2013 Was the Year of the Lobos in the Mountain West

May 19, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The 16th-ranked University of New Mexico baseball team (35-18, 25-5) closed out the regular season Saturday with an 11-7 victory over the San Diego St. Aztecs. It was the cherry on top of an absolutely dominating conference season for the Cherry and Silver.

The Lobos set numerous Mountain West records as they won their third regular-season title in what was perhaps the most dominating season in league history. They won the most conference games (25), had the longest winning streak (14 games) and won the conference by the largest margin in league history (seven games). Even TCU, which won or shared the title in each of its seven years in the league, never finished more than five games in front of the competition. It's no surprise, then, that the Lobos won all 10 MW series this season.

What is more impressive is that of UNM’s five losses, three were by a single run. This helped the Lobos outscore their opponents by 120 runs, which is an average of four per game.

In conference games UNM won the team batting title by 57 points over UNLV (.354 to .297). The Lobos also scored more than 100 runs than every other team except the Rebels. They hit more doubles (92), triples (19) and home runs (33) than any other team, and had a slugging percentage (.560) 130 points higher than second-place Fresno St. (.430). In fact, UNM’s on base percentage (.436), which is the third highest mark in league play in MW history, was higher than any other squad’s slugging percentage. This was aided by the Lobos drawing a MW-record 147 walks.

The Lobos also led in 10 individual offensive categories. DJ Peterson led in slugging (.769), on base percentage (.525), doubles (16), home runs (seven), total bases (83) and he tied with teammate Mitch Garver in RBI (42). Garver also led in batting (.416) and set a MW senior record with 52 hits. Freshman Sam Haggerty scored 37 runs and knocked five triples to lead the conference, while he and Peterson tied the MW record with 26 walks.

On the mound UNM’s 4.65 ERA was second in the conference, and it was led by Sam Wolff’s 2.21, which was also second in the conference and it led all starting pitchers. Wolff also allowed just five extra-base hits in 61 innings Josh Walker led all pitchers with eight wins and tied for second with four saves.

When it’s all added together it is no wonder the Lobos were able to go 25-5 in league play, but it is still incredibly impressive especially considering the overall depth and quality of the conference. The MW might have three first-round draft picks in the MLB draft this June for the first time as Peterson, Fresno St.’s Aaron Judge and Nevada’s Braden Shipley all have a good chance to do so. Also, early in the season UNLV swept then-No. 9 Stanford on the road, and San Diego St. took three straight from then-No. 12 San Diego to begin the season. There is plenty of talent in the MW, but there just wasn’t enough to slow the UNM juggernaut in the regular season.