No. 16 Lobos Take MW Winning Streak on the Road
May 9, 2013
Lobo Baseball - Pete Beiden Field, Fresno, Calif.
When: Friday, 7:35 p.m. (MT), Saturday, 7:35 p.m. (MT), Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (MT)
Who: Fresno St. Bulldogs
GoLobos.com: Gametracker, box score, postgame recap and stats
Radio: ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team will broadcast all three games live. Robert Portnoy, the voice of the Lobos, will provide the play-by-play.
Mountain West Standings
|2 (tie)||San Diego St.||13-11||24-24|
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Despite having the Mountain West regular-season championship already wrapped up, the 16th-ranked University of New Mexico baseball team heads to Fresno, Calif., with plenty of motivation. The Lobos know that despite their lofty ranking and conference success there is no guarentee of an NCAA berth if they fail to win the MW Tournament. So UNM is looking to extend its MW-record 12-game conference winning streak against the Bulldogs.
The Lobos have swept their last four conference foes as part of a 17-3 run in their last 20 games. This has been largely thanks to their offense, which is one of the best in the nation. UNM leads the NCAA in batting (.342), slugging (.505), on-base percentage (.427), hits (595), doubles (123) and doubles per game (2.62). They’re second in runs (402), triples (28), runs per game (8.6) and triples per game (.60).
All-Americans DJ Peterson (.410, 13 home runs, 58 RBI) and Mitch Garver (.396, three, 52) have been a large part of that, but the rest of the lineup has been pulling its weight as each starter owns a batting average better than .300. Luke Campbell (.364) has eight straight multi-hit games, while Josh Melendez (.344) owns a 26-game hitting streak, which is tied for sixth longest in school history.
But just as importantly, their pitching has been better of late as well. Senior Sam Wolff was named MW Pitcher of the Week for his performance last Saturday vs. Air Force, and he owns a 3-1 record and a 2.40 ERA in MW play. Josh Walker, who will make his first start of the season Friday night, owns an 8-0 record, and freshman Drew Bridges is 3-1 in seven starts while holding opponents to a .230 batting average against.
The staff has a tall task ahead of them in the form of shutting down preseason All-American Aaron Judge and a Bulldog lineup that's hitting .301 in conference play. Judge is hitting .366 overall this season and leads the team in virtually every offensive category. Nothing will come easy for UNM as the Bulldogs will be looking to get hot in time for the MW Tournament they will be hosting in two weeks with a trip to the NCAAs on the line.
• SCOUTING FRESNO ST. ... The Bulldogs are coming off a series loss at UNLV but defeated Hawaii 8-6 Tuesday. After losing the first two games of the set to the Rebels, they salvaged the final game with a 9-4 victory. Offensively they’re led by preseason All-American Aaron Judge, who leads the team in batting (.366), runs (37), hits (63), doubles (13), home runs (nine), RBI (30), slugging (.634), OBP (.456), and steals (10-11). The rest of the Fresno lineup has struggled, though, as he’s the only player on the team who is slugging over .440 or has an OBP over .367. The Bulldogs have fared a little better on the mound as converted infielder Jordan Brink (3.86 ERA), Blake Quinn (team-leading 2.27 ERA) and Derick Velazquez (team-high 10 starts and two CG) have anchored the rotation. The bullpen has struggled, however, as Fresno has four players who have made at least 14 appearances with an ERA over 8.00. Quinn and Brink have been the best pitchers on the staff, and are holding opponents to a .241 and .212 batting averages against, respectively. Quinn has been phenomenal in conference play, only alloweding six earned runs in 33.2 IP. The Bulldogs are also hitting better in MW play, raising their .267 team batting average all the way to .301, with Judge leading the way hitting a cool .398.
• CLINCHED ... Despite being only 80 percent of the way through the conference season, the Lobos clinched the Mountain West regular-season title on Sunday, May 5. Their 14-7 win over Air Force, coupled with losses by UNLV and San Diego St., gave UNM a seven-game lead with only six games remaining.
• MOUNTAIN WEST RECORD ... With their dominating 17-1 win over Air Force on May 4, the Lobos set a MW record with their 11th straight win in conference play. TCU had 10-game MW winning streaks in 2011, 2010 and 2007, but nobody has ever had one as long as the Lobos’. The streak stretched to 12 with UNM’s 14-7 victory over Air Force on May 5 and is still active heading into this weekend’s series at Fresno St.
• HOTTER THAN SOUP ... On a team full of hot players, nobody is hotter than Luke Campbell. He has eight straight multi-hit games dating back to April 20 at Nevada. Since then he’s 17-for-35 (.486) with 12 runs, 10 RBI, five doubles, two triples and a homer. He is slugging .829 during that stretch and has raised his batting average from .328 to .364.
• LOBOS SWEEP MW AWARDS ... Seniors Mitch Garver and Sam Wolff were named MW Player and Pitcher of the Week for their performance against Air Force May 3-5. Garver hit .571 (11-19) against the Falcons with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, six runs scored and 10 RBI. Wolff had perhaps the best start of his career on May 4. He went a career-long 7.2 innings and tied a career-high with seven strikeouts as UNM routed the Falcons 17-1. It was Garver’s second win of the season and sixth of his career, while it was Wolff’s first ever honor.
• JOHNNY’S EIGHT IS GREAT ... John Pustay is finally fully recovered from a dislocated kneecap he suffered last season, and the results are showing. Before narrowly getting thrown out on a groundout Tuesday at Texas Tech, he had recorded a hit in eight straight at-bats. He doubled as a pinch hitter on April 21 at Nevada. He then singled as a pinch hitter April 27 against UNLV. He followed that up with another pinch-hit double against UNLV on April 28, and then tripled in his next at-bat that same game. He then had a double and three singles against the Red Raiders before getting robbed of a hit in the ninth.
• GOLDEN SPIKES WATCH LIST ... USA Baseball released its midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award and both Mitch Garver and DJ Peterson were on it. Both players were also on the preseason watch list, and their strong play this season justified that placement. As of May 1 Peterson is on pace to win the Mountain West triple crown for the second straight year (.403, 13, 53), while Garver is second on the team in batting (.379), doubles (16), RBI (43), and OBP (.450).
• WOLFF ON FIRE ... Senior Sam Wolff has been seeing a lot of zeroes lately. Dating back to April 13 at Fresno St., he has allowed only a run in his last 21.2 innings pitched. Included in this stretch was a career-best 14.2-inning scoreless streak. He lowered his ERA from 4.91 to 3.51 during that time.
• 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 8-0 with seven saves. He is one of only 12 pitchers in the nation to be undefeated with eight or more wins. His career record of 16-3 gives him a winning percentage of .842, which is the highest in school history (min. 15 decisions). Also his seven saves this season are 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, and now he is has enjoyed more wins as a Lobo than any other player. When he was on the active roster in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013, the Lobos have won 142 games. That breaks the school record of 141 held by Walt Arnold and Mike Foote, who both played from 1977-80. Aguilar also has 60 appearances in his career, which is only two shy of sixth place at UNM.
• 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 10-1 on Fridays this season. In fact, the Lobos have won their past 10 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.
• JUST LIKE THEY DREW IT UP ... Freshman RHP Drew Bridges was spectacular in his four starts between April 2 and April 26. 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. He then 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 during that stretch, all of which were singles, three didn’t even left the infield. In total he gave up three runs in his 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.
• 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 169 straight games over the past three seasons, including all 47 so far in 2013. That is believed to be the third longest active streak in the country.
• DOUBLE TROUBLE ... DJ Peterson is closing in on the school’s all-time doubles list with 75 after knocking two against Air Force this past weekend. He is only three 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 266 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.
Lobos statistics Top 25 national rankings
(as of May 6)
Batting average (.342) 1st
Slugging (.505) 1st
OBP (.427) 1st
Hits (595) 1st
Doubles (123) 1st
Doubles per game (2.62) 1st
Runs (402) 2nd
Triples (28) 2nd
Runs per game (8.6) 2nd
Triples per game (.60) 2nd
Walks (219) 18th
Home runs (35) 22nd
Home runs per game (.74) 22nd
Doubles per game
DJ Peterson (.51) 2nd
HBP per game
Jared Holley (.39) 15th
DJ Peterson (13) 7th
Home runs per game
DJ Peterson (.30) 5th
DJ Peterson (.521) 2nd
DJ Peterson (57) 5th
Runs per game
DJ Peterson (1.33) 3rd
Sam Haggerty (14) 14th
Sacrifice bunts per game
Sam Haggerty (.30) 24th
Alex Allbritton (8) 8th
DJ Peterson (.798) 2nd
Walks per game
DJ Peterson (.84) 17th