Lobo Baseball - at Lobo Field
When: Friday - 6 p.m. (MT), Saturday - 2 p.m. (MT), Sunday - 12 p.m. (MT)
Who: Fresno State Bulldogs
GoLobos.com: Live stats,box score, live stream, postgame recap and stats
Video: Each game will be streamed live at GoLobos.com
Radio: ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM is broadcasting all three games.
Mountain West Standings
|Place||School||MW record||Overall record|
|2||San Diego St.||10-5||25-8|
|6||San José St.||5-10||
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - After nearly a two-week break from conference play, the UNM Lobos return to Mountain West action this weekend when they welcome Fresno State to Lobo Field. UNM swept the Bulldogs in Fresno March 14-16 earlier this season and have yet to lose to them in Albuquerque in six all-time meetings.
The Lobos are coming off a mid-week sweep at Stephen F. Austin. They won two games by scores of 9-6 and 6-3, respectively. Sam Haggerty drove in five runs and scored four, while Chase Harris went 5-for-10 with a pair of steals. Sophomore Victor Sanchez recorded a save in both games.
There will be an Easter Egg hunt at the field following Saturday's game as part of Youth Day at Lobo Field. All youth will receive tickets for just $2! Also, any fan that brings a children's book to donate will receive free admission.
• SCOUTING FRESNO STATE ... The Bulldogs have struggled the last month or so, beginning with the Lobos’ sweep over them in Fresno March 14-16. Entering that weekend Fresno State was 13-4, but since then the Bulldogs are 5-11, with only two of those wins coming during the weekend.
Offensively Fresno State relies on a quartet of stars. Junior outfielder Jordan Luplow (.341), sophomore catcher/DH Taylor Ward (.336), junior middle infielder Chris Mariscal (.315) and junior catcher/DH Trent Woodward (.305) are all having outstanding seasons. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they’re the only players hitting better than .240. They’re responsible for 13 of the team’s 14 home runs and are the only ones with slugging percentages above .347. They also are able to run as Luplow and Mariscal lead the team with six steals apiece, and Ward and Woodward each have a pair. If UNM can keep those four players quiet at the plate, they should stand a good chance at taking the series.
In order to do that, though, they’ll have to get through a rotation that’s as good as it gets in the Mountain West. Jordan Brink (1.84), Derick Velazquez (2.48) and Tim Borst (2.83) anchor a staff that boasts a 3.00 ERA, second in the conference. UNM had success against all three earlier this season though. The Lobos tagged Brink for four runs in just 5.1 innings, and then got to Velazquez for five in the ninth when he was pitching in a relief role back on March 14. Those nine runs represent over a third of the total runs Brink and Velazquez have combined to allow all season. UNM also put four on the board in 7.0 innings against Borst on March 16 in a 6-4 win. Garrett Mundell (2-0, 0.71) has been outstanding in 17 appearances (including three starts) and Casey Rodriguez (1-0, 0.00) has been phenomenal as a lefty specialist in 16 appearances. The staff is holding opponents to a .237 average, so UNM and its .309 average, which is 10th in the nation, will have its work cut out for it.
• CHASING HARRIS ... With all the offensive talent UNM lost from last season’s team, the Lobos needed Chase Harris to become The Man for them in 2014, and that is exactly what he has done. He currently leads the nation in at bats with 159 (followed closely by Sam Haggerty in second with 154) and hits with 59, and he ranks tied for third in the country with 41 RBIs. Meanwhile his 85 total bases is tops in the Mountain West, as are his 17 multi-hit games and 10 multi-RBI games, while his .371 average ranks second. He also leads the Lobos in home runs with five, triples with three, slugging (.535), OBP (.418) and stolen bases (10).
• WE WERE ONLY FRESHMEN ... The Lobos have received key contributions from many first-year players in 2014, but Danny Collier and Andre Vigil stand above the rest. Despite not starting when the season began, they now rank second and third on the team in batting at .327 and .323, respectively. Collier has reached base in all 26 of his starts while walking as often as he has struck out. He has also yet to make an error in left field this season, and leads the team with three outfield assists, including two at home plate: one against SJSU on March 22 and one at Stephen F. Austin on April 9.
Vigil, meanwhile, is third on the team with five multi-RBI games, and had a 10-game hitting streak from March 14 to March 28. He hit .450 (18-for-40) during that stretch with nine runs, 12 RBIs and three doubles. He had five multi-hit games and struck out just three times in 44 plate appearances.
• THE MAGIC NUMBER ... Six appears to be UNM’s magic number for both the offense and pitching staff this season. The Lobos are 19-0 when scoring at least six runs and 20-2-1 when holding the opponent under six runs.
• ‘BOS KNOW PITCHING ... If the UNM pitching staff can maintain its current 4.03 ERA over the rest of the season, it will post the fifth lowest ERA in the history of the program, and the lowest since 1976. The 2014 staff is doing this despite being on pace to set a school record for most innings pitched.
Despite pitching a mile above sea level, UNM has been excellent at home, posting a 2.98 ERA while holding opponents to a .265 batting average at Lobo Field.
• 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 .359 (47-for-131) while occupying the last place in the lineup. Aaron Siple (.381, 24-for-63) and Jared Holley (375, 18-for-48) lead the way. Batters in the nine spot are tied for the team lead with a .418 OBP.
Need further proof? Each of the nine qualifiers in the batting order enters this weekend’s series with an average of .275 or better, and eight are at .300 or higher.