Feb. 10, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- After one of their best seasons in recent history, the University of New Mexico baseball team has been selected third in the 2009 Mountain West Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league's coaches and selected members of the media. The voting panel also named four Lobos to the 2009 Preseason All-Mountain West Conference Team - Kevin Atkinson, Mike Brownstein, Brian Cavazos-Galvez and Rafael Neda - tied for the most players named to the team with 2008 MWC champion TCU.
"It is great to see the rest of the league recognize what we are working to accomplish at New Mexico," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "We still have some work to do to earn that MWC championship and the four young men that have been named to the preseason team are playing a big part in moving us forward. I'm excited for Kevin, Mike, Brian and Rafael. Now we have to step on the field and get it done."
In 2008, the Lobos had one of their most successful seasons with a 34-25 overall record and a second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference. Eight Lobos were named to the 2008 All-MWC teams, including first team outfielder Cavazos-Galvez, and second teamers Atkinson, Brownstein and Neda. Neda, the 2008 MWC Freshman of the Year, was named to four Freshman All-America teams. Three Lobos moved on to the professional ranks in pitchers Bobby LaFromboise and Stephen Smith, and shortstop/pitcher Scott Gracey.
The Lobos begin the 2009 season on Friday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi comes to town for a four-game series at Isotopes Park.
2009 MWC Preseason Poll
1. TCU - 75 points (9 1st-place votes)
2. San Diego State - 56 (1)
3. New Mexico - 52 (1)
4. BYU - 47
5. Utah - 31
6. UNLV - 30
7. Air Force - 14
2009 Preseason All-MWC Team
Catcher - Rafael Neda, So., New Mexico
First Base - Kevin Atkinson, Sr., New Mexico
Second Base - Mike Brownstein, Sr., New Mexico
Second Base - Ben Carruthers, Sr., TCU
Third Base - Matt Carpenter, Sr., TCU
Shortstop - Michael Beltran, So., Utah
Outfield - Brian Cavazos-Galvez, Sr., New Mexico
Outfield - Sean McNaughton, Jr., BYU
Outfield - Chris Ellington, Sr., TCU
Pitcher - Stephen Strasburg, Jr., San Diego State
Pitcher - Tyler Lockwood, Jr., TCU
Utility/Designated Hitter - Matt Alexander, Jr., Air Force
Utility/Designated Hitter - Jesse Wight, Sr., UNLV