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First-Place Lobos Travel To San Diego State This Weekend
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/28/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 28, 2004

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NEXT IN LOBO BASEBALL

New Mexico (17-21-1, 13-5 MWC) at San Diego State (22-24, 10-6)

APRIL 30 - MAY 2 * SAN DIEGO, CALIF. *TONY GYWNN STADIUM (3,000)

SCHEDULE (TIMES LISTED, PACIFIC):

Friday, April 30 - 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 2 - 12 p.m.

MEDIA COVERAGE: Gametracker for all games is available for free at www.GoLobos.com and www.GoAztecs.com in the Upcoming Events box. Live audio of this weekend's games can be purchased for $6.95 at www.GoAztecs.com.

Gametracker for Friday's Game

Gametracker for Saturday's Game

Gametracker for Sunday's Game

SERIES INFORMATION: SDSU leads, 79-34. The Aztecs won two of three games from New Mexico March 26-28 in Albuquerque.

PROJECTED PITCHING ROTATION:

Friday - UNM: #28 RH Jr. Jason Fernanez (5-4, 4.26 ERA, 61.1 IP, 37 K, OBA - .280) vs. SDSU: #34 RH Sr. Scott Shoemaker (7-5, 3.49 ERA, 87.2 IP, 89 K, OBA - .257)

Saturday - UNM: #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (3-4, 5.37 ERA, 55.1 IP, 38 K, OBA - .299) vs. SDSU: #33 LH Jr. Daryl Harang (3-4, 4.09 ERA, 61.2 IP, 49 K, OBA - .296)

Sunday - UNM: #20 RH Jr. Cooper Eddy (4-3, 5.13 ERA, 59.2 IP, 41 K, OBA - .317) vs. SDSU: #38 LH So. Ben Coon (4-2, 5.87 ERA, 46.0 IP, 34 K, OBA - .315)

STORYLINE: After leaping past UNLV in the Mountain West standings last weekend to claim first place in the conference, the Lobos again will be put to the test with a three-game series at San Diego State this weekend (April 30-May 2) at Tony Gwynn Stadium. UNM (13-5) currently leads the MWC race by a 1/2 game over UNLV (12-5); SDSU is in third at 10-6. The Lobos are coming off a 10-1 loss at Texas Tech on Tuesday night, while the Aztecs defeated Loyola Marymount, 7-4, on the same day. The series starts Friday at 6 p.m. PDT, followed by Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT and Sunday at 12 p.m. PDT. Gametracker will be available for all games at www.GoLobos.com.

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QUICK LOOK AT THE LOBOS (17-21-1, 13-5 MWC): New Mexico has won 10 of its last 12 Mountain West games and 11 of its last 16 overall...the Lobos won two of three games at UNLV last weekend to pass the Rebels for first place in the Mountain West standings...the Lobos were limited to four hits in their last game at Texas Tech April 27, falling 10-1 to the No. 28 Red Raiders...the Lobos are looking to snap a 12-game losing streak at San Diego State - UNM's last win in San Diego came in 1999.

QUICK LOOK AT THE AZTECS (22-24, 10-6 MWC): After starting out 5-1 in conference play, the Aztecs have lost five of their last nine in the MWC...they have lost their last two series (at BYU, Utah)...SDSU defeated Loyola Marymount on Tuesday, 7-4...Right-hander Scott Shoemaker, who will start on Friday, leads the Mountain West in ERA (3.49), strikeouts (90), innings (87.2), opposing batting average (.257) and wins (seven)...he also has a 1.86 ERA in league play.

RECAP - NOTES FROM THE FIRST SAN DIEGO STATE SERIES: The Aztecs took two of three games in the series at Isotopes Park (March 26-28) to improve to 5-1 in MWC play...SDSU won on Friday, 4-3, and had 21 hits in Sunday's 11-9 victory...UNM set a school record with 5,671 fans showing up in Saturday's 13-7 win...the Lobos scored 13 runs to go along with 14 hits in the game...Sean Murray batted .500 (7-for-14) in the series with four runs and four RBI...freshman starter Danny Ray Herrera earned his first collegiate victory in Saturday's win...San Diego State's Brock Ungricht went 9-for-14 in the series (.643) with eight RBI to earn MWC Player of the Week honors.

Josh Mader has a 16-game hitting streak against San Diego State.


WEEKEND UPDATE - NOTES FROM THE UNLV SERIES: The Lobos won two out of three games over UNLV last weekend in Las Vegas...UNM fell in the opener, 5-4, but took game two, 11-4, and game three, 12-4...New Mexico hit .350 in the series...UNM outscored UNLV, 27-13, and outhit the Rebels, 41-26...Josh Mader batted .615 in the series (8-for-13)...in the game two win, Chris Dabbs went 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs, including a three-run homer...Karsten Gaarder pitched 5.1 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win in game two...Sean Murray, Josh Mader and A.J. Spitaleri each had three hits in the season finale...Cooper Eddy tossed seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits to pick up his fourth win of the season in Sunday's win.

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

* Josh Mader has a 16-game hitting streak vs. San Diego State, batting .527 with 15 RBI in his career vs. the Aztecs.

* In conference action, the Lobos have dominated the Mountain West. They lead the league in batting (.359), runs (178), total bases (390), slugging (.579), hits (242), RBI (162) and home runs (32). Overall, the Lobos are batting .312 as a team, which is ranked 35th in the nation.

* In the last three conference series (at Utah, at Air Force, at UNLV), the Lobos have scored 110 runs (12.2 per game), tallied 140 hits (15.5 pg) and slugged 24 homers (2.7 pg).

* Twenty-two of the Lobos' 38 games have come against teams with a winning record, and 16 of those games were against teams either ranked in the Top 25 or receiving votes in the national polls.

* 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 (48) and on-base percentage (.470), and is third in the MWC in batting (.377). His eight triples rank third in the nation and lead the MWC. Young is also hitting a phenomenal .559 with runners in scoring position, which leads the Mountain West. He currently has a 13-game hitting streak.

* Junior shortstop Josh Mader is making a run at MWC Player of the Year honors with an excellent season at the plate. Mader leads the Mountain West with a .396 batting average to go along with six homers and 38 RBI. He is also third in the MWC in hits (61) and fourth in slugging (.578). In conference games, Mader leads the league in slugging (.773), on-base percentage (.517) and is tied in homers (five), RBI (25) and runs (23). In his last 10 games, Mader is batting .500 (22-for-44) with six homers and 19 RBI.

* Sophomore catcher A.J. Spitaleri leads the team with a .400 batting average and is hitting .545 (12-for-22) over his last 10 games. Spitaleri went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs in Sunday's 12-4 win over UNLV.

A.J. Spitaleri leads the team with a .400 batting average.


MILESTONE WATCH:

*Matt Young needs 12 more runs to become the fifth player in program history to collect 200 hits and 200 runs. He needs two more walks to become second all-time in the UNM record books.

*Joe Salas is five homers away from tying third all-time in the UNM record books. He is currently fourth with 33 home runs. He is also fifth at UNM in RBI (171) and fourth in doubles (61).

AROUND THE HORN -

OFFENSIVELY: The Lobos are batting .312 as a team (second in the MWC) and lead the league with 47 homers. In conference action, UNM has been dominating, leading the league in batting (.359), runs (178), slugging (.579), hits (242), RBI (162) and home runs (32). The Lobos have been on a tear as of late, batting .383 in their last three MWC series (spanning nine games) with 110 runs, 24 homers and 100 RBI. During that span, UNM is averaging 12.2 runs per game and 15.6 hits per game.

DEFENSIVELY: The Lobos have commited 55 errors for a .963 fielding percentage (opponents - 53 E, .965 pct.), which is third in the Mountain West. The Lobos lead the league in fielding double plays with 43.

PITCHING: Opponents are batting .294 against UNM pitching and have scored 277 runs (7.1 per game). UNM's staff ERA is 6.24 (fourth in the MWC) compared to opponents' 6.02. The starter's ERA is 5.71 compared to the bullpen's 7.11.

LAST TIME OUT - TEXAS TECH 10, NEW MEXICO 1: The New Mexico baseball team was limited to four hits in a 10-1 loss at Texas Tech April 27 at Dan Law Field. The Red Raiders - winners of 11 of their last 13 games - improved to 28-13.

After three scoreless innings to start the game, Texas Tech - ranked No. 28 in this week's Collegiate Baseball poll - built an 8-0 lead with four runs in the fourth and fifth innings on three home runs. Cameron Blair hit a two-out grand slam for the game's first runs in the fourth. In the fifth, Texas Tech hit a pair of two-run homers to extend the lead.

UNM scored its lone run in the sixth thanks to the Red Raider defense. Matt Young led off the inning with a two-base error, advanced to third on a fielder's choice, and scored on the same play on an error by the shortstop.

Texas Tech scored two more runs in the eighth on a solo homer and an RBI double.

John Milton of Texas Tech pitched seven innings of three-hit ball with three strikeouts to improve to 3-0 for the season. Petr Pacas (1-3) gave up four runs and five hits in four innings of work in the loss. Young, Sean Murray, Chris Dabbs and Matt Foote each collected a hit for the Lobos.

COMPLETE WEEKEND RECAP - NEW MEXICO AT UNLV SERIES: The Lobos claimed two of three games last weekend at UNLV to move up into first place in the league standings.

In the series opener, despite scoring two runs in the top of the ninth, New Mexico's rally fell short as the Lobos fell to UNLV, 5-4. Down 5-2 in the ninth, the Lobos scored two runs in the ninth on a two-out, two-run single by Ryan Barba that plated Daniel Stovall and A.J. Spitaleri. The next batter, Matt Young, singled to right field, but was thrown out at second by right fielder Eric Nielsen to end the game.

The Lobos led 2-0 going into the bottom of the seventh, but UNLV scored three times in the seventh and twice in the eighth on three New Mexico errors in the comeback win..

Jason Fernandez threw a solid 6 1/3 innings for New Mexico, but still took the loss. Fernandez allowed three runs, two earned, while scattering eight hits on five strikeouts. David Seccombe fanned 10 batters in 7 1/3 innings of work to earn the win for UNLV.

On Saturday, freshman right fielder Chris Dabbs went 3-for-4 with three runs and a season-high four RBI as New Mexico pounded UNLV, 11-4.

The Lobos fell behind early 4-1, but Dabbs drove in his first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the fourth, cutting the margin to 4-3. As reliever Karsten Gaarder cooled down the Rebel bats, the Lobos heated up with two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead. Gaarder (1-2) retired his first 10 batters and only allowed two hits in 5 1/3 innings of action to earn his first win of the season. The Lobos added two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead before plating five runs in the ninth.

On Sunday, New Mexico vaulted into first place in the Mountain West with a 12-4 thrashing of UNLV. New Mexico once again displayed its offensive prowess in the series finale, slugging 18 hits, including five doubles and a homer. Seven Lobos collected at least two hits, and Josh Mader, Sean Murray and A.J. Spitaleri each tallied three.

Junior right-hander Cooper Eddy picked up his fourth win of the season with seven strong innings on the mound. Eddy (4-3) allowed two runs, one earned, and scattered six hits to go along with two strikeouts.

Cooper Eddy picked up his fourth win of the season April 25 at UNLV.


UNM was in control the entire game, quickly taking a 4-0 advantage after the first two innings.The score stayed the same until the seventh, as the Lobos broke the game open with five runs to take a commanding 9-0 lead. Salas smashed a two-run homer to start the scoring, while Spitaleri, Young and Jay Russell all had RBI hits. Russell was 2-for-4 with two runs in the game.

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 p.m. - #28 RH Jr. Jason Fernandez (5-4, 4.26 ERA)

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

* Leads team with a 4.26 ERA, which is fifth best in the MWC...leads team in innings pitched (61.1) and leads MWC in league games with 42.2 innings pitched

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

* He is 4-2 with a 4.22 ERA in league play

GM. 2 - Saturday - 1 p.m. - #2 LH Fr. Danny Ray Herrera (3-4, 5.37 ERA)

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

* Struck out a season-best nine in win at Air Force (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 (4-3, 5.13 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

* Threw seven innings and only allowed two runs, one earned, in victory at UNLV (4/25)

* 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 (48) and on-base percentage (.470), and his eight triples are third best in the nation (0.21 per game). He is batting an impressive .559 (19-for-34) with runners in scoring position, which leads the Mountain West. Currently on a 13-game hitting streak, Young ranks among the top five in six offensive categories in the MWC.

The fiery and competitive Young, who is hitting .377, 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 12 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 125 career walks and leads the MWC in league games with 20 free passes.

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 seven offensive categories, including a league-best .396 batting average.

Mader, a two-time first-team All-MWC selection, polished his game over the summer playing shortstop in the Alaskan Summer Wooden Bat League. A lifetime .377 batter, Mader has been outstanding in league play, leading the league in total bases (58) and slugging (.773). He is tied for first in homers (five), RBI (25) and runs (23), all while batting .453.

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.

CAPTAIN PROVING HIS WORTH: Senior right-fielder Sean Murray, one of two co-captains on this year's team, is batting .323 with 25 runs driven in. A career .343 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 .343 with six homers and 27 RBI to go along with seven doubles, and his five homers and 23 runs in conference play are tied for first. In league play, he is batting .418.

Barba drove in five runs in one game for the third time in his career 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.

Ryan Barba is batting .418 with five homers and 23 runs in league play.


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 42 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. His 23 appearances are tied first in the Mountain West.

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 seven homers and 38 RBI this season, both tied for the team lead.

The senior is climbing up the career charts at UNM, as he is fourth all-time in homers (33), third in doubles (61) and fifth in RBI (171). 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.

FERNANDEZ PROVIDING CONSISTENCY ON THE MOUND: Right-hander Jason Fernandez leads the team with five victories on the mound this season and is 4-2 in MWC games. Fernandez leads the league in conference games with 42.2 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.

STOVALL NAMED NATIONAL CO-HITTER OF THE WEEK: Freshman Daniel Stovall exploded for 12 hits, three homers, three doubles and seven RBI in the Air Force series 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 .326 with five homers and 17 RBI. He has started 25 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 .550 batting average in conference play. Dabbs drove in a season-high four RBI April 24 at UNLV to go along with three runs scored and a three-run homer.The Spring Branch, Texas, native, who was also recruited by several schools (including Texas A&M and Oklahoma) to play football, is batting .362 in all games with three homers and 11 RBI.

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 4-3 with a 5.13 ERA. In his last outing, Eddy threw seven strong innings at UNLV, allowing two runs on six hits to pick up the victory.

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 .400 batting average after batting .545 (12-for-22) in his last 10 games. A.J. was on fire in the Air Force series, batting 7-for-9 with five runs, two homers and three RBI in his two games of action. Spitaleri is batting .362 in his two years thus far at UNM. He went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs in the 12-4 win over UNLV April 25.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT - SAN DIEGO ST.

San Diego State enters the weekend in third place in the MWC with a 10-6 conference mark. The Aztecs defeated Loyola Marymount on Tuesday, 7-4, and stand at 22-24 for the season.

Right-hander Scott Shoemaker, who will start on Friday, leads the Mountain West in ERA (3.49), strikeouts (90), innings (87.2), opposing batting average (.257) and wins (seven).

SDSU beat the Lobos two out of three times in Albuquerque earlier this season (March 26-28 at Isotopes Park).

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