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Second-Place Lobos Travel To First-Place UNLV In Key Mountain West Series This Weekend
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/21/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 21, 2004

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NEXT IN LOBO BASEBALL:

New Mexico (15-19-1, 11-4 MWC) at UNLV (24-14, 11-3)

APRIL 23-25 * LAS VEGAS, NEV. *EARL E. WILSON STADIUM (3,000)

SCHEDULE (TIMES LISTED, PACIFIC):

Friday, April 23 - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 - 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 25 - 1 p.m.

MEDIA COVERAGE: Live audio of all games available on KDEF 1150 AM and www.GoLobos.com with Henry Tafoya, Dan Rivera and Mike Foote calling the action. Gametracker of all games available at www.UNLVRebels.com and www.GoLobos.com.

Gametracker for Friday's Game

Gametracker for Saturday's Game

Gametracker for Sunday's Game

SERIES INFORMATION: UNLV leads 56-34. The Rebels won six of the seven meetings in 2003.

PROJECTED PITCHING ROTATION:

Friday: UNM: #28 RH Jr. Jason Fernanez (5-3, 4.42 ERA, 55.0 IP, 32 K, OBA - .277) vs. UNLV: #24 RH Sr. David Seccombe (5-1, 5.75 ERA, 51.2 IP, 52 K, OBA - .278)

Saturday: UNM: #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (3-4, 4.96 ERA, 52.2 IP, 35 K, OBA - .290) vs. UNLV: #2 LH Sr. Jake Vose (6-2, 4.19 ERA, 68.2 IP, 42 K, OBA - .283)

Sunday: UNM: #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (3-3, 5.64 ERA, 52.2 IP, 35 K, OBA - .326) vs. UNLV: TBA

STORYLINE: New Mexico travels to Las Vegas this weekend (April 23-25) with first place on the line in the Mountain West Conference as the second-place Lobos take on first-place UNLV in a three-game series. The Lobos enter the weekend with an 11-4 league mark (15-19-1 overall), while the Rebels are atop the standings at 11-3 (24-14 overall). UNM swept Air Force last weekend in Colorado Springs.

The series begins Friday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. PT at Earl E. Wilson Stadium, which is also the site of this year's MWC Tournament. Saturday's game starts at 2 p.m. PT and Sunday's finale will be at 1 p.m. PT. Live audio of all games will be available on KDEF 1150 AM and www.GoLobos.com.

QUICK LOOK AT THE LOBOS (15-19-1, 11-4 MWC): The Lobos swept Air Force last weekend to improve to 11-4 in the Mountain West Conference, good for second place...UNM has won nine of its last 12 games overall and eight of its last nine games in conference play...the Lobos set numerous offensive records last weekend at Air Force as they won 10-5 on Friday, 31-11 on Saturday and 18-6 on Sunday...New Mexico lost six of seven games last year to UNLV.

QUICK LOOK AT THE REBELS (24-14, 11-3 MWC): UNLV, who is ranked No. 35 in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll, won two games last weekend at Utah before Sunday's game was cancelled due to rain...they lost to UC Riverside at home on Tuesday, 7-2...the Rebels are 17-8 at home this season...UNLV won the Mountain West last season with a 24-6 record and also claimed the tournament championship.

NOTES FROM THE RECORD-BREAKING AIR FORCE SERIES: New Mexico exploded for 59 runs, 63 hits and 17 home runs in a three-game sweep at Air Force last weekend...the Lobos scored a school and Mountain West record 31 runs in Saturday's 31-11 rout...they also set MWC single-game records for hits (29), RBI (28) and total bases (53) in the game...Joe Salas tied a league and school mark with four doubles in the contest to go along with five hits...in Sunday's 18-6 win, UNM hit a MWC record eight homers, which is also second most in school history (record: 10)...in the series opener, UNM rallied for six runs in the seventh inning to pull out a 10-5 win...as a team, New Mexico hit .477 in the series...Daniel Stovall earned National Co-Hitter of the Week and MWC Player of the Week honors after batting 12-for-15 in the series (.800) with three homers and seven RBI...Salas batted .471 (8-for-17) in the series with eight runs, five doubles, two long balls and seven RBI...A.J. Spitaleri went 7-for-9 in two games with two homers...Josh Mader hit three homers and collected eight RBI while batting .385.

SINGLE-GAME RECORDS SET DURING THE AIR FORCE SERIES:

TEAM RECORDS:

April 17 (W, 31-11) -
* RUNS (MWC, School): 31
*RBI (MWC, School): 28
* HITS (MWC): 29
*TOTAL BASES (MWC): 53
*WALKS (MWC): 16

April 18 (W, 18-6) - *HOME RUNS (MWC, Second most in school history): 8

INDIVIDUAL RECORDS:

*DOUBLES: 4 - Joe Salas (Tied MWC, School)
*RUNS: 5 - Joe Salas (Tied MWC)

DON'T LEAVE FOR THE BALLPARK WITHOUT THEM - CAN'T MISS NOTES:

* Eighteen of the Lobos' first 35 games have come against teams with a winning record, and 12 of those games were against teams either ranked in the Top 25 or receiving votes in the national polls. As of April 19, Texas A&M is ranked No. 17 in the country, Arkansas is ranked 20th and Nebraska is at No. 22.

*The Lobos have won nine of their last 12 games at Isotopes Park and four in a row...after getting off to a tough start at "The Reactor" with a 0-7-1 record in the first eight games, UNM is now 9-10-1 all-time in its new home.

* After playing 11 of 15 games at home in March, the Lobos will play only three of their 15 games in April at home...the Lobos do not play at home until May 14...UNM is in the midst of an 18-game road swing.

GET OUT THOSE BINOCULARS - LOBOS TO WATCH:

* Junior centerfielder and leadoff hitter Matt Young is the team's offensive spark. Young leads the team in runs (44) and on-base percentage (.467), and is third in batting (.372). He is batting .441 in his last nine games with 12 RBI. His seven triples rank third in the nation.

* Junior shortstop Josh Mader is making a run at MWC Player of the Year honors with an excellent season at the plate. In league play, Mader leads the MWC in homers (five), slugging (.778) and is tied for first with 24 RBI. Overall, he is batting .376 with six homers and 37 RBI. In his last two conference series, Mader has slugged five dingers, drove in 13 runs and collected 11 runs and 11 hits.

* Freshman first baseman Daniel Stovall was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Co-Hitter of the Week April 20 after batting .800 (12-for-15) with three homers and seven RBI in the Air Force series. In Saturday's 31-11 victory, Stovall went 5-for-6 with two homers and five RBI.

Daniel Stovall was named the National Co-Hitter of the Week after batting .800 last weekend at Air Force with three homers, three doubles and seven RBI.


MILESTONE WATCH:

*Matt Young is five runs away from being fifth all-time in UNM history and five walks away from being second all-time at UNM. He needs 16 more runs to become the fifth player in program history to collect 200 hits and 200 runs.

*Joe Salas is six homers away from tying third all-time in the UNM record books. He is currently fourth with 32 home runs. He is also two RBI away from being fifth all-time at UNM (currently: 167) and three away from being third all-time in doubles (currently: 61).

ON DECK: The Lobos travel to Texas Tech for a mid-week game April 27 in Lubbock. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CT. UNM returns to Mountain West action with a three-game tilt at San Diego State April 30-May 2.

AROUND THE HORN -

OFFENSIVELY: The Lobos are batting .314 as a team (second in MWC) and lead the league with 43 homers. In conference play, UNM is first in batting (.361), slugging (.589), hits (201) and home runs (28). Over the past two conference series, the Lobos are hitting .398 with 20 homers and 83 runs (13.8 per game). New Mexico is averaging 7.2 runs per game and 11.2 hits per game.

DEFENSIVELY: The Lobos have commited 48 errors for a .964 fielding percentage (opponents - 45 E, .967 pct.), which is tied for second in the Mountain West. The Lobos lead the league in fielding double plays.

PITCHING: Opponents are batting .291 against UNM pitching and have scored 254 runs (7.3 per game). UNM's staff ERA is 6.35 (fourth in the MWC) compared to opponents' 5.99. The starter's ERA is 5.79 compared to the bullpen's 7.27.

PLAYER NOTES -

A GLANCE AT THE LOBO STARTING PITCHERS: The Lobos will continue to use the same conference starting rotation this weekend, throwing Jason Fernandez, Danny Ray Herrera and Cooper Eddy.

GM. 1 - Friday - 6:30 p.m. - #28 RH Jr. Jason Fernandez (5-3, 4.42 ERA)

* Hard-throwing right-hander will be making his eighth start of the season...has also made three appearances out of the bullpen

* Second on team with a 4.42 ERA, which is fifth best in the MWC...leads team in innings pitched (55.0) and leads MWC in league games with 36.1 innings pitched

* Has tossed two complete games this season, both for victories (2/27 vs. Arkansas; 4/1 vs. BYU)

* He is 4-1 with a 4.46 ERA in league play

GM. 2 - Saturday - 2 p.m. - #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (3-4, 4.96 ERA)

* Keeps hitters off balance with off-speed pitches, including an excellent changeup

* Sixth in the MWC with a 4.96 ERA

* Struck out a season-best nine in win at Air Force last weekend (4/17)

*Picked up first collegiate victory with win over San Diego State (3/27)

*Retired his first 18 batters in six perfect innings in victory over BYU (4/2)

* In front of over 7,000 fans at Olsen Field against No. 14 Texas A&M on Feb. 27, he threw seven innings, struck out five, and didn't allow an earned run (two unearned) in a tough loss

GM. 3 - Sunday - 12 p.m. - #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (3-3, 5.64 ERA)

* Powerful pitcher who throws in the low 90's and has an excellent slider

* Transfer from Tennessee Tech; threw his first year at Iowa Western Community College

* Earned Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors after firing a seven-hit complete game in win over UC Santa Barbara on March 7; he struck out seven and only walked one

* Threw seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball in win over Texas Tech (3/16) to earn MWC Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time this season

PUT ME IN COACH - YOUNG IN CENTER FIELD: Junior Matt Young is the starting center fielder this season for the Lobos after two years in left. Young, the team's leadoff hitter and offensive spark, is UNM's leader in runs (44) and on-base percentage (.467), and his seven triples are third best in the nation (0.20 per game). He is batting an impressive .548 (17-for-31) with runners in scoring position, which leads the Mountain West.

The fiery and competitive Young, who is hitting .372, is also moving up the career charts at New Mexico in his third year. He collected his 200th career hit in UNM's win over Utah April 9 and needs just 14 runs to become the fifth player in school history to reach the 200-run and 200-hit plateau.

Young was named the Mountain West Player of the Week Feb. 23 after an impressive opening weekend at the Baseball Fiesta Tournament in which he went 6-for-11 with two triples, four RBI and six runs. He was also named to the Aggie Classic All-Tournament Team. In one of his best career performances at the plate, Young went 4-for-6 with a career-high six RBI in UNM's win over New Mexico State March 30, including a two-run homer.

A dynamic defensive player, Young owns a perfect fielding percentage and has made some spectacular plays in center field this season.

The Murphy, Texas, native put together a .466 on-base percentage and led the MWC in walks (54) and runs (76) in 2003 while batting .320. Young is third all-time in the UNM record books with 122 career walks and leads the MWC in league games with 17 walks.

MADER MAKING PUSH FOR MOUNTAIN WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR: After playing two years at third base, junior Josh Mader finally returns to his natural position at shortstop this season following the departure of All-American Dusty Young. The Albuquerque native is once again putting up excellent numbers, ranking among the top 10 in the MWC in six offensive categories. He has also been a clutch hitter, batting a robust .458 (22-for-48) with runners in scoring position.

Mader, a 2003 first-team All-MWC selection, polished his game over the summer playing shortstop in the Alaskan Summer Wooden Bat League. A lifetime .372 batter, Mader is third in the MWC with a .376 average to go along with a team-best six homers and 37 RBI. He was named the MWC Player of the Week April 12 after batting .409 with three homers, and in UNM's win over Utah that same week, he went 3-for-5 with three runs and four RBI, including two homers in one inning.

In conference games, Mader leads the league in homers (five), slugging (.774) and RBI (24), all while batting .419.

CAPTAIN PROVING HIS WORTH: Senior right-fielder Sean Murray, one of two co-captains on this year's team, is batting .320 with 23 runs driven in. A career .340 hitter, Murray has started at first base, left field and right field for the Lobos this season. An outstanding student off the field, Murray recently earned the prestigious Truman Scholarship at UNM for his 4.20 GPA in Mechanical Engineering.

BARBA SOLID AT SECOND: Sophomore Ryan Barba has put together another productive offensive season from second base, typically a non-power position. Barba is batting .353 with five homers and 23 RBI to go along with seven doubles, and his four homers in conference play are tied for second best.

Barba drove in five runs in one game for the third time in his career last weekend in the Air Force series, going 5-for-7 with a homer, five RBI and four runs on April 17. He tied his career high with a five RBI performance in UNM's 6-3 win over UCSB on March 7, blasting a grand slam in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and propel the Lobos to victory.

Barba is also second on the team and ninth in the MWC in runs with 31. He earned all-tournament honors at the Aggie Classic with a .368 average in the six games. A native of Van Nuys, Calif., Barba earned the starting spot at second at the end of his freshman season with his strong bat (.366 BA).

SALAS DOES DOUBLE DUTY: Senior lefty Joe Salas has always possessed an explosive bat in his career at UNM, but this season he is also focusing on being the Lobo closer. He has three saves this season and nine for his career, which is tied for third all-time in New Mexico history. Salas, who also has two wins on the mound, leads the team with 41 strikeouts in only 28 innings pitched. His 20 appearances are first in the Mountain West, and his 2.87 ERA in league play is second in the MWC.

Offensively, he broke out last year with 16 homers and 56 RBI in addition to a .366 batting average to earn first-team All-MWC honors. The primary designated hitter in the lineup, Salas has six homers and 34 RBI this season.

Joe Salas has 41 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched and leads the team with a 4.18 ERA.


The Albuquerque native is starting to heat up in his last games as a Lobo, batting .367 with three homers and 14 RBI in the last 10 games. He tied a school and Mountain West record with four doubles at Air Force on April 17, a game in which he went 5-for-6 with five runs and three RBI.

The senior is climbing up the career charts at UNM, as he is fourth all-time in homers (32), fourth in doubles (61) and sixth in RBI (167).

FERNANDEZ PROVIDING CONSISTENCY ON THE MOUND: Right-hander Jason Fernandez leads the team with five victories on the mound this season and is 4-1 in MWC games. He is 3-0 with a 4.09 ERA in his last three starts. Fernandez leads the league in conference games with 36.1 innings pitched.

The junior was named the MWC Pitcher of the Week March 1 after firing a six-hit complete game in UNM's 3-1 win over Arkansas Feb. 27. Fernadez limited the Razorbacks, who are currently ranked No. 21, to one run and only eight base runners. He threw his second complete game in a win over BYU April 1, and in his last outing, he fired six innings to take the victory over Air Force April 16.

STOVALL NAMED NATIONAL CO-HITTER OF THE WEEK: Freshman Daniel Stovall exploded for 12 hits, three homers, three doubles and seven RBI last weekend at Air Force to earn the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Co-Hitter of the Week Award along with MWC Player of the Week honors on April 19. Overall, he is batting .364 (seventh in MWC) with five homers and 15 RBI. He has started 21 games at first base after getting seven starts at third in the beginning of the year.

Stovall hit his first career homer Feb. 28 vs. Arkansas and followed it with another shot the same day against Texas A&M. Perhaps his biggest hit of the season came against BYU on April 3, as he broke an 8-8 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-out, bases-loaded single that drove in two runs in UNM's 10-8 win. Stovall's most explosive day at the plate was at Air Force on April 17, as he went 5-for-6 with five RBI, two homers and two runs scored.

Yabba, DABBA, Doo: Freshman right fielder Chris Dabbs leads the team with a .500 batting average in conference play. Dabbs drove in a season-high three runs April 17 at Air Force, and has also collected three hits (March 24 vs. NMSU) and three runs (March 27 vs. SDSU) in one game this season. The Spring Branch, Texas, native, who was also recruited by several schools (including Texas A&M and Oklahoma) to play football, is batting .319 in all games.

EDDY NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST PITCHER OF THE WEEK...AGAIN: Junior right-hander Cooper Eddy has earned Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors twice this season. Overall, he is 3-3 with a 5.64 ERA.

On March 16, Eddy limited a powerful Texas Tech offense to one run on four hits in seven innings of work, and for his efforts, he earned his second MWC Pitcher of the Week accolade of the season. In his first win of the season against UCSB, Eddy fanned seven Gauchos and only allowed one walk in a seven-hit complete-game effort to earn Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors March 8.

SPIT THIS:Sophomore catcher A.J. Spitaleri leads the team with a .393 batting average after going 7-for-9 in the Air Force series. A.J. was on fire in Colorado Springs, scoring five runs, hitting two homers and driving in three runs in his two games of action. Spitaleri is batting .358 in his two years thus far at UNM.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - UNLV

UNLV heads into the weekend at first place in the Mountain West standings with an 11-3 record. The Rebels lost to UC Riverside 7-2 in Las Vegas on Tuesday night to fall to 24-14 overall. They were ranked No. 35 in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll.

The Rebel offense leads the MWC with a .325 team batting average. Peter White and Ryan Ruiz are the top two hitters in the league, batting .396 and .382, respectively. White has six homers and 38 RBI, while Ruiz has five homers and 42 RBI.

The pitching staff has an ERA of 5.78, which is second best in the conference. Two of the three Rebel starting pitchers have been announced for the weekend: David Seccombe (5-1, 5.75 ERA) will throw in game one, and Jake Vose (6-2, 4.19 ERA) will toss game two.

HEAD COACH: Buddy Goldsmith. Overall record: 24-14 (First year). Record at UNLV: Same.

SERIES NOTES:

UNLV leads, 56-34. The Rebels won six of seven games last year against UNM.

UNM Streak: Lost one

Last meeting: UNLV 12, New Mexico 5 (May 22, 2003, MWC Tournament)

Last UNM win: New Mexico 13, UNLV 10 (May 11, 2003, at Albuquerque)

Coach Alday vs. UNLV: 24-34 (Home: 12-10; Away: 12-24; Neutral: 0-0)

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