Aug. 31, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - School is back in session for students at UNM, and that means the Lobo baseball team is back and preparing to defend its Mountain West regular-season and tournament championships. The team just completed its first week of conditioning training as it prepares for fall practice to begin in about five weeks.
With players such as Mountain West Co-Players of the Year DJ Peterson and Mitchell Garver both returning, in addition to Freshmen All-American Ryan Padilla and Mountain West Tournament MVP Josh Melendez, the Lobos already figured to have a stacked roster. With the crop of new talent coming into the program, UNM figures to once again be near the top of the Mountain West standings. Here is a quick look at some of the new players who will help the Lobos try to make a fourth consecutive NCAA regionals appearance.
Kevin Baumgartner – LHP, Paradise Valley Community College; Phoenix, Ariz.
A fantastic control pitcher who can either start or come out of the bullpen, Baumgartner pitched for Victor Solis at paradise Valley. Solis is a good friend of both Birmingham and assistant coach Ken Jacome. He dealt with a knee injury last season so he missed a little time, but he still put up good numbers. In 12 games he went 3-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 77.2 innings. He struck out 47 and only walked 17. He also pitched in the West Coast League for the Kitsap BlueJackets, where he once again showed off his fantastic control. He went 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in eight games (five starts) and walked only nine batters in 42.1 innings.
Drew Bridges – INF, Fruita Monument HS; Grand Junction, Colo.
Bridges, who stands about 6'4 and 190 pounds, is a fantastic athlete who also excelled at basketball in high school. As a senior he averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds on the court. He has tremendous power who has a chance to stick somewhere on the infield next season for the Lobos. He earned 5A All-State Honorable Mention by the Denver Post after he hit .394 with 26 runs, 18 RBIs, and 10 extra base hits (four doubles, two triples, four home runs).
AJ Carman – RHP, Salt Lake City Community College; Bountiful, Utah
Salt Lake Community College was one of the top junior college programs in the country last season, rising as high as No. 2 in the polls, and Carman was one of their main pitchers. He finished the season with a 7-2 record and a 1.54 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) to earn First Team All-Region as SLCC went 45-10 on the season. He struck out 81 batters in 76 innings and allowed only seven extra base hits (all doubles) all season.
Anthony Consiglio – RHP, Western Nevada College; Las Vegas, Nev.
Consiglio started three games and made 12 relief appearances as WNC advanced to the NJCAA World Series last season. Like he did last season, Consiglio has the chance to either start or come out of the bullpen for UNM. He posted a record of 2-4 with a 4.74 ERA, and he struck out 51 versus 17 walks in 43.2 innings.
Jonathan Cuellar – RHP, Gateway Community College; Phoenix, Ariz.
Cuellar was a teammate of Melendez in 2011, and he posted fantastic stats this past season. He went 6-4 with a 1.72 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 94 innings. Like many of the pitchers coming to UNM this season, he has fantastic control as he walked only 18 batters all season. He also allowed only 18 earned runs and averaged less than one baserunner allowed per inning.
Taylor Duree – RHP, Sandia HS; Albuquerque, N.M.
A local product who played for the Albuquerque Baseball Academy last summer, Duree is a hard-throwing righty who was considering New Mexico Junior College before Birmingham convinced him to come pitch for the Lobos. He was named to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Class 5A All-State First Team as a senior, and he helped Sandia claim its first District 2-5A title in a decade by hurling a no-hitter in the clinching game.
Sam Haggerty – INF, Mullen HS; Denver, Colo.
A switch-hitting infielder who also played for the Albuquerque Baseball Academy this summer, he has a very good chance to play right away in the spring. He was a member of ESPN.com's All-Colorado High School Team and was named 5A All-State Honorable Mention by the Denver Post. He hit .439 with 24 RBIs and 24 runs as a senior. Eleven of his 25 hits went for extra bases (three doubles, five triples, three home runs).
Chase Harris – OF, College of Southern Idaho; Meridian, Idaho
Playing in the Scenic West Conference, the same conference as Salt Lake Community College and Western Nevada College (two of the top junior college programs in the country), Harris was named Region 18 Player of the Year last year. He hit .407 with 10 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs, 62 RBIs, 55 runs, and 31 stolen bases. He also had two 11-game hitting streaks and one 10-game hitting streak. During his 10-game streak he recorded eight multi-hit games, scored 12 runs and drove in a whopping 25 as he raised his average from .339 to .419.
Jered Meek – INF, Carlsbad HS; Carlsbad, N.M.
Another local New Mexico product, Meek was a state champion last year who is expected to play and contribute right away for the Lobos. Last year coaches named him the New Mexico 5A Player of the Year and 1st Team at shortstop. In Carlsbad's state semifinal victory over La Cueva, he set a new record by striking out 10 batters to help the Cavemen reach the championship game.
Tyler Rowe – RHP, Los Osos HS; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Coming out of the same high school as current Lobo basketball player Kendall Williams, Rowe will provide an immediate presence on UNM's pitching staff. He went 6-3 with a 1.49 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 65.2 innings last year. The true definition of a workhorse pitcher, he hurled five complete games as a senior and held opponents to a .183 batting average.
Tyler Spencer – RHP, Western Nevada College; Grants Pass, Ore.
He was a teammate of Consiglio last year at WNC and helped them reach the NJCAA World Series. He can start or come out of the bullpen, and he can really pitch. Last year he proved his versatility by appearing in 15 games, eight of which were starts. He had a 6-3 record with a 2.85 ERA in addition to 40 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. He also held opponents to a .216 batting average.
Trevor Whitmire – OF, Artesia HS; Artesia, N.M.
Another New Mexico product who is a phenomenal athlete. Whitmire is a switch-hitter who can really run. He also starred in football for Artesia and intercepted five passes in one game last season against Lovington. On the diamond he was named to the 4A All-State First Team as a pitcher and the Second Team as a shortstop, but he will probably play in the outfield for the Lobos.