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Lobos Rumble With The Wolverines This Weekend
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/23/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 23, 2006

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UP NEXT FOR THE LOBOS: The Lobos host their first weekend series of the season, taking on Utah Valley State. Right-handed senior Nate Melek, coming off his first win of the season at Arizona, is scheduled to pitch for the Lobos on Friday. Melek is 1-1 on the season with a 2.45 ERA, the seventh best in the Mountain West Conference. Utah Valley State's Friday started will be Kam Mickolio. The right-hander is 0-2 overall with an 11.00 ERA. Saturday, southpaw junior Danny Ray Herrera will take on Kalen Parsons. Herrera is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA while Parsons is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA. The Lobos have not decided on the starting pitcher for Sunday. Kyle Tash, 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA, gets the nod for the Wolverines.

Live stats will be available on the Lobos' official athletic website, www.GoLobos.com, free of charge. KDEF 1150 AM will broadcast the game locally and be available on the internet via the Lobos' website.

UNM VS. UTAH VALLEY STATE, THE SERIES: The Lobos have never taken on Utah Valley State. The independent Wolverines are the 18th different team to take on the Lobos at Isotopes Park since New Mexico started playing all their home games their in 2004. Overall, first-time visitors to the park have gone 8-9 in their first game. In 2004, opponents were 6-6 in their first game. In 2005, first-time visitors to Isotopes Park were 2-3 in their initial game.

A LOOK AT THE LOBOS: The Lobos, 5-4 overall, haven't played their best baseball at Isotopes Park this season. They are 0-2 at home but are 5-2 on the road. The team holds a .262 batting average and a 5.16 ERA.

Individually, freshmen Max Willett and Zach Arnett have the best batting averages (.500 and .429, respectively) but have seen action in less than half of UNM's games. Junior Matt Foote leads the everyday players with a .364 average. Foote also leads the team in runs (11), hits (12), hit by pitches (4) and stolen bases (6). Junior Chris Carlson leads the team in home runs (4) and RBI (13), hitting .324.

Junior Danny Ray Herrera tops the Lobo pitching staff in wins with two. In a team-leading three games started, Herrera has pitched 22.1 innings, giving up just six runs and five walks while striking out 15. His 2.42 ERA is the sixth best in the MWC. Senior Nate Melek has also been a dominating force for UNM. Melek is 1-1 in two starts but has only allowed four earned runs and three walks in 14.2 innings. His 2.45 ERA is the seventh best in the conference. Junior Damon Miller and freshman Chace Lankford have been the stars of the bullpen. Miller, leading the team in appearances with four, has a 1.35 ERA with a save in 6.2 innings of work. Miller has allowed just one run to score while striking out six. Lankford is 1-1 with a save, accompanying his 2.08 ERA. In 4.1 innings, Lankford has given up just one run and one walk while fanning three.

Defensively, New Mexico maintains a .967 fielding percentage thanks to 13different Lobos with perfect fielding percentages. The Lobos, having turned 20 double plays, rely heavily on senior shortstop Ryan Barba, sophomore second baseman Jordan Pacheco and junior first baseman Daniel Stovall, who have turned 14, 14 and 13 double plays, respectively, to claim the top-3 spots in the MWC.

SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES: Utah Valley State, 2-5 overall, is coming off a weekend series with Fresno State, where the Bulldogs took two of three. Led by 16th-year head coach Steve Gardner, the Wolverines are hitting .314 with a 5.53 ERA.

Six Wolverines are hitting over .300, including team-leaders Adam Openshaw and Eli Slesk. Openshaw, hitting .407, leads the team in RBI (7), has his their lone home run and is tied with Slesk for most hits (11). Sleck, hitting .367, leads the team in runs scored (11) and stolen bases (2).

Kyle Tash leads UVSC's pitching staff, claiming both of their wins. With a 2.81 ERA, Tash has pitched a team-high 16.0 innings. Utah Valley State's other weekend starters, Kalen Parsons and Kam Mickolio, hold 6.17 and 11.00 ERAs, respectively. Parsons leads the Wolverines in strikeouts with seven while Mickolio has allowed the most hits (16), runs (13), earned runs (11) and walks (8). Brett Guerrero and Dan Christensen have been the top relievers. Neither have allowed an earned run to score.

Junior Matt Foote was perfect at the plate (3-for-3) vs. NMSU and stole four bases.


FOOTE NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior center fielder Matt Foote was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week for the first time in his career. From Albuquerque, N.M., Foote hit .375 (6-for-16) at the plate with two doubles, three RBI and six runs scored last week, as New Mexico collected two wins, both coming in a three-game series at Arizona. He started the week off with a 1-for-4, one RBI, one run scored performance in a loss to Texas Tech. In game one vs. Arizona, he went 1-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Foote drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the fourth, then scored the game-winning run in the Lobos' 6-5 win. In game two he was 1-for-3 with another run scored in UNM's 7-3 victory. In the final game of the series, Foote went 3-for-5 with an RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base in a 19-16 loss. His three hits and three runs scored were both career highs. Defensively, Foote had 12 putouts and an assist with no errors from centerfield.

KEEP THE BALL INSIDE THE PARK: Juniors Chris Carlson and Daniel Stovall and sophomore Jordan Pacheco have have combined to hit seven home runs in three games this year. Unfortunately for the Lobos, they are 0-3 in games when they hit a home run.

REACHING FOR THE RECORDBOOKS: Junior Daniel Stovall is almost into the UNM career record books. Stovall, with 23 home runs, trails fifth place by 11. Jeff Grady is currently in fifth with 34 career homers. Stovall hit nine bombs in 2005 and 12 in 2004. He already has two this season.

Senior Darren Coltrinari and junior Danny Ray Herrera are vying for the same record. Coltrinari has 32 games started in his career while Herrera has 30. The fifth most is 40, held by Barry Kiess (1994-97) and James Vermilyea (2001-03). The record is 47.

Both Coltrinari and Herrera are also approaching the top-5 in wins and losses. Herrera, with 14 wins, and Coltrinari, with 11 wins, are chasing Ron Adair (1971-74) and Kurt Hildebrandt (1991-93, `95), who are tied for fifth with 20. Coltrinari and Herrera both have 12 career losses, needing five to place in a four-way tie for second with 17. The record is 21, set by Barry Kiess (1994-97).

RETURNING HOME: It didn't take sophomore catcher Drew McDonald long to make the trip back home. McDonald, a Tucson native, transfered to New Mexico this semester after spending the first year and a half of his collegiate career at Arizona. McDonald saw limited time at Arizona last season and didn't want to split time this year, making the move to Albuquerque, where he has started five of the first eight games.

McDonald didn't disappoint any of his friends or family either, going 3-for-8 (.375) with three RBI to lead the Lobos to two wins. The first win, 6-5 on Friday, ended a 23-game losing streak to Arizona.

HOME SWEET HOME: Albuquerque native, freshman Zach Arnett put on a show is his home debut as a Lobo last Tuesday. Arnett, who was hitless in his first collegiate appearance on the road, went 3-for-5 with two RBI against Texas Tech. Starting Sunday's game at Arizona, Arnett against went 3-for-5 with a RBI. For the week, he was 6-for-10 (.600) with a triple and three RBI. He also had a perfect fielding percentage with 14 putouts, three assists, turned one double play and caught one runner stealing.

Junior Damon Miller has allowed just one earned run in 6.2 innings of relief for a 1.35 ERA.


MILLER MAKING HIS MOVE: Junior transfer Damon Miller has proven he can be counted on. Last week he made a team-high three appearances, getting one save. In 4.2 innings of work, he allowed just three hits and three walks while holding his opponents scoreless and striking out four. His perfect ERA in week two dropped his overall ERA to 1.35, the second best on the team. Miller leads the team in appearances (4) and is second in strikeouts (6).

CLOSING CALL: Freshman Chace Lankford has answered the call to the bullpen, taking the ball to close out three of New Mexico's first five games. Lankford is 1-1 with a save. He has thrown 4.1 innings, allowing just four hits, one run and one walk while striking out three. Lankford has the team's fourth lowest ERA at 2.08.

PRIZED PITCHING: The Lobo pitching staff got off to an incredible start, allowing just 10 runs in their first four games. Last season, they allowed 10 or less over a four-game stretch just once. Their opponents averaged 9.25 runs per game against UNM last season.

To start a season, the last time New Mexico allowed 10 runs its first four games was in 1969. Since then, the Lobos have allowed less that 20 runs in their first four games only seven times with five of them coming in the 1970s. The most recent season which saw the Lobos give up less than 20 in the first four games was 2000, which allowed 11.

FORESEEING THE FUTURE?: Even though it is extremely early in the season, the Lobos' five wins has them in a two-way tie for first in the Mountain West Conference. They also started the season 3-1 for the first times since 2000. That season the Lobos went on to a 35-21 record, including a 22-8 mark in the Mountain West, earning the first MWC Championship.

KDEF 1150 AM TO BROADCAST LOBO BASEBALL FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE SEASON: For the third straight season, Albuquerque radio station KDEF will supply exclusive broadcasts of Lobo baseball on 1150 AM and throughout the world at www.GoLobos.com. All of the team's 29 home games will be broadcast live.

Henry Tafoya will call the play-by-play for the Lobos, while Dan Rivera and Mike Foote will provide analysis. It also marks the third straight season for the trio calling Lobo baseball.

Prior to each broadcast, there will be a 15 minute pre-game show. A post-game show with interviews will follow at the conclusion of each game.

In addition to the broadcasts, all of New Mexico's home games can be followed live on the internet at www.GoLobos.com with Gametracker. Gametracker takes official statistics from the press box and provides up-to-the-minute information for users, including updated team and individual stats, an updated box score, and play-by-play. Gametracker can be accessed on the right side of UNM's home page in the upcoming events box.

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