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Lobo Baseball Travels To Arizona For Midweek Series With Wildcats
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/22/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 22, 2010

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team will travel to Tucson, Ariz., for a midweek series against the Arizona Wildcats at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on March 23-24. The Lobos (14-7) look for their first win in Tucson since the 2006 and the Wildcats (16-4) look to keep their nine-game winning streak against the Lobos intact. Game time in Tucson will be 6 p.m. MT on Tuesday and 1 p.m. MT on Wednesday.

New Mexico hosts San Diego State at Isotopes Park on March 26-28. All three games will be broadcast live on 101.7 FM (KQTM) The TEAM. Scott Galetti will call the action along side former Lobo baseball player Pete Henderson (1991).

The Lobos have teamed up with the City of Albuquerque organization Read to Me to collect books for Albuquerque children. Lobo baseball fans that bring a new or gently used children's book to Saturday's game at 2 p.m. MT get free admission.

SCOUTING ARIZONA

• The Wildcats are 16-4 on the season and are on an 11-game winning streak. Arizona has played all 20 games at home this season.

• Arizona is coached by Andy Lopez, who is in his 10th year coaching the Wildcats with a 298-188-1 (.612) record. Lopez has 28 years of head coaching experience and has an overall record of 985-606-7 (.616) . • The Wildcats return four players with starting experience, 12 letterwinners and two starting pitchers from last year's squad.

• Arizona is led at the plate by sophomore catcher Jett Bandy who is hitting .506 on the season. Bandy has 11 doubles, four home runs and 23 RBIs.

• The Wildcats are hitting .370 as a team.

• Arizona is led on the mound by freshman right-handed pitcher Kurt Heyer, who is 3-0 on the season and has an ERA of 2.10. Heyer has 43 strikeouts on the season and just one walk.

• Arizona has a 3.85 ERA as a staff.

• The Lobos will likely face junior right-hander Daniel Workman on Tuesday, and freshman left-hander Augey Bill on Wednesday. Workman is 1-0 on the season in five starts. He has a 6.88 ERA in 17 innings and has eight strikeouts and six walks. Bill has played in three games with 2.1 innings pitched. He has a 3.86 ERA, three strikeouts and two walks on the season.

SERIES HISTORY

Arizona leads the all-time series against the Lobos, 157-33 and have won nine straight. The Lobos' last victory over the Wildcats was on April 18, 2006 in Albuquerque. The Lobos' last victory in Tucson was on Feb. 18, 2006.

KESLER HAS CAREER DAY AGAINST UTAH

Senior right-hand pitcher Willy Kesler pitched the best game of his career in a 5-2 win over the Utah Utes on March 20. The Thornton, Colo., native threw the first complete game of his career and had a career-high 13 strikeouts. He is the first Lobo pitcher to throw a complete game this season and the first since sophomore Rudy Jaramillo did it on May 1, 2009 in an 8-4 win over UNLV. Kesler is also the first Lobo to throw more than 10 strikeouts since April 11, 2008 when Bobby LaFromboise threw 10.

HONEYCUTT HAS A PERFECT SATURDAY

Junior designated hitter Ryan Honeycutt was a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate in last Saturday's 5-2 win over Utah. Honeycutt had three RBIs on the day including the two go-ahead run in the top of the fifth inning that broke a 2-2 tie and put the Lobos on top 4-2.

LEADERS OF THE PACK

Senior Justin Howard continues to lead the Lobos in batting average at a .456 clip. He also leads the team in on-base percentage (.528), doubles (11), runs scored (23) and hits (41). All-America candidate Rafael Neda is hitting .348 on the season and leads the team in RBIs (24) and home runs with three. Howard has the second-longest hitting streak in the nation at 22 games dating back to May 21, 2009.

The Lobo pitching staff is led by junior Mike Lachapelle, who has an ERA of 5.46 and is 3-1 on the season. Lachapelle has pitched 29.2 innings this season and has 16 strikeouts to just seven walks. Out of the bullpen sophomore Gera Sanchez has been automatic in relief for the Lobos. Sanchez has a 0.71 ERA with a team-high four saves with 11 strikeouts and just four walks. Junior Richard Olson leads the team with a 3.52 ERA in 23 innings pitched.

TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST STATISTICS

The Lobos lead the Mountain West Conference with a .343 batting average and in doubles with 61. The Lobo pitching staff has the most strikeouts in the conference with 161 and is fourth in the conference with a 5.59 ERA.

Several Lobo hitters are making their presence known in the MWC rankings. Senior Justin Howard leads the league with a .456 batting average and in on-base percentage (.543) and senior Chris Juarez is ranked fifth, hitting .391. Howard leads the league in doubles with 11 and junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is tied for second with nine. Neda leads the conference in RBIs with 24.

The pitching staff is just as impressive in the MWC rankings. Junior Richard Olson is ranked fifth in the conference with a 3.52 ERA. Senior Willy Kesler had a career-high 13 strikeouts against Utah that vaulted him in to fourth place in the conference with 32. Junior Richard Olson is ranked 10th with 22 strikeouts. Senior Edwin Carl is tied for second in the league with 12 batters stuck out looking. Sophomore Gera Sanchez is tied for the league lead in saves with four.

On defense, Howard is tied for the lead in fielding percentage (1.000) and is ranked first in putouts with 173.

LOBOS IN THE NATIONAL POLLS

The Lobos are receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association top-30 poll and the USA Today Coaches top-25 Poll.

The Lobos are also ranked No. 35 in boydsworld.com's RPI index. The Lobos are the second highest ranked Mountain West team and are only nine spots behind No. 26 TCU. The Lobos have two victories over No. 14 Texas and No. 45 USC. The Lobos face five more teams this season in the top-100, TCU (26), Arkansas (27), Arizona (33), Texas Tech (60) and San Diego State (66).

COACH BIRMINGHAM GETS WIN NO. 900

Lobo baseball head coach Ray Birmingham earned his 900th career victory in a 15-14 extra-innings win over Louisiana Tech in game one of a doubleheader on March 13. Down, 14-8 in the bottom of the 10th inning the Lobos got seven runs off seven hits to seal the come-from-behind victory. The Lobos swept the four-game series over Louisiana Tech and picked up one win against Utah. Birmingham is now 903-380-2 (.703) in his 23-year career.

GONZALEZ WALKS OFF TWICE

Senior Daniel Gonzalez had two walk-off singles in a doubleheader against Louisiana Tech on March 13. The Mesquite, N.M., native knocked in two RBIs with a shot to left center in the bottom of the tenth inning of game one. In the nightcap Gonzalez played the hero once more by hitting a single up the middle to score a runner from second. Gonzalez was 9-for-18 on the weekend with 11 RBIs. Coming into the series with Louisiana Tech, Gonzalez only had six RBIs.

LACHAPELLE PICKS UP TWO WINS ON MARCH 10 and 14

Junior Mike Lachapelle scattered nine hits over eight innings and earned his second win of the season in a 13-4 victory over New Mexico State on March 10 and scattered five hits over 5.1 innings in relief against Louisiana Tech on March 14 for his second win of the week.. Lachapelle fanned 13 batters on the week. His outing against New Mexico State was the longest outing for Lachapelle this season.

HONEYCUTT HEATS UP AGAINST NMSU

Junior Ryan Honeycutt went 6-for-8 in two games against New Mexico State on March 9-10. Honeycutt had one double and two RBIs in the two-game series with State. The Las Cruces, N.M., native is now hitting .361 on the season.

JARAMILLO SHUTS DOWN TROJANS

Sophomore left-hander Rudy Jaramillo picked up his first win of the season, scattering five hits over eight innings to lead the Lobos to a 3-2 victory over USC on March 5. Jaramillo gave up two runs on three hits in the first inning but only allowed two hits over the next seven innings to thwart the Trojan attack. Jaramillo struck out one batter.

YOUNG GUNS

The underclassmen on the team keep coming up with veteran plays. Freshman Alex Allbritton is fourth on the team in batting average at a .347 clip and has started all 21 games at third base. Allbritton was a home run shy of hitting through the cycle on March 14. The Aurora, Colo., native had a single, two doubles and a triple on the day with one RBI.

Freshman Mitchell Garver came up big on Feb. 26, in a 7-5 win over Northern Colorado. Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Garver was at the plate with the bases loaded and went opposite field down the right field line for a bases-clearing triple to put the Lobos on top, 6-5. Garver got his first career start at catcher in the second game of the Feb. 27 doubleheader with Northern Colorado.

Freshman Bobby Mares picked up the first win of his collegiate career in a 13-5 win over Northern Colorado on Feb. 28. Mares pitched 5.0 innings giving up two runs on three hits.

NEW MEXICO BOYS GETTING THE JOB DONE

New Mexico natives Mitchell Garver (Albuquerque), Gera Sanchez (Las Cruces), Austin House (Albuquerque) and Edwin Carl (Farmington) all had a hand in taking three of four from Northern Colorado on Feb. 26-28. Garver got a clutch bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the eighth on Feb. 26 in a 7-5 come-from-behind win. Sanchez came on in the bottom of the eighth in a Feb. 27, 5-2 game one win. Sanchez gave up one hit and shut the Bears down over the last two frames to earn the first win of his Division I career. Carl picked up his first win of the season pitching 2.2 scoreless innings, striking out four of the 12 batters he faced in the Feb. 26 7-5 win. House picked up the first save of his collegiate career in that game as well.

LOBO BASEBALL ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH 101.7 THE TEAM

The University of New Mexico baseball team and Lobo Sports Properties are proud to announce 101.7 The TEAM (KQTM FM) as its radio partner for the 2010 season. For the first time in program history, Lobo baseball will be featured on FM radio. The TEAM will carry 30 games from Isotopes Park and on the road.

Calling the action for Lobo home games will be Lobo football and men's basketball play-by-play announcer Scott Galetti. Galetti has covered Lobo athletics for the last two years and previously called baseball for Long Beach State University and the High Desert Mavericks, the single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

Of the 16 games left to be broadcast on 101.7 The TEAM, 10 will be from the friendly confines of Isotopes Park. The broadcasts will feature key home series with San Diego State (March 26-28), BYU (April 8-10), San Francisco (April 20) and TCU (May 7-9).

Fans also will be able to follow the Lobos on the road. Series with San Diego State (April 30-May 2), Utah (May 20-22) and the Mountain West Tournament from San Diego, Calif. (May 25-29) also will be available.

HARVESTING NEW MEXICO TALENT

Of the 33 rostered Lobo baseball players, 11 are from the Land of Enchantment. Oscar Almeida (Albuquerque) Devon Conley (Rio Rancho), Mitchell Garver (Albuquerque), Daniel Gonzalez (Mesquite), Austin House (Albuquerque), Kenny Toves (Carlsbad), Edwin Carl (Farmington), Gera Sanchez (Las Cruces), Steven Florez (Mesilla), Cody Volker (Albuquerque) and Ryan Honeycutt (Las Cruces,) all played their high school ball in New Mexico.

ALL-AMERICAN CANDIDATE Rafael Neda NAMED TO JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST

University of New Mexico junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda has been named to the 2010 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award delivered by Papa John's Pizza Watch List. Neda is one of 53 catchers up for the prestigious award given to the nation's top catcher. Neda is currently hitting .348 on the season with 24 RBIs, three home runs and nine doubles.

Neda was selected for more than his ability behind the plate. The junior from Obregon, Sonora, Mexico is involved in community service projects including, Power Pals at Kirtland Elementary School, where Lobo baseball players adopt a child to read to once a week and Toys-for-Tots where UNM students provided needy children with gifts at Christmas.

Neda also participated in the La Familia Holiday Party where he helped serve food and signed autographs for children. He also took part in a free camp put on by Lobo baseball for children of U.S. soldiers serving in the military. Neda also helped with the UNM Back Pack Drive, where UNM student-athletes helped fill and distribute backpacks with school supplies to children in need.

The field will be narrowed down to ten semifinalists to be announced on May 19. The finalists will be announced June 2 with the winner being announced at the 13th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on July 1.

LOBOS PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference Preseason Poll. TCU was picked to finish first and received all 10 first-place votes. San Diego State and Utah, 2009 NCAA Regional qualifiers, were picked third and fourth, respectively. BYU was picked to finish fifth, UNLV sixth and Air Force seventh.

In each of the last two seasons New Mexico has finished above its predicted finish in the preseason poll. New Mexico was picked fifth in the 2009 preseason poll and finished second for the second straight year. In 2008 the Lobos were picked to finish fourth in the conference and ended the season in second place.

THREE LOBOS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Senior Max Willett, junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda and junior Ryan Honeycutt were selected to the All-MWC Preseason Team. The Lobos and San Diego State landed the most players on the All-MWC team with three each.

THE SCHEDULE

Head coach Ray Birmingham and his staff have put together one of the toughest schedules in school history for the 2010 season. The Lobos play three teams ranked in Baseball America's preseason top-25, two College World Series participants and five NCAA Regional participants. New Mexico took on preseason No. 1 Texas on Feb. 19-21 and will play preseason No. 17 Arkansas on April 13-14 and preseason No. 11 and favorite to win the MWC regular season championship TCU on May 7-9.

NEDA NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN

Junior catcher Rafael Neda has been named to the Louisville Slugger, Ping!baseball and Pro-Line Athletic Preseason All-American teams. Neda hit .415 last season with seven home runs and 49 RBIs. For the second straight season, Neda was named to the 2009 All-MWC team. Born in Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, Neda will be the anchor of the defense and a true leader on the team.

THREE LOBOS NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS

Seniors Max Willett and Adam Courcha and junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda were selected by their teammates as captains for the 2010 season. Willett is serving his second term as captain and along with Neda are the lone two returning All-MWC performers. Courcha is the definition of a utility player. Over his three-year career he has played viturally every position and will play third base this season.
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