Lobos Return Home for Six Games

March 4, 2013

Series Notes: Lobos vs. LaSalle Get Acrobat Reader

Lobo Baseball - at Isotopes Park
When: Tuesday, 6 p.m. (MT), Wednesday, 6 p.m. (MT)
Who: LaSalle Explorers
GoLobos.com: Gametracker, live video stream, postgame recap and stats
Video: A live stream will be available during both games at GoLobos.com. Dan Rivera will provide the play-by-play and former Lobo Mike Foote will serve as analyst. 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The struggling New Mexico baseball team returns home after six straight games on the road. The Lobos have lost four consecutive games, including a two-game sweep at the hands of the previously winless Nebraska Cornhuskers. UNM led 5-0 in the first game against Nebraska, but eventually lost 8-5, and then they were shut out 3-0 in the series finale. They will try to start turning their season around against the visiting LaSalle Explorers (2-5), fresh off a recent series at Texas Tech. The Explorers won the first game 6-5 in 12 innings, but were shut out in the next two games and have only scored 22 runs on the season.

• Scouting LaSalle ... The Explorers opened the season with an 8-7 win over Toledo, but have struggled lately. They’ve dropped five of their past six games including back-to-back shutouts against Texas Tech last weekend.
     Sophomore infielder/RHP Kevin Baron is the offensive sparkplug for LaSalle, as he is hitting a whopping .478 through seven games. Ryan Welling, a redshirt sophomore catcher, has the team’s only home run. Kevin Conroy, another redshirt sophomore, leads the team with six RBI and three extra-base hits: two doubles and a triple.
     The Explorers have struggled on the mound at times as the team has posted an ERA of 5.66. Their closer, Pat Christensen, has been their most effective pitcher with a record of 1-0 with one save. He has not allowed a run and has struck out seven in six innings of work, including the last five in LaSalle’s most recent win: a 6-5 triumph in 12 innings over Texas Tech on March 1.

• First starts ... Sophomore southpaw Alex Estrella and junior righty Jonathan Cuellar are scheduled to make their first starts of the season against LaSalle on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. In two appearances each this season, they have combined to allow no runs on only one hit in four innings of work.

• 200 and counting ... Senior catcher Mitch Garver reached a milestone against Nebraska on Saturday, March 2, by recording his 200th career hit. He is only the second player in UNM history whose primary position was catcher to reach that plateau. Former All-American Rafael Neda hold the record for career hits for backstops at UNM with 233 .

• On-base machine ... Freshman Sam Haggerty is getting on base at a .515 clip, and he continues to lead the Mountain West in that category. He has eight hits and is tied for third in the conference with eight walks, despite playing in four fewer games than the leaders.

• Big inning woes ... UNM has been on the wrong side of big innings this season. The Lobos have scored four or more runs in an inning three times, but their opponents have done so six times. In fact, 29 of the 47 runs (61.7 percent) their opponents have scored this season have come during those six innings.

• More zeroes for Carman ... Junior righty A.J. Carman has had an outstanding start to his UNM career. He has allowed only one run in his first 15 innings (for an ERA of 0.60), including a current string of 12 2/3 scoreless frames in a row.

• “Protection” is spelled G-A-R-V-E-R ... In 2013 teams figure to pitch around junior third baseman DJ Peterson quite a bit. He has already been intentionally walked four times this season, and each time senior catcher and fellow All-American Mitch Garver came through with a run-scoring hit.

• We really are New Mexico ... The 2013 New Mexico baseball team has 12 players from the state of New Mexico. It is no secret coach Ray Birmingham wants to take local kids all the way to Omaha. Ever since he got to UNM, he has been a big advocate of recruiting the best local talent New Mexico has to offer.

• Nearing 1,000 ... Head coach Ray Birmingham has 986 career wins spanning at three programs spanning a quarter of a century. He won 53 games in two seasons at College of the Southwest, 765 games in 18 years at New Mexico Junior College, and 166 in his first five seasons at UNM, which are the most ever in a coach’s first half-decade at UNM.