July 11, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There were stretches during the 2012 season that UNM starting pitcher Austin House simply could not be scored upon, and he was a big reason the Lobos recorded their lowest staff ERA in 35 years.
From March 4 through March 24 the Albuquerque-native went 22 1/3 innings without giving up an earned run, and only four runs total. His performance came in perhaps the Lobos’ toughest stretch during the season. His starts came against No. 16 Oklahoma, No. 22 Gonzaga, the opening series of Mountain West play against San Diego St., and finished with No. 19 TCU.
His superb pitching and win over San Diego St. earned him MW Pitcher of the Week honors on March 19.
“I'm so proud of that kid," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said at the time. "He's a New Mexico kid. He's a kid that pitched very limited time in high school, but I believed in him. He had a growing process as a freshman and sophomore, but now he's a junior and he's everything I hoped he would be."
But as impressive as that stretch was, House was even more impressive at the end of the season when it mattered most.
Beginning on May 17 versus Air Force and then spanning his final two starts, he did not allow a run of any kind. He hurled 17 1/3 scoreless innings to end the season, and one got the feeling he would have continued if the Lobos had advanced deeper in the postseason.
It started in the fifth inning against the Falcons. He recorded the last out of that inning and then produced a perfect sixth before coming out of the game. His next appearance came against UNLV in the MW Tournament. He dominated the Rebels in a complete game shutout as the Lobos began their run to a second straight MW Tournament championship. His performance earned him a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
House’s last outing came against San Diego in the NCAA Los Angeles regional. He threw seven more shutout innings and earned his eighth win of the season. That lowered his ERA to 2.74, which led all Lobo pitchers who averaged at least one inning pitched per game. What is even more impressive is the Toreros came into the game batting .310 as a team and had a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, Kris Bryant, who is now playing with UNM’s DJ Peterson on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team.
As it turns out, those 17 1/3 innings would be the final ones House would ever throw for the Lobos. He was drafted in the 14th round of the MLB draft on June 5 and signed a professional contract with the Oakland A’s. He was another in the line of superb New Mexico-natives to play for UNM and leaves the program in perhaps the best shape it has ever been.
During his three years at UNM, House was part of three NCAA regional teams, two MW Tournament championship teams, and one MW regular-season championship team. He is currently pitching for the Vermont Lake Monsters in the Class-A New York-Pennsylvania League. He has been converted to a closer and has two saves in six appearances. He has struck out 12 in only eight innings while allowing only three hits and two runs.