Lobos Take 10-Game Win Streak to Texas Tech
April 29, 2013
Lobo Baseball - Rip Griffin Park, Lubbock, Texas
When: Tuesday, 5:37 p.m. (MT)
Who: Texas Tech Red Raiders
GoLobos.com: Gametracker, box score, postgame recap and stats
Radio: ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team will broadcast all the game live. Robert Portnoy, the voice of the Lobos, will provide the play-by-play.
TV: The game will be nationally-televised on Fox College Sports. (Comcast ch. 262; DirecTV ch. 623, 626, or 608)
Mountain West Standings
|2||San Diego St.||12-9||22-21|
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The 17th-ranked New Mexico Lobos take their 10-game winning streak on the road as they travel to face Texas Tech in a nationally-televised tilt Tuesday evening. Originally scheduled for a two-game series, Wednesday's game has been cancelled due to conflicts with UNM's final exam schedule. Junior left-handed pitcher Kevin Baumgartner will get the start on the mound for the Lobos in a game that will be broadcast across the country on Fox College Sports.
UNM's 10-game winning streak has caught the eye of folks across the country and it has earned the Lobos their highest ever ranking by Baseball America. As has been the case all season, and throughout its history, the Lobos are being carried by their bats. UNM leads the entire nation with a .328 team batting average. All-Americans DJ Peterson (.406) and Mitch Garver (.376) lead the charge as all nine regulars have averages at .296 or higher.
Most impressively, though, is that it hasn't been Peterson leading the way during the streak. Josh Melendez, owner of a career-best 22-game hitting streak, is hitting .432 over the past 10 games, and reigning Mountain West Player of the Week Sam Haggerty is hitting .415.
The Red Raiders, meanwhile, have been struggling with the bats. They're hitting only .251 as a team, and have only one starter, junior third baseman Jake Barrios (.333), hitting over .276. They're coming off a 2-2 week, which saw them defeat New Mexico St. last Tuesday before dropping a weekend series at Oklahoma. They could only manage two runs on 12 hits over the first two games of the series before erupting for nine runs and 15 hits in Sunday's 9-3 victory.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH ... The Red Raiders are coming off a 2-2 week. They defeated New Mexico St. 6-1 last Tuesday before losing a series at Oklahoma. Texas Tech dropped the first two games by scores of 8-0 and 6-2 before winning a 9-3 contest on Sunday. The Red Raiders are now four games under .500, which is partly due to their .251 team batting average. Jake Barrios (.333) is the only regular hitting above .276. Compare that to the Lobos who are leading the nation with a .328 batting average and have all nine regulars hitting .296 or better. Barrios also leads the team in RBI (34) and triples (four). He is tied for the lead with three home runs. Eric Gutierrez, the only player on Tech's roster to start every game so far this season, is hitting .252 and is second on the team with a .381 slugging percentage. The pitching staff has also struggled at times and has a 4.64 ERA. Co-closer Jerad McCrummen has a 3.06 ERA and three saves. He also has a 1-5 record, however. Opponents are hitting .287 off Red Raider pitching, but have also struck out 307 times in 386 innings. One area where Texas Tech is solid, however, is on defense. They own a .972 fielding percentage and have committed only 49 errors all season.
MOVIN' ON UP ... A week after re-joining the rankings, UNM has now achieved its highest ever spot in Baseball America's rankings. The Lobos moved up to No. 17 this week, which is one spot higher than head coach Ray Birmingham's squad achieved on March 30, 2009. UNM also saw its RPI move up to No. 40.
W IS FOR "WALKER" AND "WIN" ... Last season Josh Walker was part of UNM's excellent weekend rotation and went 8-3. This season he has been moved to the back of the bullpen and has been an anchor as the Lobos' closer. He is 6-0 with seven saves. His career record of 14-3 gives him a winning percentage of .826, which is the highest in school history (min. 15 decisions). His seven saves this season also rank as tied for third most in school history.
IF YOU WANT TO WIN PUT AGUILAR IN ... Senior left-handed pitcher Gabe Aguilar is in his fifth season at UNM because he redshirted the 2011 season. By the time he leaves the university, he has a great chance to be the all-time winningest Lobo in program history. When he was on the active roster in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013, the Lobos have won 139 games. That is only two shy of the school record held by Walt Arnold and Mike Foote, who both played from 1977-80. Aguilar also has 58 appearances in his career, which is only four shy of sixth place at UNM.
HAGGERTY NAMED POW ... Sam Haggerty certainly isn't playing like a freshman this season. His clutch game-winning sacrifice fly against UNLV on Sunday, April 28, gave UNM a wild, come-from-behind 14-13 10-inning win. His overall play against the Rebels was strong enough to earn him MW Player of the Week honors. He went 6-for-11 (.545) with five runs and three RBI. He was walked four times and laid down two sacrifice bunts as UNM extended its winning streak to 10 games.
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 165 straight games over the past three seasons, including all 43 so far in 2013. That is believed to be the third longest active streak in the country.
RANKED AGAIN ... UNM opened the season ranked No. 21 by Baseball America, the first time that publication has ever ranked the Lobos in the preseason. After losing their opening series to Oklahoma St., however, the Lobos dropped out. But they have finally returned and are at No. 24 thanks to a seven-game winning streak and six straight Mountain West series wins. This also marks the fourth time in head coach Ray Birmingham's six years that UNM has been ranked.
DOUBLE TROUBLE ... DJ Peterson moved into second place on the school's all-time doubles list with 73 after knocking one against UNLV this past weekend. He is only five shy of the school record, held by Daniel Stovall who hit 78 during his career from 2004-07. Peterson is also now third in Mountain West history behind only Stovall and UNLV's Brent Johnson, who hit 90 from 2001-2004.
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 255 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 163 of 384 innings this season for an OBP of .424. That beats the team's overall OBP of .418 and is a big reason the team is fourth in the country averaging 7.9 runs per game.
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 has been one of the Lobos' most reliable relievers all season. Two stats in particular stand out for him. 1) Opponents are just 4-34 (.118) against him with two outs. 2) He's not simply a lefty specialist, but left-handed batters are hitting just .175 (7-40) against him.
FRIDAY, FRIDAY ... One of the reasons the Lobos have been able to win seven straight Mountain West series is their success on Fridays. Typically teams throw their best pitcher the first game of the series, and UNM is an astounding 9-1 on Fridays this season. In fact, the Lobos have won their past eight games on Friday. Their first game of the season was a 4-2 defeat to Oklahoma St. on Friday, Feb. 15, but since then they have literally been unbeatable.
TAKING BASES AND TAKING NAMES ... In their 13-6 victory over New Mexico St. on April 17, the Lobos stole seven bases, which is tied for the fifth most ever in a game in school history. It was the most since the Lobos swiped eight bags against BYU on April 8, 2000. Josh Melendez (2), Chase Harris (2), DJ Peterson (1), Mitch Garver (1) and John Pustay (1) all got in on the action. UNM now has 58 stolen bases in 43 games this season after swiping 61 in 61 games in 2012.
LOBOS SWEEP AWARDS ... Following a week in which they went 4-1, including a sweep of MW foe Fresno St., Lobos Josh Melendez and Drew Bridges were named MW Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, on April 15. Melendez went 10-for-19 with a double, triple, and home run as he extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games. Bridges got the win in a 3-0 shutout in the first game of a doubleheader at then-No. 10 Arkansas on April 9. He went a career-long 5.1 innings and allowed only three hits while striking out three.
THIS ONE ALSO GOES TO 12 ... Entering the eighth inning on April 13 trailing the Fresno St. Bulldogs 3-2, the Lobos needed a rally. They got one in a big way. The first 12 batters of the inning reached base and each one eventually came around to score. It is the most runs scored in an inning in the Birmingham era. The last time UNM scored 12 runs in a frame was April 15, 2007 at Air Force. (The Lobos also scored 12 runs in an inning earlier that season against Rhode Island on March 11 at Isotopes Park.) The last time the Lobos scored more than 12 in an inning was on March 11, 2005, at Isotopes Park against Savannah St. UNM scored 15 runs in the second on its way to a 20-7 victory.
JUST LIKE THEY DREW IT UP ... Freshman RHP Drew Bridges has been spectacular in his last four 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 15.1 innings he has only allowed eight hits (all singles) and four walks with 10 strikeouts. It was enough to earn him MW Pitcher of the Week honors. On Friday, April 19 at Nevada he outdueled Braden Shipley, a potential first-round pick this June. He allowed only one run on three hits in five innings with four strikeouts. Most recently he threw a career-high six shutout innings against UNLV at Lobo Field on Friday, April 26. He struck out three and only gave up three hits and one walk. Of his 14 hits allowed, all of which have been singles, three haven't even left the infield. In total he has given up three runs in his last 21.1 innings while striking out 13 and walking only five. Not bad for a player who came to UNM this past fall as a shortstop.
Lobos statistics Top 25 national rankings
(as of April 29)
Batting average (.328) 1st
Slugging (.483) 2nd
Runs per game (8.2) 2nd
Doubles per game (2.47) 2nd
Hits (517) 3rd
OBP (.418) 4th
Doubles (106) 4th
Triples (22) 5th
Runs (352) 5th
Triples per game (.51) 6th
Walks (205) 18th
Walks per game
DJ Peterson (.85) 17th
DJ Peterson (.406) 14th
DJ Peterson (20) 7th
Doubles per game
DJ Peterson (.51) 3rd
HBP per game
Jared Holley (.40) 14th
Mitch Garver (67) 17th
DJ Peterson (13) 4th
Home runs per game
DJ Peterson (.33) 4th
DJ Peterson (.523) 3rd
DJ Peterson (53) 9th
RBI per game
DJ Peterson (1.36) 2nd
DJ Peterson (50) 12th
Runs per game
DJ Peterson (1.28) 4th
Sam Haggerty (13) 13th
Alex Allbritton (6) 21st
DJ Peterson (.826) 2nd
DJ Peterson (128) 4th