitter of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association for the week of May 14-20. He also won Mountain West Player of the Week for that same period.
Padilla helped the Lobos win their first regular-season conference championship since 2000 and their second straight Mountain West Tournament championship, as well as making the NCAA regionals for the third consecutive year.
"It's an honor," he said about being named to the team.
It is certainly a well-deserved honor for the former La Cueva star. Padilla hit .353 with 19 doubles, five home runs, 49 RBIs, a .430 on base percentage, and a .525 slugging percentage, all of which ranked third on UNM behind only All-Americans DJ Peterson and Mitchell Garver. He also chipped in with 49 runs, 79 hits, two triples, 116 total bases, and four stolen bases.
UNM head coach Ray Birmingham was impressed with the improvements Padilla made throughout the season.
"He had a lot of flaws like all high school kids have," he said. "You can get away with them in high school, but you can't get away with them at this level.
"He had a little success in the fall early, but then he didn't have any once they figured out how to pitch to him. Then he bought in. He made the changes."
Other Lobos to earn Freshman All-American honors include Peterson (2011), Rafael Neda (2008), Jordan Pacheco (2005), Daniel Stovall (2004), Matt Young (2002), Lon Yamaguchi (1996), and Travis Young (1994).