Lobos Head Home to Face Intrastate Rival New Mexico St.
May 14, 2012
Lobo Baseball - at Isotopes Park
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico is coming off its 10th series win of the season, taking two of three from Mountain West foe UNLV. Despite the series victory, the Lobos dropped to second in the Mountain West standings as TCU swept Air Force to remain a game up. New Mexico State, meanwhile, is struggling, having dropped eight of its last nine games. Despite the recent woes, however, the Aggies still are dangerous offensively. This game has the potential to be an offensive showcase, as the Aggies rank third and the Lobos rank eighth in the nation in runs per game.
Against NMSU: The Lobos are looking to avoid the season sweep at the hands of the Aggies and for their first win against NMSU since March 10, 2010. UNM dropped the previous three meetings in the Rio Grande Rivalry this season by scores of 16-12, 6-2, and 7-5.
Series Record: 150-80
Home: 71-29; Away: 59-45; Neutral: 0-2
LOBO BASEBALL QUICK HITS
We really are New Mexico ... The 2012 New Mexico baseball team has 13 players from the state of New Mexico. It is no secret coach Ray Birmingham wants to take local kids all the way to Omaha, Neb., to play in the College World Series. Ever since he got to UNM, he has been a big advocate of recruiting the best local talent New Mexico has to offer.
UNM top 40 in attendance ... The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association released its 13th weekly attendance report of the season, and the New Mexico Lobos have come in at No. 39 following their home series against UNLV.
Watch out for Peterson and Garver ... Sophomore DJ Peterson has been named to USA Baseball's midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur baseball player in the nation. Junior catcher Mitchell Garver has been named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List. The award is given annually to the nation's top collegiate catcher based on athletic ability, sportsmanship, team leadership and character.
Late-inning mastery ... The Lobos have yet to lose a game this season when they have taken a lead into the seventh inning, posting a perfect 24-0 record. They have been particularly dominant in the seventh inning, outscoring opponents 43-17 in that frame.
Wins for Birmingham ... UNM head coach Ray Birmingham recorded his 975th career win Saturday when the Lobos defeated UNLV 10-7. The Lobos are also all but assured a winning record this season, which will be the 21st time in the past 22 years that Birmingham has guided a team to a winning record.
Two-strike hitting ... Fifteen of the Lobos' 34 home runs this season have come with two strikes: DJ Peterson (eight of his 14 total), Mitchell Garver (2/8), John Pustay (2/3), Josh Melendez' (1/3), Alex Real (1/1), and Alex Allbritton (1/1) have all hit a two-strike home run this season.
Career years... Four UNM players are currently experiencing career-highs in batting averages in 2012: DJ Peterson (.418), Mitchell Garver (.378), Ben Woodchick (.333), and Trey Porras (.323). Also, four UNM pitchers have career-low ERAs this season: Gera Sanchez (2.29), Austin House (3.21), Alexis Garza (4.97) and Jake McCasland (5.82).
Pitching as a team ... As of May 14, the Lobos' team ERA stands at 4.57, which would be the lowest team ERA UNM has had since producing a 4.13 mark in 1977. The staff is also on pace for 433 strikeouts, which would be the second most in program history behind only 469 K's in 1968. Gera Sanchez and Austin House are leading the way with 79 and 74 Ks respectively.
Situational hitting ... The Lobos are hitting an astonishing .667 (98-of-147) with a runner on third and less than two outs. They are also hitting .397 (25-of-63) with the bases loaded, and .342 (221-of-646) with two outs.
Follow my lead ... The Lobos have had their leadoff man reach in 188 of the 453 innings they've played so far this season. That is an on-base percentage of .415.
Conference leaders ... Following their series against UNLV, the Lobos lead the Mountain West in 12 individual offensive categories, with sophomore first baseman DJ Peterson leading the way in six: batting average, slugging percentage, hits, home runs, RBI, and total bases. Junior Mitchell Garver leads the conference in doubles, at bats, and total plate appearances. Josh Melendez leads in runs scored, triples, steals and steal attempts. As a team, they lead the league in 13 categories: batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, hits, runs batted in, triples, home runs, total bases, sacrifice flies, stolen bases, steal attempts, and they have the fewest strikeouts. Their pitching staff leads the conference in both total strikeouts and batters struck out looking, and is tied with TCU for allowing the fewest triples. Austin House leads the league in innings pitched and is tied for first in batters struck out looking.
Running wild ... The Lobos have totaled 55 stolen bases in 51 games this year, compared to 29 stolen bases in 61 games in 2011. Newcomer Josh Melendez leads the way with 20, which would have led the team last year and is tied for the most stolen bases a Lobo has had in a season since Matt Foote swiped 24 in 2006. Melendez is stealing at an impressive clip as well, converting on 20 of 21 attempts.