ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - If you build it, they will come.
Those words were true in "Field of Dreams" and they also ring true for head coach Ray Birmingham and the University of New Mexico baseball team. The Lobos played their first home games of the 2014 season this past weekend when they hosted Missouri State and Northern Illinois in the Lobo Invite and record crowds came out to Lobo Field.
A total of 2,965 fans came to Lobo Field this weekend, the highest three-day crowd total in the stadium's history, as UNM played its first games under its all new lights, which is just the latest step in the renovations of Lobo Field.
Last season the Lobos' home received new turf, a new scoreboard, a new outfield fence, new dugouts, new bleachers and a new press box and this year it received lights. Birmingham isn't finished with Lobo Field yet, however, as he has bigger and better plans. He wants a new clubhouse, stadium seating, a larger press box, suites and more.
Fans who attended last weekend saw UNM improve to 16-3-1 at Lobo Field since returning there full-time last season while outscoring its opposition 175-91. The Lobos began the weekend with a 12-0 shutout of Northern Illinois in front of 894 fans Friday night, before falling to Missouri State 6-1 on Saturday with a crowd of 798 on hand. UNM played a doubleheader on Sunday and shutout Missouri State 7-0 before tying Northern Illinois 3-3 with 1,273 fans coming through the gates.
The crowd total narrowly edged a pair of Mountain West series hosted before the team moved to Isotopes Park in 2003. In 1998 2,902 fans saw the Lobos battle UNLV May 8-10, and in 2002 nearly the same number, 2,901, saw UNM face off with San Diego State.
UNM hosts Northern Colorado this weekend for a four-game set, with a 6 p.m. game Friday, a doubleheader with a 1 p.m. start Saturday, and the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday.