Lobo Baseball - at Lobo Field
When: Friday - 6p.m. (MT), Saturday - 2 p.m. (MT), Sunday - 1 p.m. (MT)
Who: UNLV Rebels
GoLobos.com: Live stats, live stream, box score, postgame recap and stats
Radio: ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM will broadcast all three games live. Fans can listen on their radio, online at GoLobos.com or on the TuneIn radio app.
Video: Each game will be streamed live on GoLobos.com.
Mountain West Standings
|Place||School||MW record||Overall record|
|3||San Diego St.||2-1||9-3|
|4||San Jose St.||2-4||4-9|
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - You can't ask for a much better matchup to start conference play if you're a fan of college baseball. The Lobos, picked as Mountain West co-favorites by the league's coaches before the season, welcome UNLV, which was picked third only two points behind UNM, to Lobo Field this weekend. Despite it being UNM's first foray into MW action in 2014, the Lobos are actually the last team in the conference to start league play.
And it kicks off with a doozy Friday night. Drew Bridges and his 2.30 ERA will take on UNLV ace Erick Fedde, who will likely be a first-round draft pick in this June's MLB Draft. Fedde has struck out 25 in 21.0 innings this season and boasts a 1.71 ERA.
The Lobos have had success against the junior righty, though, touching him for five runs in 5.0 innings on April 26 last season at Lobo Field, while in 2012 the Lobos tagged him for 10 runs in just 1.1 innings in the Mountain West Tournament, which was played at UNLV's Earl E. Wilson Stadium.
The good pitching matchups don't end after Friday night, though. Lobo lefty Colton Thomson, who has allowed just seven hits in 16.0 innings this year, takes the hill on Saturday against the Rebels' John Richy, who is 2-0 with 15 strikeouts in 20.1 innings so far.
Sunday provides yet another intriguing matchup. UNM's Josh Walker will face off against UNLV's Bryan Bonnell. The two pitchers have combined to hurl 43.2 innings in 2014 and they have yet to walk a batter between them. Each pitcher has thrown a complete game this season, while Walker is coming off a 16.2 scoreless innings streak that was broken in the eighth inning of his last start, and Bonnell has allowed just four earned runs all year.
• SCOUTING UNLV ... The Rebels enter the weekend having won four in a row, including a sweep of Air Force to open their MW schedule last weekend. The team is led offensively by Joey Armstrong (.391), Edgar Montes (.375) and Erik VanMeetren (.371). The trio paces UNLV’s team batting average of .288. The strength of the Rebels, though, is their pitching staff.
UNLV currently boasts an ERA of 2.21, having alowed just 23 earned runs (38 total) in 97.2 innings. The staff is also holding opponents to a .224 batting average against. The weekend rotation of Erick Fedde (1.71), John Richy (3.10) and Bryan Bonnell (1.59) is as good as they get in the Mountain West. Each starter has thrown over 20 innings in three starts this season. Fedde is the headliner with 25 strikeouts in 21.0 IP, and Bonnell is UNLV’s version of Josh Walker: 22.2 IP and not a single walk on the season. Kenny Oakley (0.57, 1 SV) and Brayden Torres (1.00, 1 SV) anchor the bullpen. Combined they have allowed just two earned runs (five total) in 24.2 innings with 25 strikeouts.
Defensively the Rebels have struggled this season with 15 errors in 11 games. Matt McCallister (four errors) and Joey Armstrong (three) are the leading culprits. Teams have also been successful running on UNLV, converting on nine of 10 steal attempts.
• COLLIER GETTING THE CALL ... Freshman Danny Collier out of Sandia HS has started three straight games for the Lobos entering this weekend vs. UNLV, and he’s making the most of his opportunities. Over the last four games he is hitting .583 (7-for-12). Coach Birmingham called him one of the biggest surprises of fall camp, and Collier is continuing his strong play early in the 2014 season.
• 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0 ... Sixteen. That’s how many straight scoreless innings Josh Walker threw over his two starts on Feb. 23 and March 2. Walker actually made it 16.2 innings before allowing a sacrifice fly to break the streak. It was the longest scoreless innings streak for a UNM pitcher since Bobby LaFromboise threw 20 straight without allowing a run from Feb. 16 to March 2, 2007.
• HOLLEY HBP ... AGAIN ... It’s amazing that the smallest player on the Lobos, 5’6 Jared Holley, led the team with 15 HBP as a freshman in 2013, and he’s currently tied for the team lead with four this season. That gives him 19 over the first 63 games of his career, and he’s already sniffing the top 10 in UNM history. With three more he’ll catch Scott Gracey in 10th place, and he’s already halfway to the school record of 38 set by Joe Salas from 2001-04.
• NO WEAK SPOTS IN THIS LINEUP ... The Lobo offense rolls nine deep, and nothing proves that more than the production they get out of the No. 9 spot in their order. Five Lobos have combined to hit .449 (22-for-49) while occupying the last place in the lineup. Jared Holley leads the group with an incredible .515 average (17-for-33) while batting ninth. In fact, that spot in the order has procuded the second most total bases on the team (26), behind only the No. 3 spot (32), which has been occupied by Chase Harris in each game this season.
• FANS FLOCK TO LOBO FIELD ... There’s no denying that UNM is becoming a baseball school with a loyal fan base. That was evidenced during the Lobos’ first home weekend of the season when 2,965 fans came to the Lobo Invite: the largest three-day crowd in Lobo Field history.
• NO RIGHT OF WAY ... Lobo pitchers are holding opposing right-handed batters to a .224 average so far this season. Tyler Gibson, Victor Sanchez, Carson Schneider and Colton Thomson are all holding opponent righties under .200. Meanwhile, Lobo batters are hitting .354 against right-handed pitching, led by Jared Holley’s .485 average (16-for-33) and Alex Real’s mark of .448 (13-for-29).