May 21, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - University of New Mexico outfielder Ryan Padilla has earned Mountain West Baseball Player of the Week honors for games played from May 14-20, 2012. It is his first honor of the season.
Padilla, a freshman from Albuquerque, N.M., hit .588 (10-of-17) for the week as the Lobos beat Rio Grande Rival New Mexico State and swept Air Force to earn a share of the 2012 MW regular-season title. Padilla recorded multiple hits in all four games, scored five runs and drove in 10. He only struck out once in 17 at-bats. In Tuesday's 12-10 come-from-behind win against the Aggies, Padilla went 2-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI, a run, and a walk. In a 22-4 win over Air Force on Thursday, he went 2-for-4 with three runs, five RBI and was hit by pitches twice. His home run was the Lobos' first grand slam since Feb. 28, 2009. Against the Falcons in Friday's 9-1 win, he reached base in all five plate appearances with four singles and a hit-by-pitch. He drove in one run as well. On Saturday, with a share of the Conference title on the line, he went 2-for-4 with a run scored, two RBI, a double, a walk and made a diving catch in right field in the 11-5 win.
UNM head coach Ray Birmingham has been impressed with the improvements Padilla has been making all 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."
The changes have certainly worked because Padilla is having a season worthy of a Freshman All-American. He finished the regular season with a .376 batting average, good for third in the MW behind teammates DJ Peterson and Mitchell Garver. He also has scored 43 runs, driven in 44, and knocked out 73 hits, including 18 doubles, two triples, and three home runs. He has also swiped four bases.
This is the 12th Player/Pitcher of the Week Award for the Lobos this season. It is the most the program has ever had in a single year, besting the mark of nine set by the 2000 squad. UNM has proven its depth as seven different players have been honored this season.
Note: Padilla was also named the National Hitter of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He is the first player from the MW to win the award this season.
2012 Mountain West Baseball Players of the Week
Feb. 20 - Garrett Custons, Jr., C/OF, Air Force
Feb. 28 - Josh Melendez, So., OF, New Mexico
March 5 - Matt Muñoz, Fr., 2B, San Diego State
March 12 - D.J. Peterson, So., 3B/1B, New Mexico
March 19 - D.J. Peterson, So., 3B/1B, New Mexico
March 26 - Mitchell Garver, Jr., C/OF, New Mexico
April 3 - Trevor Kirk, Sr., OF, UNLV
April 9 - D.J. Peterson, So., 3B/1B, New Mexico; Chris Wilson, Sr., OF/C, San Diego State
April 16 - Mitchell Garver, Jr., C/OF, New Mexico
April 23 - Ben Woodchick, Sr., OF, New Mexico
April 30 - Mitchell Garver, Jr., C/OF, New Mexico
May 7 - Derek Odell, Fr., 2B, TCU
May 14 - Jason Coats, Sr., OF, TCU
May 21 - Ryan Padilla, Fr., OF, New Mexico
2012 Mountain West Baseball Pitchers of the Week
Feb. 20 - Preston Morrison, Fr., RHP, TCU
Feb. 28 - Andrew Mitchell, So., RHP, TCU
March 5 - Stefan Crichton, So., RHP, TCU
March 12 - Gera Sanchez, Sr., RHP, New Mexico
March 19 - Austin House, Jr., RHP, New Mexico
March 26 - No nominations
April 3 - Erick Fedde, Fr., RHP, UNLV
April 9 - Austin House, Jr., RHP, New Mexico; Evan Abrecht, Sr., RHP, Air Force
April 16 - Andrew Mitchell, So., RHP, TCU
April 23 - Zack Hartman, So., RHP, UNLV
April 30 - Justin Hepner, So., RHP, San Diego State
May 7 - Ben Bertelson, Jr., LHP, Air Force
May 14 - Preston Morrison, Fr., RHP, TCU
May 21 - Preston Morrison, Fr., RHP, TCU