March 12, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – New Mexico first baseman D.J. Peterson and right-hander Gera Sanchez have earned Mountain West Baseball Player and Pitcher of the Week honors for games played from March 5-11, 2012.
Peterson, a sophomore from Gilbert, Ariz., hit .562 (9-for-16) as the Lobos went 3-1 on the week, including a three-game sweep of Gonzaga. Peterson hit safely in all four games, starting the week with a 3-for-4, five RBI, two-run performance in a 16-12 loss at New Mexico State. On Friday in an 11-6 win over previously undefeated Gonzaga, Peterson was 3-for-5 with two RBI. Saturday the Lobos guaranteed a series win with a 2-1 win in 10 innings. Peterson was 1-for-4 in the game, while defensively had 14 putouts. In the Gonzaga series finale, Peterson was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run in the 4-1 win. In 19 plate appearances, Peterson only struck out once all week.
Peterson, who was a Freshman All-American last season and set a new NCAA record for doubles by a freshman with 32, currently leads the Lobos in batting (.400) and slugging (.691), and is second in on-base percentage (.444). He also leads the team in hits (22), home runs (3), and RBI (14), and is second in runs (12) and doubles (5). Prior to this season he was named to the Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American Team by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
“DJ is a first-class kid,” UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. “He has grown and matured as a baseball player and as a person. He is another in a line of great Lobo hitters and will be playing on TV someday.”
Sanchez, a senior from Las Cruces, N.M., earned two wins in three relief appearances for the Lobos last week. Sanchez threw one and a third innings against NMSU on Tuesday, striking out every batter he faced. His first win of the week was on Friday against Gonzaga, pitching three innings without giving up a run. He only allowed one hit, one walk and struck out five batters on a season-high 53 pitches as the Lobos rallied to hand the Bulldogs their first loss this season. On Saturday against Gonzaga, Sanchez pitched the 10th inning with one strikeout to set up the Lobos for the 2-1 win in the bottom of the inning. For the week, Sanchez had 10 strikeouts, one walk, one hit allowed and no runs allowed in five and a third innings of work. On the season he has struck out 14 batters and allowed only one earned run on three hits in six relief appearances spanning nine and one-third innings. His 14 strikeouts are good for second on the team.
"I don't know what his ceiling is," Birmingham said about Sanchez. "He's capable of so much. He's got so many different arm angles and so many different pitches from each slot."
This is the second time in their careers Peterson and Sanchez have been honored with the weekly award for their stellar play. Last season they were named Mountain West Conference Player and Pitcher of the week, respectively, for games played March 21-27. That same week they were also selected by CollegeBaseballInsider.com as the West Region’s National Players of the Week.
Peterson and Sanchez are the second and third Lobos to receive this honor from the Mountain West this season. Junior center fielder Josh Melendez was named Player of the Week on Feb. 28 for games played from Feb. 20-26.