No. 21 Lobos Open Season Against Oklahoma State at Isotopes Park
Feb. 14, 2013
Lobo Baseball - at Isotopes Park
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The 21st-ranked New Mexico baseball team begins its quest for its first College World Series berth this Friday as it opens its season against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Isotopes Park. The Lobos are coming off back-to-back Mountain West Tournament championships and are favored to win the Mountain West in 2013. They should produce a potent offense once again as they return their top four hitters from last year's squad that finished fifth in the nation with a .326 average: DJ Peterson (.419), Mitch Garver (.377), Ryan Padilla (.353), and Josh Melendez (.347). Junior transfer A.J. Carman will get the start for the Lobos on Friday, with fellow junior transfer Anthony Consiglio taking the mound Saturday afternoon. Senior Sam Wolff will be on the hill Sunday to close out the three-game series.
SCOUTING THE COWBOYS ... Oklahoma State was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 this season in the preseason Big 12 coaches’ poll. the Cowboys return 15 letterwinners from the 2012 squad that finished 32-25 overall, and a fifth-place 13-11 finish in Big 12 play. Redshirt sophomore Jason Hursh missed 2012 following Tommy John surgery, but the former sixth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates is healthy again and will start Friday night against the Lobos. Senior infielder Robbie Rea is expected to lead the Cowboys’ offense. Last season he hit .324 with five home runs and 38 RBI to earn All-Big 12 Second Team honors.
NEARING 1,000 ... UNM head coach Ray Birmingham is only 16 wins shy of 1,000 for his collegiate coaching career, which has spanned a quarter-century. He spent his first two years at College of the Southwest, the next 18 years at New Mexico Junior College, and is now entering his sixth year at the helm of the Lobos. He has averaged over 39 wins per season in his career overall, and 33 per season at UNM. His 166 wins in five years is the most a Lobo coach as ever had in his first five years on the job, narrowly beating out the 165 Vince Cappelli won from 1977-82.
GOLDEN SPIKES ALERT ... Senior catcher Mitch Garver and junior third baseman DJ Peterson were two of 50 players named to the Golden Spikes Award watch list by USA Baseball. The Golden Spikes Award is given annually to the best amateur baseball player in the country. In 2012 Peterson was one of 30 semifinalists for the award and won the fan portion of the voting, earning nearly three times as many votes as the next closest player.
GARVER, PETERSON, PADILLA NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS ... Senior catcher Mitch Garver, junior third baseman DJ Peterson, and sophomore outfielder Ryan Padilla all earned preseason All-America honors. Garver and Peterson were named by the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball newspaper, and PerfectGame.org. They were the only pair of teammates to be named First Team Preseason All-American by the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball. They are also the first Lobo teammates to earn First Team Preseason All-America status the same season. Padilla was named to Collegiate Baseball’s third team. This is the first time the Lobos have had three Preseason All-Americans in one year since 2007 when Jordan Pacheco, Daniel Stovall, and Ian Hollick were all honored.
STOP WATCH ... Senior Hobie McClain was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award, which is given annually to the best reliever in Division I baseball. McClain is one
SUMMER FUN ... Several UNM players had solid summer league campaigns following the 2012 season: senior outfielder Luke Campbell and sophomore catcher Alex Real were both named All Stars in the Northwoods League; left-handed pitcher Will Mathis earned Texas Collegiate League Pitcher of the Week honors on Aug. 1 after he hurled 10 shutout innings in a 1-0 victory; Mitch Garver led all catchers in the prestigious Cape Cod League with a .298 batting average; and DJ Peterson led Team USA in home runs and RBI in 16 games against international competition
ONE OF THE BEST ... Over the past three seasons only 25 teams in the country have played in an NCAA regional each year and the Lobos are one of those teams. Even more impressive is that UNM is one of only six schools out of those 25 that is not in a BCS conference. The other five schools include perennial powers Rice and Cal St. Fullerton, as well as Coastal Carolina, Kent St., and Oral Roberts.
COACHES PICK LOBOS TO WIN MOUNTAIN WEST ... The UNM baseball team was voted an overwhelming favorite to win its second straight Mountain West championship Feb. 8 as the preseason coaches’ poll was released. Head coach Ray Birmingham’s Lobos received five first place votes and 35 points overall to finish well ahead of second place San Diego State. The Aztecs received the other first place vote to finish with 26 points and narrowly edge out Mountain West newcomers Nevada (23 points) and Fresno State (22). UNLV (13) and Air Force (7) were voted fifth and sixth, respectively.
Rk. Team (1st place votes) Points
1. New Mexico (5) 35
PRESEASON All-MW ... Five Lobos were named to the 11-man preseason All-Mountain West Team as voted on by the league’s coaches.
Pos. - Name, Class, Institution
C – Mitch Garver, Sr., UNM