July 27, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Josh Melendez got his UNM baseball career off to a tremendous start when the Lobos faced Nevada in the opening series of the 2012 season. The junior transfer reached base in his first seven plate appearances by way of three hits and four walks. That was the most consecutive times on base to start a career under UNM head coach Ray Birmingham.
But that was just a precursor to the success Melendez would experience in the Mountain West Tournament.
The tournament began in Las Vegas, Nev., on Thursday, May 24, one day before the center fielder's 21st birthday. He could not have asked for a better weekend.
In UNM's opening game against host UNLV Melendez went 3-for-4 with three runs, an RBI, a double, and a triple. His three-bagger jump-started the Lobos' nine-run second, which propelled them to a 13-0 victory.
Melendez celebrated his birthday the next day with another multi-hit performance as the Lobos defeated TCU 5-2. He went 2-for-3 with two runs, an RBI, and a stolen base.
With the Lobos trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Melendez knocked in UNM's first run with a sacrifice fly. Then with the score tied in the sixth, he used his speed to score the eventual winning run.
With one out he reached on an error and promptly stole second. Trey Porras followed with a single through the hole between first and second as Melendez raced around third and slid into home just ahead of the throw to make the score 3-2. He then scored the Lobos' fifth and final run in the eighth.
He completed the weekend with another three-hit performance as the Lobos routed San Diego State 22-3 to win their second consecutive MW Tournament championship. He scored twice, drove in two, and added another double.
Melendez finished the weekend 8-for-13 (.615) with seven runs, four RBIs, two doubles, a triple, and a stolen base to earn Tournament MVP honors.
"It definitely does feel great getting the (MVP) award," Melendez said as the team celebrated on the field after the game. "But ... it was a team effort and I'm glad we all got out here and got three wins."
And he had a pretty special 21st birthday weekend.