ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The more things change for Ray Birmingham and the University of New Mexico Lobos, the more they stay the same. Despite losing the top four hitters from his 2013 squad, including three of the top 23 hitters in the nation, Birmingham has UNM again near the national leaders in batting.
Led by Chase Harris’ .381 average the Lobos boast a .317 batting average, which is tops in the Mountain West and 10th in the nation. Following their 17-hit attacked against the Aggies, the Lobos rank third in the nation in hits with 300. Sam Haggerty (34), Alex Real (33) and Jared Holley (30) join Harris to combine for nearly half of the team’s total.
Harris is also near the top of several national leaderboards, including ranking sixth in the country, and first in the Mountain West, with 40 hits prior to his three-hit performance at New Mexico State Tuesday afternoon, which was his third consecutive three-hit game. He leads the conference15 multi-hit games this season, including six games with three base knocks. Sam Haggerty is currently riding a 12-game hitting streak, the longest on the team this season and the second longest active streak in the MW.
The Lobos are getting key contributions from several first-year players as well. Freshman walk-on Danny Collier is sixth on the team with 22 hits and third with a .344 batting average. Junior college transfer Aaron Siple has raised his average to ,300 and has 21 hits. Another freshman, Andre Vigil, has played well of late and now has 19 hits in 60 at bats for a .317 average.
Entering this weekend's series at Air Force, the Lobos have at least 10 hits in nine straight games, which is the longest such streak in the nation this season. They are averaging 11.5 hits per game overall.