Lobos Look to Remain in First as They Host Fresno St.

April 11, 2013

Lobo Baseball - at Lobo Field, Albuquerque, N.M.
When: Friday, 3:05 p.m. (MT), Saturday, 1:05 p.m. (MT), Sunday, 12 p.m. (MT)
Who: Fresno St. Bulldogs
GoLobos.com: Gametracker, live stats, box score, postgame recap and stats
Radio: ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team
Video: Live stream available at GoLobos.com
Promotions: Friday is Pack the Park Day! Every fan will receive a ticket for only $2! Saturday is jersey day so wear your favorite jersey and receive a ticket for just $3! You can also get a ticket Sunday for $3 if you bring a flyer or program from your place of worship.

Mountain West Standings

PlaceTeamConf. record.Overall record
1T New Mexico 8-4 17-16
1T San Diego St. 8-4 17-16
3 UNLV 7-5 22-10
4 Nevada 5-7 17-15
5T Air Force 3-7 9-21
5T Fresno St. 3-7 8-20

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Lobos return to conference play as they host the Fresno St. Bulldogs for a three-game set this weekend. UNM is coming off a doubleheader Tuesday at No. 10 Arkansas. The Lobos earned a split with the Razorbacks, winning game one 3-0 before losing game two 4-3 on a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have struggled on the road this season as they have posted a 2-12 record. Their only victories have been 3-2 over Sacramento St. on March 26 and 4-0 over Nevada on March 29.

Fresno St. is not a team to be taken lightly, however. The 2008 National Champions boast preseason All-American Aaron Judge, who is leading the team in virtually every offensive category. He is hitting .330 (37-for-112) with seven doubles, one triple, five home runs, 17 RBI, 17 runs, a .545 slugging percentage and a .405 OBP.

Despite his presence, though, the Bulldogs have struggled at times as they are only averaging about 4.3 runs per game. They're hitting just .251 as a team with a .318 OBP. This puts a lot of pressure on their pitching staff, which has also seen its rough patches this season. Sunday starter Jordan Brink has been one of the few bright spots. The converted infielder leads the team with 2.53 ERA and has 25 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. He is also holding batters to a .194 batting average against. He and the rest of the Fresno St. pitching staff will be hard pressed to stop a stacked Lobo lineup featuring DJ Peterson (.412, 12 HR, 43 RBI), Alex Real (.352, 4, 18), Mitch Garver (.360, 0, 28) and company.

• SCOUTING FRESNO ST. ... The Bulldogs have really struggled this season as they carry a record of 8-20 into the series. Offensively they are led by preseason All-American Aaron Judge. The junior outfielder leads the team in batting (.330), runs (17), hits (37), home runs (five), RBI (17), total bases (61), walks (14), slugging (.545) and OBP (.405). He has, however, also struck out 31 times to lead the team. Overall the Bulldogs are hitting just .251 with a .318 OBP and are only averaging about 4.3 runs per game. On the mound they have not fared much better. The pitching staff sports a 5.33 ERA and is averaging over 1.6 baserunners allowed per inning. They have also hit a Mountain West-leading 45 batters, which is 11 more than any other team in the conference. One bright spot has been converted infielder Jordan Brink, a sophomore. The projected Sunday starter leads the team with a 2.53 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 21.1 innings spanning 10 appearances (including three starts). Saturday's starter, freshman righty Blake Quinn, is second on the team with a 3.50 ERA and has only walked four men in 18 innings. The Bulldog staff gets to work with senior catcher Austin Wynns, who might have the best arm in the conference. He has thrown out a staggering 46.9 percent (15-of-32) of attempted base stealers.

• JUST LIKE THEY DREW IT UP ... Freshman RHP Drew Bridges has been spectacular in his last two starts. On April 2 against Texas Tech he allowed two runs on two hits in five innings to earn his first career win. One week later at 10th-ranked Arkansas on April 9 he was even better. He gave up only three hits and one walk in 5.1 shutout innings as the Lobos defeated the Razorbacks 3-0. In his past 10.1 innings he has only allowed five hits (all singles) and three walks with six strikeouts. Of his five hits allowed, three haven't even left the infield. Not bad for a player who came to UNM this past fall as a shortstop.

• NO REST? NO PROBLEM ... Senior catcher Mitch Garver doesn't take days off. You can always pencil him into the lineup no matter what. Need proof? He has started 155 straight games over the past three seasons, including all 33 so far in 2013.

• 1,000 WINS ... UNM head coach Ray Birmingham reached 1,000 career wins when the Lobos defeated Air Force 19-5 on Saturday, April 6. He spent the first two years of his career at College of the Southwest, the next 18 years at New Mexico Junior College, and is now in 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 31 games against teams that have been ranked in the Top 25 at some point during the season.

• DOUBLE TROUBLE ... DJ Peterson moved into fourth place on the school's all-time doubles list with 67 after knocking three against Air Force April 5 and 6. He only needs three more to move into sole possession of second place. Daniel Stovall holds the school records with 78 during his career from 2004-07.

• 200 233 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 used to hold the record for career hits for backstops at UNM with 233, until Garver passed him in his first at bat against Air Force on April 6. He singled through the left side in the first inning and added two more hits that game. He now has 237 career hits as he adds to his lead with every hit he collects. He has a chance to reach the Top 5 for career hits at UNM by the team the season ends. Dusty Young is currently fifth in school history with 286.

• FOLLOW MY LEAD ... The Lobos have had their leadoff man reach in 196 of 298 innings this season for an OBP of .423. That beats the team's overall OBP of .414 and is a big reason the team is fifth in the country with 8.0 runs per game.

• REAL IS FOR REAL ... Sophomore first baseman/designated hitter Alex Real is having a breakout campaign in his second season with the Lobos. He has already passed last season's run, hit, home run, total bases and walk totals and has matched his number of doubles. His breakout truly began in last season's Mountain West Tournament when he recorded a championship game-record seven RBI. In MW games so far he leads the conference in batting (.426), hits (20), total bases (32), and walks (nine), and he is second in OBP (.509), third in slugging (.681) and third in doubles (six).

• BACK IN THE FIELD ... Baseball America released its Midseason NCAA Projection on April 4 and the Lobos were picked to win the Mountain West and earn a four-seed in Georgia Tech's regional.

• HALFWAY HOME ... Following their 10-3 win over Texas Tech on April 2, the Lobos have now passed the halfway point of the regular season. As of April 10 they lead the Mountain West in 16 offensive categories: batting, slugging, OBP, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases, plate appearances, at bats, walks, HBP, stolen bases, fewest strikeouts and sacrifice flies. Individually Lobos lead the MW in 16 offensive categories. On the pitching side, Josh Walker and Will Mathis lead the conference in appearances, and Sam Wolff is tied for the lead with 17 batters struck out looking.

• 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.

• SACRIFICE ANYTHING ... Senior infielder Alex Allbritton is currently seventh in the nation with six sacrifice flies, which is already a career-high for the four-year starter. Meanwhile, freshman Sam Haggerty leads the MW with 10 sacrifice bunts, which places him in a tie for 12th in the country.

• TARGET PRACTICE? ... Despite standing only 5'6, freshman Jared Holley has been hit 13 times this season. That gives him the conference lead despite having 18 fewer at bats than the player in second, Air Force's David Baska. Holley is averaging 0.52 HBP per game, which is fourth in the nation.

• CAN'T CATCH ME ... Good luck trying to throw out senior center fielder Josh Melendez if he takes off stealing because you'll need it. Dating back to Feb. 24 last season, he has stolen his last 29 bases successfully. He stole 21 in a row to end the 2012 season and is a perfect 8-8 so far in 2013.

• CHASING DJ ... Despite missing four games with a strained hamstring, DJ Peterson currently leads or is tied for the lead in 10 offensive categories in the MW: batting, slugging, OBP, runs, RBI, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, and total bases. He is also second in walks with 23, only two behind teammate Sam Haggerty.

• EXPECT RUNS EARLY ... Both the Lobos and their opponents are scoring early and often this season. In the first inning of games the Lobos (32 runs) and their opponents (35) have combined to score 67 runs, which is four more than in any other inning.