Stevens: 12 Lobo Moments: Lobo Baseball Is A Gem On The Diamond

Aug. 7, 2012

Top Lobo Moments From 2011-12: is flashing back on 12 special Lobo moments from the 2011-12 season.
Today: Lobo Baseball is A Diamond On The Diamond

Next: Lobo Diver Has All-American Season

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

There are a lot of words that could describe the team success thrown out by Ray Birmingham's Lobos in 2012, but this one gets the point across: "Unprecedented."

Yes, the Lobos did things that no other Lobo team has ever accomplished.

The Lobos grabbed the Mountain West regular-season title, rolled to the Mountain West Tournament crown and made a third straight charge into NCAA postseason play.

The victory in the MW tourney had to go down as a special accomplishment as the Lobos separated themselves from the rest of the league - including TCU - and grabbed the Mountain's automatic bid. To put this accomplishment into better perspective, remember that UNM snapped a 48-year postseason drought when it went NCAA dancing in 2010.

And even though baseball is a team game, the group success is formed through individual accomplishments. There were two Lobos who threw out phenomenal seasons: DJ Peterson and Mitchell Garver.

Where to start?

It's obviously a great honor to have a player named as the league's Player of The Year, but UNM had two in one season. Peterson and Garver had such stellar seasons that the duo shared the Mountain's award as Player of The Year.

The two Lobos also were recognized on a variety of All-American teams with Peterson being named to five different All-American squads.

Garver also was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the best collegiate catcher. The other two finalists - Mike Zuniino of Florida and Kevin Plawecki of Purdue - were the first two collegiate catchers taken in the Major League Draft.

"Obviously, DJ and Mitch had exceptional seasons," said Lobo Coach Ray Birmingham. "But what they accomplished and how they were recognized isn't just a product of their talent. They worked their butts off to get better. They embraced the blue-collar work ethic that is at the core of Lobo baseball."

Garver hit .377 this past season with 101 hits, 68 runs scored and knocked in 57 runs. He had a .438 on base percentage and a .612 slugging percentage. He led all Division I catchers in hits, runs, batting average and total bases.

Peterson picked up more All-American honors in 2012 than most players pick up in a career - four on first team. He also won the Mountain West's Triple Crown with a .419 average, 17 home runs and 78 RBIs. He is playing on the USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team this summer.

The Lobos posted a 37-24 mark in 2012