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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Baseball: No. 6 Lobos head to Fresno

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By Rachel Toraño-Mark / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Lobo infield sophomore Jared Holley gets support from his teammates seconds before heading onto Lobo Field during the game against
UNLV last weekend. The Lobos played a 12-inning win over UNLV. This weekend the Lobos play in California against Fresno State.

@Liam_CE

Improvement takes time with a young team.

Developing through the growing pains has been a focal point for the New Mexico baseball team thus far this season.

Following an 8-5 loss to Arizona State University (8-6), head coach Ray Birmingham said that his team has been taking strides in terms of development, the squad is not yet where it needs to be.

“We competed well,” Birmingham said in an article on golobos.com, “but we still need to get better. We’re getting there.”

The Lobos dropped to 9-7-1 after the 8-5 loss to the Sun Devils on Wednesday night. Birmingham said in the article that the club’s progress needs to continue, heading into their first conference road series at Fresno State (13-4, 5-1 MW).

“We have to go to Fresno and make some noise,” he said. “We can win this league but have to keep improving.”

UNM’s only conference series this season was against UNLV. The Lobos lost two out of three games to the Rebels.

Following the series loss to UNLV on Sunday, Birmingham expressed that he was pleased with how two of his freshmen were swinging the bat, but would like to have the upper classmen start hitting.

“Two freshmen are leading the team in hitting,” Birmingham said.

Following the loss to the Sun Devils, Danny Collier (.379) and Lane Milligan (.467) are still leading the team in batting average.

UNM has played Fresno State a combined 20 times, each team getting an even 10 wins.

The last time these two teams have met, however, UNM took two of three in Fresno, Calif. However, the bulldogs got the best of the Lobos on the final game in the series with a 9-8 victory, avoiding a season sweep.

Despite having won six of the last seven contests between the two, New Mexico was not a team predominantly overtaken by underclassmen, a year ago.

Of the 20 players on the squad that are at a redshirt sophomore level or below, 12 are freshman. Last season, UNM only had 14 underclassmen, seven of which were freshmen.

The Lobos currently sit in sixth place with their 1-2 conference record for the season.

The three game series will start tonight at 7:35 p.m. MT at Pete Beiden Field.