Lobo Baseball - at Jaycee Field
When: Tuesday - 5:30 p.m. (MT), Wednesday - 1 p.m. (MT)
Who: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
GoLobos.com: Live stats,box score, live stream, postgame recap and stats
Mountain West Standings
|Place||School||MW record||Overall record|
|2||San Diego St.||10-5||24-8|
|6||San José St.||5-10||
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico baseball team is "in the grind" according to head coach Ray Birmingham, and there's no rest this week for the Lobos. For the third time in the last three weeks UNM will play two midweek games as it travels to Nacogdoches, Texas, to face the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. Only two teams in the nation (Texas Tech and Jackson State) have played more games than UNM's 34. The games against the Lumberjacks will be numbers 15 and 16 in a 23-day span for the Lobos. Luckily, UNM has just two midweek games scheduled the rest of the season, and both are at home: Monday, April 21 vs. Texas Tech and Monday, May 5 vs. Utah Valley.
Despite the tough schedule, UNM is still playing well, having won seven of its past 10 games. It's receiving votes in two polls and sits tied for second in the Mountain West. Chase Harris is among the national leaders in hits and RBIs and should garner serious consideration for Mountain West Player of the Year honors.
The Lumberjacks (15-15, 6-6 Southland) are coming off a series victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. SFA is playing well of late, winning five of its last seven, and all of its games have been close in that span. They have a pair of one-run wins, a pair of two-run wins, a three-run win, a one-run loss and a four-run loss. UNM, no stranger to close games itself, should expect a tight battle from the Lumberjacks.
SFA's offense is powered by senior outfielder Mackenzie Handel, who leads the team with 38 hits, 22 runs, eight home runs, 31 RBIs and a .622 slugging percentage. Freshman third baseman Nick Ramos leads the squad with a .347 average and is coming off two four-hit performances against TAMUCC. Zach Marberry is (.317) and Ricardo Sanchez (.302) are the other Lumberjacks hitting above .300, while Marberry leads the team with 14 doubles.
• SCOUTING STEPHEN F. AUSTIN ... The Lumberjacks (15-15) are a well-rounded team that gets solid production up and down its lineup. Eight players are hitting .289 or better and the team as a whole is batting .284. Freshman Nick Ramos leads the club with a .347 average after two four-hit games last weekend, but the real man to watch is Mackenzie Handel. The senior outfielder is hitting .342 and leads the team with eight homers, 31 RBIs, 22 runs, 38 hits, 21 walks, a .438 OBP and a .622 slugging percentage. Catcher Nick Marberry is third on the team with a .317 average and leads the squad with 14 doubles.
The pitching staff is allowing 6.3 runs per game and owns a 4.95 ERA. Closer Tyler Wiedenfeld is 1-1 with four saves and a 2.86 ERA in 11 appearances spanning 22.0 innings. Like most of the Lumberjack staff, he strikes out more than he walks (3:1 K:BB ratio) and doesn’t give up too many hits (.253 opp. batting average).
• CHASING HARRIS ... With all the offensive talent UNM lost from last season’s team, the Lobos needed Chase Harris to become The Man for them in 2014, and that is exactly what he has done. He currently leads the nation in at bats with 149, he is tied for fourth with 54 hits, and he ranks tied for seventh in the country with 38 RBIs. Meanwhile his 71 total bases is tops in the Mountain West, as are his 16 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI games, while his .362 average ranks second. He also leads the Lobos in home runs with four, triples with three, slugging (.517) and stolen bases (eight).
• WE WERE ONLY FRESHMEN ... The Lobos have received key contributions from many first-year players in 2014, but Danny Collier and Andre Vigil stand above the rest. Despite not starting when the season began, they now rank second and sixth on the team in batting at .340 and .322, respectively. Collier has reached base in 25 straight games while walking more than he has struck out. He has also yet to make an error in left field this season, and has two outfield assists, including one at home plate against San Jose State on March 22.
Vigil, meanwhile, is third on the team with five multi-RBI games, and had a 10-game hitting streak from March 14 to March 28. He hit .450 (18-for-40) during that stretch with nine runs, 12 RBIs and three doubles. He had five multi-hit games and struck out just three times in 44 plate appearances.
• THE MAGIC NUMBER ... Six appears to be UNM’s magic number for both the offense and pitching staff this season. The Lobos are 17-0 when scoring at least six runs and 19-2-1 when holding the opponent under six runs.
• HIT PARADE ... UNM saw its streak of 10 straight multi-hit games come to an end at Air Force on Saturday, March 29. It was the longest such streak in the nation this season. Also, the Lobos saw their 78-game streak of at least six hits come to an end in the same game.
• ‘BOS KNOW PITCHING ... If the UNM pitching staff can maintain its current 4.00 ERA over the rest of the season, it will post the fifth lowest ERA in the history of the program, and the lowest since 1976. The 2014 staff is doing this despite being on pace to set a school record for most innings pitched.
Despite pitching a mile above sea level, UNM has been excellent at home, posting a 2.98 ERA while holding opponents to a .265 batting average at Lobo Field.