Garver, Peterson Named Preseason First Team All-Americans
Dec. 12, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association released its preseason All-America team today, and for the first time in UNM history two Lobos were named to the first team as senior catcher Mitch Garver and junior third baseman DJ Peterson were both honored following stellar 2012 campaigns.
“It’s a tribute to these young men,” UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. “It’s a big honor. I’m proud of these young men and I’m proud of the great state of New Mexico.”
Garver, a hometown product out of La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, was one of three national finalists for the Johnny Bench Award following a breakout season in 2012. He hit .377 with 10 home runs and 57 RBI on his way to earning Co-Mountain West Player of the Year honors, which he shared with Peterson. He received second team All-America honors by Collegiate Baseball, third team by both the NCBWA and Baseball America, and honorable mention from CollegeBaseballInsider.com.
“Last year was mind-blowing with all the fun we had and the team that we could produce and put on the field every day,” he said. “The awards just kept coming and it was a tribute to how hard we played and how we felt about the game. Going into this season and getting some preseason awards would be big-time because this program is just going to be on the up-and-up all the time.”
“This is indicative of the fact that the University of New Mexico baseball program is one of the best in the country,” Birmingham said.
Despite all the success he enjoyed last season, Garver expects bigger and better things from not only himself but also the team.
“Last year I was disappointed to lose (the Johnny Bench Award) and I felt like I might’ve had a chance, but this year there is no doubt in my mind I’m going to get there,” he said. “That’s my ultimate goal: get back to Wichita (where the Johnny Bench Award is presented) and help my team get to the World Series.”
Peterson won the MW Triple Crown last season with a .419 average, 17 home runs, and 78 RBI. In addition to sharing league MVP honors with Garver, he was a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy.
“The awards are going to be cool,” he said. “But the progress we made as a team (this fall) is going to be awesome for us to roll into the spring with.”
A Freshman All-American in 2011 and a preseason second team prior to last season, Peterson finished the year by being named to five All-American teams, including four first teams (NCBWA, ABCA, Collegiate Baseball, and CollegeBaseballInsider.com) and one second team (Baseball America).
“I want to try to repeat what I did last year except maybe do a little more, be a little better, to bring us to Omaha,” he said.
Garver also believes the Lobos have a chance to reach the College World Series next season.
“I believe this year we’re capable of more than we’ve ever done,” Garver said. “I say that because we have such a strong talent base and core to the team. The majority of us are juniors and seniors, and outside of our starting nine we have six or seven other guys we can put in at any position at any time and they’ll do exactly what we need them to do.”
Notes: The last time UNM had more than one player named to a preseason All-America team was before the 2007 season, when Jordan Pacheco, Daniel Stovall, and Ian Hollick were all honored … Aaron Judge, a junior outfielder from Fresno State, was named to the second team and he was the only other player from the Mountain West to be honored.