Lobo Baseball Hosts No. 22 Gonzaga

March 8, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico Lobo baseball team comes back home this weekend to battle undefeated No. 22 Gonzaga at Isotopes Park. This is the first time the Gonzaga Bulldogs have made the trip to Albuquerque.

UNM will be out for revenge against the Gonzaga, as the Bulldogs beat the Lobos, 3-0, in Spokane, Wash., last season. Their isn’t a rich history between the two programs, but the overall record between the two schools is close with the Bulldogs leading the all-time series over the Lobos, 3-2.

Head coach Ray Birmingham raves about the Bulldogs. He knows what a dangerous team they are and was surprised they weren't already ranked in the top-25 before the week began.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS ... The Gonzaga Bulldogs are out to a scorching hot start, having reeled off 10-straight wins. They’ve been so hot, in fact, they were just recently ranked as high as No. 22 by the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. They are led by senior pitcher Tyler Olson, who was recently named the West Coast Conference’s Rawlings Pitcher of the Week. On the season he is 1-0 with a 2.11 ERA with 15 strikeouts.

PETERSON HEATING UP ... DJ Peterson went 3-4 in the Lobos most recent game against NMSU, recording his third home run of the season, with five RBIs to lead the Lobos offensively. It was already his fifth multiple-hit game this season. He is currently hitting .372 and he leads the Lobos in hits, slugging %, RBI, HR’s and total bases.

RUNNING WILD ... The Lobos have totaled 17 stolen bases in 11 games this year compared to 29 stolen bases in 61 games in 2011. Newcomer Josh Melendez leads the way with six, which would have lead the team last year. He is stealing at an impressive clip as well, converting on six of seven attempts.

IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME ... The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association released its weekly attendance report of the season and the New Mexico Lobos have come in at No. 35 after hosting their second home weekend series against Oklahoma.

FOLLOW MY LEAD ... The Lobos have had their leadoff man reach in 36 of the 99 innings they’ve played so far this season. That is an on-base percentage of .364.

SPEED DEMONS ... Two Lobos, junior Josh Melendez and senior Ben Woodchick, stole home in the series against UTSA. It was the first time a Lobo had stolen home since Alex Allbritton accomplished the feat against Northern Colorado on Feb. 28, 2010.

RECORD START ... Starting CF Josh Melendez set a UNM record under coach Ray Birmingham by reaching base in his first seven plate appearances of the season. It’s the most consecutive times reaching base to start a season and to start a career under Birmingham.

THERE’S A FIRST FOR EVERYTHING ... 12 Lobos got their first taste of D-1 baseball in the season opening series against Nevada Feb. 17-19.

POWER WALKING ... The Lobos as a team had 17 walks compared to only 14 strikeouts in their season opening series, including six from starting CF Josh Melendez.

PLAYING THE CREAM OF THE CROP ... Once again coach Ray Birmingham has challenged his team with a very tough schedule. UNM will face the likes of 2011 NCAA tournament participants Oklahoma and Arizona State. The Lobos will host both schools this year, however, because UNM traveled to Norman, Okla., and Tempe, Ariz., last season. The Lobos also have two series against conference powerhouse TCU, as well as a home series against a very formidable Florida Gulf Coast squad. Gonzaga is no picnic either, as the Bulldogs will come to Albuquerque this year as well.