Nov. 2, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico Lobos' 2012 baseball schedule will feature 56 games, including 32 home dates.
The Lobos will take on some of the best teams in the nation, including 2011 NCAA tournament participants Arizona State, Oklahoma, Fresno State and TCU.
“There are some teams on here that were national champions over the last few years,” head coach Ray Birmingham explained. “It’s a very tough schedule again, but the good thing is that we have some home games this coming year.”
The Lobos will open their season at home in Isotopes Park with a three-game series against the Nevada Wolf Pack from Feb. 17-19.
New Mexico then travels to the state of Texas for a four-game stint against UT-San Antonio.
On March 2, the Lobos welcome the Oklahoma Sooners for a three-game series. Oklahoma was a regular in the top 25 last season, spending a lot of time in the top 10 as well, and will be the first major test for the Lobos in 2012.
In reference to how tough teams like Oklahoma, Arizona State and some of the other top teams on UNM’s schedule will be, coach Birmingham put it into words only the way he can.
“The only way that I know how to make diamonds is to put coal under pressure, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Birmingham said. “This team (the Lobos) is light years ahead of where they were last year.”
The Lobos head south to Las Cruces on March 6, to play in their first of four games that will take place throughout the season against rival New Mexico State. UNM will be out for revenge, as the Aggies beat the Lobos in the two games the teams played in last season.
UNM will then head back to Albuquerque for a 12-game home stand from March 9-28. The Lobos will face Gonzaga, New Mexico State, San Diego State, TCU and Stephen F. Austin. Gonzaga, SDSU and TCU will all be three-game series and Stephen F. Austin will be a two-game series. The games against SDSU and TCU also mark the beginning of Mountain West play. UNM defeated TCU twice on its way to the MW crown last season, including a 4-2 victory in the championship game. TCU was a top 10 team virtually all season, and earned a No. 1 regional seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Lobos will end the month of March and bring in April with a series against Fresno State March 30-April 1. From there, UNM will play New Mexico State for the third time before traveling to Colorado Springs, Colo., to face Air Force April 5-7.
Arizona State comes to the Land of Enchantment April 9-10. The Lobos will have their shot at redemption against the team that beat them in last year’s NCAA Regional.
Sunny San Diego, Calif., is the next stop for the Lobos as they take on SDSU April 13-15. Following, the Lobos will stay on the road to face Texas Tech in a two-game set in Lubbock, Texas, April 17-18.
Texas Tech will then come to Albuquerque April 24-25 to finish out the four game series between the two teams. Before the Red Raiders come to town, the Lobos will face Florida Gulf Coast April 20-22 at Isotopes Park. UNM finishes its eight-game home stand with conference foe UNLV April 27-29.
“We have Florida Gulf Coast coming all the way to play us in New Mexico,” Birmingham said. “They are a very good program.”
The Lobos begin the month of May on the road as they travel to Fort Worth, Texas, to face off against perennial powerhouse TCU from May 4-6. UNM follows that series up with a trip to Las Vegas to face UNLV May 11-13.
UNM ends its season with its fourth and final game of the Rio Grande Rivalry against New Mexico State at home on May 15 in Isotopes Park. The NMSU game will be followed by the Lobos’ final series of the regular season against Air Force May 18-20, which is also in Albuquerque.
The Mountain West Tournament will be May 24-27 at the Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. New Mexico will look to defend its first-ever tournament title.
Coach Birmingham reiterated how excited he is to have so many home games on the schedule, especially coming after a season where it seemed his Lobos practically lived on a bus because they were on the road so often.
“Last year, we played at Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State; we’ve also been to Texas, to Stanford, USC and Arkansas,” Birmingham said. “And, the one thing I’ve noticed, is that our fans support Lobo baseball better than 75 percent of those schools we’ve been to.
“We averaged over 1,500 people a game last year, which I thought was pretty cool. As we build our own facility and schedule games that are more opportune for our fans, I think the one thing people will begin to see is that New Mexico Baseball will draw a better crowd than the majority of the schools in the United States.”