March 15, 2006
UP NEXT FOR THE LOBOS: New Mexico, 14-5 overall, returns to the field after five days off, its longest break since the season began. The Lobos host the Univ. of San Francisco Dons, 9-12 overall, who visit Sacramento State on Wednesday afternoon before heading to Albuquerque. The teams will meet for the first time ever on Friday, March 17 at 6 p.m. at Isotopes Park, sponsored by Big Oldies 98.5. They will also play Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Senior right handed Nate Melek will take the mound Friday against USF's righty Patrick McGuigan. Melek is 3-2 with a 3.74 ERA while McGuigan is 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA.
Lobo lefty, junior Danny Ray Herrera will square off with right handed Ryan Muller on Saturday. Herrera is undefeated at 5-0 and has a 1.59 ERA, the lowest in the Mountain West Conference. Muller is 1-2 with a 6.98 ERA.
Freshman righty Chace Lankford is slated to throw on Sunday against south paw Aaron Poreda. Lankford, who has pitched since March 5 due to last Sunday's game being cancelled, is 3-1 with a 4.40 ERA. Poreda, who is also tabbed to pitch on Wednesday afternoon vs. Sacramento State, is 1-3 with a 1.82 ERA.
Live stats will be available at the Lobos' official athletic website: www.GoLobos.com. Dan Rivera and Mike Foote will have the call on KDEF 1150 AM in Albuquerque and on the internet at UNM's website.
UNM VS. SAN FRANCISCO, THE SERIES: The all-time series begins now, as San Francisco becomes the 129th collegiate school to take on the Lobos in the program's 89 years of action.
San Francisco is the 20th different team to take on the Lobos at Isotopes Park since New Mexico started playing all their home games there in 2004. Overall, first-time visitors to the park have gone 10-9 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 and this season, they are 1-1.
A LOOK AT THE LOBOS: New Mexico is running on all cylinders, pulling out in front of the competition in the Mountain West Conference. As a team, they lead the conference in almost every batting statistic and are among the top three in all the pitching and fielding statistics. Individually, they dominate the top-10 offensive categories, placing multiple players on each list.
Of the 18 players who have had a plate appearance, half of them are hitting over .300. Junior Chris Carlson holds the highest batting average (.386), leading the team in home runs (6), slugging percentage (.714), walks (16) and on base percentage (.511). Junior Matt Foote is right on his heels, hitting .380 and leading the team in stolen bases (11) and is tied with sophomore Jordan Pacheco for times hit by a pitch (9). Pacheco (.342) and junior Jay Russell (.367) lead the team in runs scored (27) while junior Daniel Stovall (.329) tops the team in at bats (85), hits (28), doubles (13) and RBI (35).
Junior Danny Ray Herrera has led the Lobo pitching staff, starting the season 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA. In six starts, Herrera has thrown two complete games, including one shutout, and struck out a team-high 36 in 45.1 innings. Junior Damon Miller has been solid out of the bull pen, making a team-high nine appearances for a 1-0 record, two saves and a 3.00 ERA. Miller has allowed just four earned runs to score in 12 innings and has fanned eight.
New Mexico has been tight defensively, fielding .970 as a team. Out of 32 players to see time on the field, only nine have committed an error with 14 holding perfecting fielding percentages. The Lobos have also made a name for themselves thanks to their infield. They have turned 37 double plays thanks to Pacheco at second, Stovall at first and junior Ryan Barba at short.
SCOUTING THE DONS: San Francisco, 8-12 overall, are 5-1 at home but just 3-10 on the road. The Dons swept their weekend series with Georgetown, outscoring the Hoyas 17-3. They could have a four-game win streak as they enter the weekend vs. New Mexico if they beat Sacramento State Wednesday afternoon.
The Dons are hitting just .283 as a team, with only four players over .300. Joey Railey leads the team, hitting .448 with a team-high 30 hits, 13 walks and a .549 on base percentage. Stefan Gartrell, hitting .350, leads the team in double (7), RBI (18), walks (13) and slugging percentage (.600). Outfield/pitcher Scott Cousins (.292) has scored a team-high 16 runs and stolen eight bases.
On the mound, Patrick McGuigan, last week's WCC Player of the Week, leads the team in wins with three. With a 3.32 ERA, McGuigan has struck out 27 batters in 38 innings, throwing two complete games, including one shutout. Aaron Poreda has the best ERA for starting pitchers at 1.82. Poreda is 1-3 with 18 strikeouts and just five walks in 29.2 innings over five starts.
HERRERA NAMED MWC PITCHER OF THE WEEK AGAIN: New Mexico junior left hander Danny Ray Herrera was named Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. Herrera, picking up his third career honor, is the only player or pitcher to garner a weekly honor from the MWC twice this season.
Herrera, from Odessa, Texas, improved to 5-0 on the season with his win over No. 12 Oregon State last weekend. In 8.0 innings on the mound, he gave up two earned runs on 11 hits, while striking out a career-high tying nine batters. Five of Herrera's nine strikeouts came in the first two innings, while he scattered only four hits over his last five innings, including one in the last three innings.
WINNING WAYS: The Lobos are 14-5 overall, which is the best start through the first 19 games since head coach Rich Alday took over the program in 1990. The 1993 has the next best record at 12-7. That team went on to win 35 games, which is tied with the 2000 team for the fifth most wins in a single season in program history. The 2000 team, through its first 17 games, were 9-10 and went on to win the Mountain West Conference regular season title. Currently, the 14 wins is the most in the conference. The next closest is TCU, which was predicted to with the MWC, and UNLV with nine. The Lobos were picked to finish fifth.
In New Mexico's 89 years of baseball, the only teams to have better records through 19 games was the 1985 and 1968 teams, which both were 17-2. The most wins in a single season is 42, by the 1985 team. The second most is 41, achieved by the 1980 squad. The `85 team was 17-2 thanks to a 12-game win streak while the `80 team, which would string together two 10-game wins streaks, was 12-9 through its first 19. This season's team, which had an impressive eight-game win streak, is projected to win 40 of 55 games, which includes the two guaranteed games in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: With senior Ryan Barba at shortstop, sophomore Jordan Pacheco at second base and junior Daniel Stovall at first, New Mexico opponents have run into trouble against arguably the best infield in the MWC.The Lobos' 37 double plays fielded are more than any other MWC school's production with UNLV the next closest with 24. Not to mention Barba, Pacheco and Stovall rank 1, 2 and 3 in the conference for most double plays turned with 28, 27 and 27, respectively.
DAN THE DOUBLE MAN: Junior Daniel Stovall has been a double-hitting machine this season, cranking out 13 to lead the Mountain West Conference. Stovall hit two in four different games this season, including each of the games in the series vs. Northern Colorado.
HOT HITTING HOLLICK: Sophomore Ian Hollick has not gotten a lot of attention this season. He is hitting .338 with 16 runs scored, six doubles, a triple, three home runs, 18 RBI, 15 walks and even four stolen bases. And even though he has been consistent, Hollick has been somewhat overshadowed by hit teammates, who lead the team in various offensive and defensive stats. That is, until now.
Hollick has a team-long 13 game hit streak, also a career high, that is in tact heading into the weekend series vs. San Francisco. He also accomplished a rare feat vs. 12th-ranked Oregon State last Friday. Hollick hit a solo home run off of Dallas Buck, which was just the third off of Buck and the fourth against the team all season.
D-RAY DELIVERS: Junior Danny Ray Herrera has done nothing but deliver win after win for New Mexico. A perfect 5-0 in six starts, Herrera holds a 1.59 ERA, the best in the MWC. Herrera has thrown two complete games, including one shutout, leading the conference in innings at 45.1. Herrera has allowed 36 hits, but only two were more than singles. He has fanned 36 and walked just seven. Only eight runs have scored with Herrera on the mound.
FAST FOOTE: Junior Matt Foote has been running all season and shows no signs of slowing down. His 11 stolen bases on 14 tries leads the team and is second in the conference. He has scored 25 runs, the second most on the team and the third most in the MWC.
MILLER MAKING HIS MOVE: Junior transfer Damon Miller has proven he is the guy who deserves the ball in ninth. Miller has made a team-high nine appearances in relief for New Mexico, earning a win and two saves. His 3.00 ERA is the third lowest on the team for pitchers making more than one appearance. In 12 innings, he has allowed just four earned runs to score and struck out eight.
PUT ME IN COACH, I'M READY TO PLAY: Freshman Chad Itokazu has been ready to play anywhere head coach Rich Alday wants to put him. He started two games in right field, pinch hit and thrown in relief and performed well each time. At the plate, he is hitting .250 (2-for-8) but has one of the team's seven triples and has three RBI. On the mound, Itokazu has made six appearance for 7.1 innings. He has walked just two and struck out seven with a 3.52 ERA.
ROLE REVERSAL: Freshman Chace Lankford began the season as UNM's closer but has recently made the switch to starter. In his first three appearances, Lankford came in to close a game, compiling a 1-1 record with a save. But his last two appearances have been as the Sunday starter, going 2-0. Overall, Lankford has been successful no matter when he throws, posting a 4.40 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 14.1 innings.
Senior Darren Coltrinari and junior Danny Ray Herrera are vying for the same record. Herrera has made 33 career starts while Coltrinari has 32. 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 16 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).
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.