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Lobo Baseball to be Featured on National Television Against San Diego State
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/29/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 29, 2010

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team will travel to San Diego for a three-game Mountain West Conference series with San Diego State on April 30 - May 2. The Lobos (28-14, 10-4 MWC) are on a four-game winning streak, including a 16-8 defeat of Texas Tech on April 27. The Aztecs (21-21, 6-6) lost 11-8, in 10 innings, to Long Beach State on April 27.

Saturday's game will be featured live on The Mountain Sports Network, which can be seen on Comcast channel 276 and DirecTV channel 616. James Bates, Roger Bailey and Todd Christensen will call the action live on The Mtn. The game also will be broadcast on 101.7 FM The TEAM.

New Mexico will host league-leading TCU on May 7-9 in a three-game series that could decide the 2010 Mountain West Conference Regular Season Champion. All three games will be played at Isotopes Park and will be broadcast on 101.7 FM The TEAM.

SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE

• The Aztecs are 21-21 on the season, have won six of their last 10 and are 15-12 at home.

• San Diego State is coached by Tony Gwynn, who is in his seventh year coaching the Aztecs with a 235-234 (.501) record.

• The Aztecs return eight players with starting experience, 17 letterwinners and seven starting pitchers from last year's squad.

• San Diego State is led at the plate by sophomore outfielder Brandon Meredith, who is hitting .361 on the season. Meredith has nine doubles, three home runs and 33 RBIs. He ranks fourth in the league in on-base percentage (.458).

• The Aztecs are last in the league, hitting .295 as a team.

• San Diego State is led on the mound by junior right-handed pitcher and Preseason All-American Addison Reed, who is 6-1 on the season and is ranked second in the MWC with an ERA of 2.19. Reed is ranked No. 21 in the nation in ERA, third in the MWC with 59 strikeouts, first in opposing batting average (.180) and was named Mountain West Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week on April 26.

• San Diego State is ranked third in the MWC with a 4.47 ERA as a staff.

• The Lobos will likely face Reed on Friday, freshman right-hander Bryan Crabb on Saturday and freshman right-hander Corey Black on Sunday. Crabb is 4-3 on the season and is ranked third in the MWC with a 2.40 ERA. He threw six innings giving up three runs off eight hits in a 8-5 Lobo victory on March 27. Crabb has 55 strikeouts to 26 walks. Black is 1-0 with a 3.34 ERA and has 35 strikeouts.

SERIES HISTORY

San Diego State holds a 94-52 series advantage over the Lobos. San Diego State is 57-20 against the Lobos at home. New Mexico swept a three-game series from San Diego State on March 26-28, 2010 at Isotopes Park.

IN THE NATIONAL STATS RANKINGS (as of April 27)

As a team the Lobos are ranked sixth in the nation with a .350 batting average, 531 hits, and with 115 doubles. The Lobos are tied for 16th in the nation with 18 triples on the season.

Senior Justin Howard leads the nation with 81 hits, is ranked No. 18 with a .438 batting average and tied for 35th with 17 doubles. Senior Chris Juarez is ranked No. 28 with a .429 batting average.

LOBOS POUND RED RAIDERS

The Lobos put up 16 runs on the No. 3 ranked team in the Big 12 in a 16-8 win over Texas Tech on April 27. New Mexico got 16 runs off 17 hits with five Lobos recording multi-hit games. Senior Justin Howard led the Lobos at the plate going 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda was hit by a pitch in his first two at-bats, then went 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Junior Ryan Honeycutt went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Seniors Adam Courcha and Daniel Gonzalez each had two hits. Courcha had two RBIs and Gonzalez had one. Sophomore Rudy Jaramillo threw five innings, scattering four hits to pick up his second consecutive win in seven days.

KESLER EARNS MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Senior right-handed pitcher Willy Kesler has been named the Mountain West Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week as announced by the conference office on April 26. This is the first career award for the Thornton, Colo., native. Kesler threw UNM's first complete-game shutout since 2007 in a 6-0 victory over Air Force on April 25. Kesler scattered five hits over nine innings with five strikeouts while walking none.

This was Kesler's second complete game of the season and his first shutout at New Mexico. He is the first pitcher to throw two complete games in the the same season since 2008. In the 6-0 victory, Kesler blanked an Air Force team that put up 36 runs in three games against league-leading TCU.

Kesler shares this week's award with San Diego State's Addison Reed.

HOWARD HITS .579 IN FOUR GAMES LAST WEEK

Senior Justin Howard went 11-for-19 last week, hitting .579 with eight RBIs, eight runs scored, two home runs and one double. On Wednesday, April 21 against San Francisco, Howard went 5-for-6 with two home runs, one double and four RBIs. In a doubleheader against Air Force on April 25, Howard was a combined 4-for-8 (.500) with three RBIs and three runs scored.

COACH BIRMINGHAM NEARS 100th WIN AS A LOBO

Head coach Ray Birmingham is only one win away from his 100th win as Lobo baseball's skipper. Coach Birmingham picked up win No. 99 at New Mexico in a 16-8 victory over Texas Tech on April 27. Earlier this season, Birmingham earned his 900th win as a head coach in a 15-14 extra-innings win over Louisiana Tech in game one of a doubleheader on March 13. Birmingham has a 99-59 three-year record at the University of New Mexico.

GONZALEZ LOOKS FOR 100th CONSECUTIVE START

On Tuesday, April 27 against Texas Tech, senior shortstop Daniel Gonzalez made his 99th consecutive start. On Friday, April 30 against San Diego State the senior from Mesquite, N.M. could make his 100th consecutive start at shortstop for the Lobos. Since transfering from El Paso Community College in the fall of 2009, Gonzalez found a home at shortstop. Coach Birmingham has been quoted as saying, "Watching Daniel Gonzalez play shortstop is like watching Picasso paint."

LEADERS OF THE PACK

Senior Justin Howard leads the Lobos in batting average at a .447 clip. Howard also leads the team in on-base percentage (.502), RBIs (48), doubles (18), runs scored (57) and hits (85). Senior Chris Juarez is hitting .426 with 10 doubles and 20 RBIs. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is hitting .358 on the season and is second on the team in RBIs (46).

The Lobo pitching staff is led by junior Kenny Toves, who is 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA. Junior Richard Olson has an ERA of 3.80 and is 3-3 on the season. Olson is second on the team with 42 strikeouts. Senior Willy Kesler has a 4.11 ERA, is 3-1 on the season, leads the team in strikeouts with 57 and has two complete games.

TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST STATISTICS

The Lobos lead the Mountain West Conference with a .352 batting average and in doubles with 118. The Lobo pitching staff is fourth in the conference with a 5.33 ERA and is third in the MWC in strikeouts with 295.

Several Lobo hitters are making their presence known in the MWC rankings. Senior Justin Howard is on top of the Mountain West standings in batting average at a .447 clip. Howard also ranks first in runs scored (57), on-base percentage (.503), hits (85), doubles (18) and RBIs (48). Senior Chris Juarez is second in the conference with a .426 batting average. Senior Cameron Smith ranks tenth in the conference with a .367 batting average. Junior All-America candidate Rafael Neda is ranked fourth in the MWC with 46 RBIs.

The pitching staff is just as impressive in the MWC rankings. Junior Kenny Toves is ranked fifth with a 3.23 ERA. Senior Willy Kesler is ranked fourth in the conference with 57 strikeouts. Kesler and senior Edwin Carl are tied for seventh in the league with 16 batters struck out looking. Sophomore Gera Sanchez is tied for second in the league in saves with five.

On defense, Howard is ranked first in putouts with 378.

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 also are ranked No. 34 in the NCAA's latest RPI rankings (April 27). The Lobos are the second-highest ranked Mountain West team. No. 14 TCU, No. 83 BYU and No. 88 San Diego State are the other MWC representatives in the top-100. New Mexico has two victories over No. 4 Texas, No. 72 New Mexico State, No. 77 USC and No. 83 BYU, three wins over No. 88 San Diego State and one win over No. 44 Texas Tech. The Lobos face two more teams this season in the top-100, TCU (14) and San Diego State (88).

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