Feb. 28, 2008
Up Next For Lobo Baseball
Games #6-8 at Texas State
Friday, Feb. 29 5 p.m. (MST)
Saturday, March 1 1 p.m. (MST)
Sunday, March 2 12 p.m. (MST)
Bobcat Field San Marcos, Texas
Live Stats: Gametracker on GoLobos.com
Against Texas State (3-1): This will be the 10th meeting between the Lobos and Bobcats in a series that just began in 2005. UNM holds a 5-4 lead in the series, following the 2007 2-1 series win in Albuquerque.
Up Next: The Lobos continue with five more games on the road at Arizona State and the Metrodome Tournament in Minneapolis.
LOBO BASEBALL QUICK HITS
Best Start ... The Birmingham era is off to a great start as the Lobos begin the 2008 season 5-0. It is the first time since 1973 that New Mexico has started 5-0. The 1973 squad started the season 17-0. But don't let the starting records of the previous 35 teams fool you. 2008 marked only the eighth time the Lobos have started the season in the friendly confines of home since 1973.
Lights, Camera, Action ... The Mountain West Conference announced the 2008 television package for baseball on Monday, Feb. 25. The Lobos will be featured on the small screen three times this season - May 2 and 3 at BYU, and May 17 vs. TCU - before the MWC Tournament on May 20-24 in Fort Worth, Texas. The games at BYU will be live on BYU-TV (Comcast 289) and tape delayed on The Mtn. (Comcast 276) the next day. The home game against TCU at Isotopes Park will be live on The Mtn. (Comcast 276). Every game of the 2008 MWC Tournament will be carried live on The Mtn. with the Championship Game carried on CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV; Comcast 274).
This Season Will Go Fast ... With new NCAA legislation, teams are trying to cram 56 games into a 13-week window, about four weeks shorter than normal.
Norton didn't surrender a hit to the Red Raiders until the fourth inning, giving up two consecutive singles to Joey Kenworthy and Chris Richburg. With no outs and runners on first and second, Norton coaxed the designated hitter Roger Kieschnick into a 4-6-3 double play and retired the next batter to escape the jam. McDonald led off the second with a home run and has now had a round-tripper in three of his five first at-bats this season. After a Kevin Atkinson double down the left-field line, junior Brian Cavazos-Galvez blasted a monster shot to left field, giving the Lobos an early lead. Mike Brownstein would later double in Scott Gracey to put the Lobos ahead 4-0 after two. The Lobos plated another run in the fourth after Cavazos-Galvez legged out a triple to lead off the inning and was brought home on a Dane Hamilton fly out.
The Red Raiders led off the fifth with a single, but again Norton forced a double play and stuck out the next batter to keep Texas Tech scoreless. Matt Hibbitts, who singled in the third, laced a double to left field to start the bottom frame of the fifth. McDonald followed with a double of his own and would finish the day 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Two batters later, Cavazos-Galvez doubled to score McDonald and put the Lobos up 7-0. Cavazos-Galvez ended the day a single shy of the cycle, but with three hits and three RBIs.
Trouble came in the top of the seventh for Norton. Kieschnick led the inning off with a double and would score on a home run by Jason Seefeld, making the score 7-2.
Norton would give way to junior Clinton Cox who pitched 2.2 innings of solid relief, striking out three and giving up only one run, his first in his three appearances this season. Norton surrendered only five hits and fanned three while walking two in his first win of the season.
STOPPING TECH ... The Lobos' 7-3 win against Texas Tech on Feb. 27 was a pleasant sight considering the Red Raiders had won 10 of the previous 11 meetings between the two teams. The series that began in 1962 will continue on Tuesday, March 11 when TTU makes a return trip to Isotopes Park. The Lobos will play two games in Lubbock on April 8 and 9.
SENIOR LEADERSHIP ... It was the seniors that led the way in the EMU series. Catcher Drew McDonald got his third year with the Lobo program off to a solid start. McDonald hit .500 for the Eastern Michigan four-game series, including seven runs, two home runs and 10 RBI. Five of those RBI came in Game One when McDonald just missed a single for the cycle. His first at-bat was a three-run homer to left, followed by a triple, and a double.
NEDA MAKES COLLEGIATE DEBUT ... True freshman Rafael Neda got his campaign for Freshman All-America honors underway against Eastern Michigan. Neda started his college career as the Lobos designated hitter, then started at catcher in Game Three of the series. The freshman out of Amphitheater High School in Tucson, Ariz., hit .444 for the series, tied McDonald for runs scored with seven and hits with eight. Neda hit a team-leading three doubles to go along with a home run and seven RBI in the series. Defensively, he caught three runners trying to steal second in Game Three.
THROWING THE KITCHEN SINK ... It was `show us what you've got' time for the Lobo pitching staff in the EMU series. UNM used 16 pitchers out of the 19 on the roster during the four-game series.
Of the four starters, sophomore Ryan Escarcega made the most of his opportunity. The Albuquerque West Mesa High School graduate did not allow a run and only gave up one hit in five innings of work on Feb. 24. Newcomer Willy Kesler had the next-best start with two runs, no walks and six strikeouts in 5.2 innings of action in Game Three of the series.
Newcomers Will Kerr and John Hesketh made two appearances in solid middle relief, while Clinton Cox made two strong finishes. Hesketh and Cox are transfers from Vernon College, Kerr from Clarendon College.
Even shortstop Scott Gracey took the mound for one inning of action to close out Sunday's game.
THREE ASPECTS OF GRACEY ... Sophomore Scott Gracey did it all in the first series of the season against Eastern Michigan - hitting, fielding and pitching. From the plate, the Albuquerque La Cueva High School graduate hit .353 over four games, including his first career triple as a Lobo. He just missed hitting for the cycle in Game Three of the series with the triple, a double, and two singles in the game. From the field, Gracey started all four games at shortstop and only committed two errors in 21 chances. To top off the weekend series, Gracey moved from shortstop to the mound in the ninth inning of the Feb. 24 game with a 6-2 lead and threw a complete inning to preserve the Lobos' fourth win of the season.
HOMEGROWN TALENT ... Eight players on the New Mexico roster hail from the state while three others made the trek north from Hobbs to Albuquerque with their head coach.
Cibola H.S. - Quentin Andes
Eldorado H.S. - Brett Haggerty
La Cueva H.S. - Scott Gracey
Manzano H.S. - Brian Cavazos-Galvez (by way of NMJC); Adam Kramer (by way of NMJC)
Moriarty H.S. - Bobby Moore
Taos H.S. - Adam Skelton
West Mesa H.S. - Ryan Escarcega
NMJC - David Carpenter, Kevin Atkinson, Coty Wilson
A FOREIGN FLAVOR ... To go along with all the local and regional talent, the Lobos have representatives from Australia, Mexico and Canada on the roster. Utility player Adam Courcha hails from Perth, Australia, while freshman catcher Rafael Neda is a native of Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, who finished high school in Arizona. Three players - Will Kerr, Kevin Atkinson, and John Hesketh - phone home to the Province of British Columbia in Canada.
RED CROSS UNIT ... Senior third baseman Ian Hollick has seen limited action in three games so far as he recovers from a wrist injury suffered during the preseason. Hollick is the Lobos only senior three-year letterwinner and has played in 168 games for UNM.
PLAYING FOR THE BOOTS ... The New Mexico baseball team is dedicating the 2008 season to the men and women serving in the United States military with the theme "Playing for the Boots". The Lobos received a pair of Army boots from a serviceman who is serving in Iraq.
The boots will be in the UNM dugout of every home and road game during the 2008 season. Team manager Coby Shields, a junior from Hobbs, N.M., will be responsible for the boots throughout the season.
"We have a great appreciation for our men and women serving in the Armed Forces who put their lives on the line each day," said Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham. "Our young men can at least give all they have every day in appreciation for the freedom we have to play baseball in this great country of ours. Our soldiers, over the entire history of America, have given this to us. Lobos appreciate and respect that sacrifice."
PRESEASON NOTICE ... Several Lobos caught the eye of the conference coaches and media and the national publications during the preseason.
Brooks Wallace Award Watch List - Bobby LaFromboise
Mountain West Conference Preseason Team - Matt Hibbitts, Bobby LaFromboise
Baseball America MWC Preseason Team - Matt Hibbitts, Bobby LaFromboise, Drew McDonald
Baseball America Fab 50 Seniors - Bobby LaFromboise
PUTTING THE STUDENT IN STUDENT-ATHLETE ... Following the Fall 2007 semester, five Lobo baseball players were named to the UNM Dean's List, along with 22 others named to the UNM Honor Roll.
Fall 2007 High Honor Roll (3.50+ semester GPA)
Quentin Andes, Mike Brownstein, Clinton Cox, Bret Fanning, Gabriel Flores, Scott Gracey, Daniel Grubbs, Dane Hamilton, Matt Hibbitts, Brian Hill, Ian Hollick, Chad Itokazu, Bobby Moore, Derek Pilkington, Mark Rockey
Fall 2007 Honor Roll (3.00-3.49 semester GPA)
Eric Baalman, Newel Beauchamp, Ryan Escarcega, Brett Haggerty, Brandon Hewett, Willy Kesler, Anthony Martinez, Drew McDonald, Tim McGuire, Rafael Neda, Adam Skelton, Coty Wilson
HONORING THE PAST ... From a pitching hill to Capitol Hill, Senator Pete Domenici is no stranger to success. Domenici, who participated in pre-game ceremonies at the Feb. 22 University of New Mexico baseball home opener, went from throwing heat to signing legislation, representing the state of New Mexico all the while.
Born in Albuquerque on May 7, 1932 to Italian immigrants, Domenici is the only son of five children. As a youth in Albuquerque, he worked at his father's wholesale grocery business.
Domenici is a 1949 graduate of St. Mary's High School and a 1954 University of New Mexico alum. Domenici played baseball for the Lobos under George Petrol in the 1950s, going 14-3 his senior year and earning all-conference honors.
After college, Domenici signed a baseball contract to pitch for the Albuquerque Dukes. After one year with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers farm club, Domenici went from the diamond to the classroom to teach math at the junior high level.
In 1958, Domenici earned his law degree from the University of Denver and returned to Albuquerque to enter private practice.
Elected to the Albuquerque City Commission in the mid-1960s, Domenici served as the city's equivalent to mayor. In 1972, he ran for the U.S. Senate and has stayed there since, currently serving in his sixth six-year term. He plans on retiring after this term, which expires in January 2009.
As the longest serving senator in the history of New Mexico, Domenici is more concerned with bills than balks these days, and has tackled issues ranging from energy security to fiscal responsibility in the federal budget. It is safe to say his 36 years serving as a New Mexico senator is his greatest stat of all.