Nov. 24, 2008
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The University of New Mexico has inked 12 players to National Letters of Intent for the fall of 2009 during the recent early signing period. Head Coach Ray Birmingham and his staff have put together one of the best recruiting classes that New Mexico has seen in quite some time. The 2009 class features seven incoming freshman, five of which are New Mexico natives, and five junior college transfers.
"This is on the best recruiting classes in Lobo baseball history," said Birmingham. "We had some areas where we needed to improve and one was pitching. We picked up some kids that can throw in the mid-90s. That's what gets you to Omaha. The local kids we picked up have the best arms in New Mexico. All the New Mexico kids we picked up were the best players on all of our lists. Coach (Ken) Jacome and Coach (Chad) Tidwell did a great job on finding a great mix of junior college talent and high school talent."
2009-10 New Mexico Baseball Recruiting Class
Junior College Transfers
Justin Aragon - RHP, 6-2, 205 - South Mountain Community College - Albuquerque, N.M. (La Cueva HS)
2008 Season (Kansas State) - 1-0, 3.86 ERA, 7 strikeouts with 3 walks
Birmingham about Aragon: "Justin Aragon is the best junior college pitcher in Arizona and possibly one of the top right handers in juco across the country. Pitches 88-92 has gone as high as 95. Plus breaking ball and a big game pitcher. A champion."
Zach Cleveland - RHP, 6-1, 180 - Central Arizona College - Blackhawk, Colo.
2008 Season - 0-0, 4.28 ERA, 11 strikeouts and 4 walks; CAC finished third at the NJCAA World Series
Birmingham about Cleveland: "Zach Cleveland was drafted by the Phillies out of high school. Top pitcher at Central where 'national championship' is a common phrase. Pitches 88-92 with a plus slider. Another big game pitcher."
Richard Olson - RHP, 6-0, 170 - Clarendon College - Sydney, Australia (Baulkham Hills)
2008 Season - 3-1, 3.54 ERA, 30 strikeouts with 8 walks
Birmingham about Olson: "Richard Olson is a bulldog and probably the next UNM closer. Fastball 88-91 mph, strike thrower and fierce competitor."
Jonathan Paez - RHP, 6-1, 220 - Clarendon College - San Antonio, Texas (Holmes HS)
2008 Season - 5-0, 4.97 ERA, 47 strikeouts with 14 walks
Birmingham about Paez: "Jonathan Paez is a future big leaguer. Big Arm. 92-95 mph with a good hammer. Has a bigger ceiling. Another big game guy. Needs to pitch at Division I and get big hitters out to become a top 5 draft pick."
Austin Terhune - LHP, 6-0, 190 - Seward County Community College - Perryton, Texas (Perryton HS)
2008 Season - 6-2, 2.70 ERA, 63 strikeouts and picked up one save, named All-Jayhawk Conference Honorable Mention
Birmingham about Terhune: "Austin Terhune comes from one of the best pitching coaches in junior college or any college, Galen McSpadden. Left hander with command of three pitches. 85-88 mph and can really pitch."
Tyler Black - Middle INF, 5-9, 165, L/R - La Cueva HS - Albuquerque, N.M.
2008 Season - picked up 25 RBI on the season; 5A first team all-state as a shortstop
Birmingham about Black: "Tyler Black is the best all-around baseball player in the New Mexico high school ranks. Small in stature but big in ability. Tyler runs a 6.6 60-yd dash, has a plus arm, plus glove and can really hit. Three years of Division I baseball will make him a top ten draft pick."
Brett Doe - Middle INF, 6-0, 170, R/R - Poteet High School - Mesquite, Texas
2008 Season - Batted .327, knocked in 20 RBI; Defensive MVP in District 10-4A at shortstop; 4A honorable mention all-state
Birmingham about Doe: "Brett Doe is the best shortstop in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. His father Bobby Doe is a legendary coach in Texas high school baseball. Brett is a 90 mph arm from short and the best hands and feet in a seven-state area. A no-brainer for professional baseball after Division I."
Steven Florez - RHP - Las Cruces HS - Las Cruces, N.M.
2008 Season - 5-2, 4.27 ERA, 49 strikeouts; 5A all-state second team
Birmingham about Florez: "Steven Florez is the best arm in southern New Mexico. He is going to win some big games before he is done here. Comes from a family of hard-nosed competitors and a high school program that has one of the best coaches in the country. 88-90 mph and has touched 94 mph. Great arm action."
Austin House - RHP, 6-4, 170 - La Cueva HS - Albuquerque, N.M.
2008 Season - 1.81 ERA, 3-1, 1 save
Birmingham about House: "Austin House is a very good. He is on one of the best high school pitching staffs in the country. He will be drafted out of high school as many of this recruiting class will be, but three years of Division I will jump him to the top 10 rounds. 88-91 mph with a power sinker."
Bobby Mares - RHP - Socorro HS - El Paso, Texas
2008 Season - 8-4, 2.62 ERA, 58 strikeouts; also hit .471 with 63 RBI, 18 doubles and three home runs; named to all-city team; joins former teammate and current Lobo Gabe Aguilar
Birmingham about Mares: "Bobby Mares is one of the best pitching prospects out of El Paso in quite some time. 88-92 mph with a good breaking ball. Plays for legendary Coach Chris Forbes. A winner."
Abe Tarin - RHP, 6-2, 200 - La Cueva HS - Albuquerque, N.M.
2008 Season - 5A all-state second team as a pitcher and third baseman for Oñate High School in Las Cruces; transferred to La Cueva for senior season
Birmingham about Tarin: "Abe Tarin -- a possible future big leaguer. Abe has the stuff to make the freshman pitching staff "Omaha"-type in the future. 88-93 mph. Big frame and comes from a very hard-nosed family. Florez, House, Mares, Tarin make an Omaha staff for the future. These guys together can make New Mexico history."
John Twichell - 1B/OF, 6-2, 185, L/L - Bishop Lynch HS - Dallas, Texas
2008 Season - Batted .373, knocked in 29 RBI and belted four home runs; 6A TAPPS first team all-state
Birmingham about Twichell: "John Twichell is very exciting. One of the top power hitters in Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Hit 15 homer runs this past summer. Left-handed hitter that has power to all fields is hard to find. Can play outfield and first base."
The Lobo baseball team will get the 2009 season underway on Friday, Feb. 20 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 3 p.m. at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. For a complete 2009 schedule, go to www.GoLobos.com.