Lobos Face Aztecs With First Place on the Line
March 27, 2013
Lobo Baseball - at Lobo Field
When: Thursday, 2:05 p.m. (MT), Friday, 2:05 p.m. (MT), Saturday, 1:05 p.m. (MT)
Who: San Diego St. Aztecs
GoLobos.com: Gametracker, live stats, live stream, postgame recap and stats
Promotions: Thursday is Jersey Day at Lobo Field! Wear a jersey and you will receive a ticket for only $3! Also, Saturday is Youth Day. All youth ages 2-18 will receive a ticket for $3, or anyone can bring a new or gently used children's book and get in to the game for free! The Easter Bunny will be on hand, and following the game kids can get player autographs and participate in our Easter egg hunt!
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Lobos welcome San Diego St. to Lobo Field this weekend with first place on the line in the Mountain West. Both teams carry identical 4-2 records into the contest as they look to claim sole possession of first place in the conference. UNM recently took two out of three from Nevada at home, while the Aztecs went 2-1 against UNLV at home. Each team is looking to find consistency as the programs near the halfway point of the season. SDSU swept a road series at then-No. 12 San Diego, but lost four at home to then-No. 6 Oregon St. and four on the road at then-No. 16 Arkansas. The Lobos, meanwhile, are 11-12 but easily could have close to 20 wins if not for numerous, costly late-game mistakes. It will be strength against strength at Lobo Field as UNM sports the conference's best batting average at .312, and SDSU's pitchers are second with a staff ERA of 3.52.
• SCOUTING SAN DIEGO ST. ... The Aztecs have been a streaky team so far in 2013. After winning their first three games at then-No. 12 San Diego, they lost their next five, then won their next four, then lost six in a row, before winning five of their last six games. Much like the Lobos they have struggled to find consistency. Offensively they have just one regular batting over .283, and that’s catcher Jake Romanski at .370. As a team the Aztecs have hit just three home runs and scored only 96 runs in 24 games. They’re hitting just .242 and slugging only .296. Where they win games is with pitching and defense. Their three scheduled starters this weekend, Michael Cederoth, Philip Walby, and Ryan Doran, have ERAs of 2.08, 3.12, and 3.28, respectively. Closer Bubba Derby chips in with six saves and a 3.14 ERA. The staff has recorded 176 strikeouts in 209.2 innings and is holding opponents to a .261 batting average. Defensively the Aztecs lead the Mountain West with a .973 fielding percentage. They’ve committed only 24 errors all season and have turned 23 double plays. Also, opponents have only stolen 17 bases off Romanski and his fellow backstop, Brad Haynal.
• MR. CLUTCH ... On March 19 vs. Missouri St. and again on March 22 vs. Nevada Mitch Garver delivered a game-winning, walk-off hit. After defeating the Wolf Pack, teammate DJ Peterson called him “Mr. Clutch.” Garver has now delivered a walk-off hit four times in his career.
• NEARING 1,000 ... UNM head coach Ray Birmingham is only five 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 his first five years is the most a Lobo coach as ever had in their first half a decade on the job, narrowly beating out the 165 Vince Cappelli won from 1977-82, and it has come against the five toughest schedules in program history. In 2013 the Lobos have played eight of their 23 games against teams that have been ranked in the Top 25 at some point during the season.
• 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, and he currently has 225. Former All-American Rafael Neda holds the record for career hits for backstops at UNM with 233.
• FIFTH-YEAR PITCHING ... Senior left-handed pitcher Gabe Aguilar is having his best season to date in the cherry and silver in his fifth season in the program. He is leading the team in ERA and has been the Lobos’ most reliable reliever all season. Two stats in particular stand out for him. 1) Opponents are just 1-17 (.059) against him with two outs. 2) Even more impressive is his success as a lefty against right-handed batters as he has held them to a .043 (1-23) batting average.
• HIT PARADE ... Senior catcher Mitch Garver carries a career-long 22-game hitting streak into the series against the Aztecs. He has a hit in every game this season except the opener against Oklahoma St. on Feb. 15. He has 10 multi-hit games during the streak, including three games with three and one game with four hits. He leads the team in doubles and stolen bases, is second in hitting, runs and triples, and is third in RBI.
• SACRIFICE ANYTHING ... Senior infielder Alex Allbritton is currently tied for the national lead with six sacrifice flies, which is already a career-high for the four-year starter. Meanwhile, freshman Sam Haggerty leads the MW with seven sacrifice bunts, which places him in a tie for 19th in the country.
• TARGET PRACTICE? ... Despite standing only 5’6, freshman Jared Holley has been hit eight times this season. That ties him for the conference lead despite having 33 fewer at bats than the player he’s tied with, Air Force’s Garrett Custons. Holley is averaging one HBP every two games, which is tied for 11th in the nation.
• GARVER NAMED POW ... After extending his hitting streak to a career-best 22 games and recording two game-winning, walk-off hist last week, senior catcher Mitch Garver was named Mountain West Player of the Week Monday.
• CAN’T CATCH ME ... Good luck trying to throw out senior center fielder Josh Melendez if he takes off stealing. You’ll need it. Dating back to Feb. 24 last season, he has stolen his last 28 bases successfully. He stole 21 in a row to end the 2012 season, and so far in 2013 he is a perfect 7-7.
• CHASING DJ ... DJ Peterson currently leads or is tied for the lead in 11 offensive categories in the MW: batting, slugging, OBP, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases, and walks.
Top 25 national rankings
Runs per game - (7.5) 7th
Hits - (264) 11th
Triples - (11) 12th
Batting average - (.312) 14th
Triples per game - (.48) 14th
OBP - (.407) 18th
Runs - (173) 20th
Slugging - (.447) 20th
Runs per game
DJ Peterson (1.39) 7th
DJ Peterson (32) 5th
DJ Peterson (38) 19th
Mitch Garver (37) 23rd
Home runs per game
DJ Peterson (.48) 2nd
DJ Peterson (11) 2nd
RBI per game
DJ Peterson (1.48) 5th
DJ Peterson (34) 4th
DJ Peterson (.876) 4th
DJ Peterson (85) 1st
HBP per game
Jared Holley (.50) 11th
Sam Haggerty (7) 19th
Alex Allbritton (6) 1st
A.J. Carman (6) 19th
Sam Wolff (6) 19th