July 31, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – During the 2011 Mountain West Tournament, Bobby Mares was virtually unhittable. He allowed only two hits with five strikeouts in six innings of relief in two games against TCU as the Lobos won their first MW Tournament championship and he was named to the All-Tournament Team.
One year later, he was at it again.
Facing those same pesky Horned Frogs on May 25 with a trip to the MW Tournament championship game on the line, Mares entered in the seventh inning with the Lobos clinging to a 3-2 lead and the tying run on second base.
He proceeded to strike out Josh Elander, TCU’s best hitter, to end the threat. He came back out for the eighth and induced a pop out and two swinging strikeouts.
In the ninth Mares allowed his only base runner of the night in the form of a leadoff infield single. He easily shrugged that off, though, as he struck out the final three batters to end the game and send UNM to the championship game.
Mares struck out six of the eight batters he faced that night and, even though it was his only appearance of the tournament, it was enough to earn him a spot on the All-Tournament Team for the second straight season.
Over the past two years Mares has struck out 11 batters in eight and one-third innings while allowing only three hits at the MW Tournament. His numbers have come in three appearances, all of which were against the always-tough Horned Frogs.
He led the Lobos with five saves in 2012, so his importance to the team cannot be understated. But for two straight years, in the MW Tournament in late May, he has turned from a valuable arm out of the bullpen to one of the team’s best and most indispensable players. It is certain that without Mares’ performances, the Lobos would not be defending back-to-back MW Tournament championships in 2013.