Armbruester and Landers honored by D1Baseball.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In a season that was abruptly ended after just 18 games played due to the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak, the 2020 University of New Mexico baseball team was off to a remarkably promising start. As a team, the Lobos were 14-4 overall and riding a six-game winning streak at the time the season was cancelled. Additionally, numerous individuals were off to great starts as well for the Lobos, both offensively and on the mound.
Despite the sudden cancellation, the Lobos, and in particular a pair of players in Justin Armbruester and Kyle Landers, have been recognized by D1Baseball.com in the premier online media outlet’s 2020 wrap up on the Mountain West.
In the conference wrap on the Mountain West, D1Baseball.com touted Armbruester as the Most Impressive Pitcher in the league and Landers as the Most Impressive Hitter. The numbers that both Armbruester and Landers put up through the abbreviated season bear out the deserving of the recognition.
For Armbruester, he was a junior in his first season with the Lobos after transferring from Pacific Lutheran University (DIII) where he was his conference’s Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore. Playing up two divisions from his previous stop, Armbruester quickly proved that he more than belonged on a DI mound as he efficiently worked 6.0 innings in his season debut against Gonzaga. In that outing, Armbruester scattered five hits and only allowed one earned run while striking out five and walking none. He then followed that up with a pair of 6.0 inning outings in which he allowed just two hits in each start, walked none and struck out 17 across starts against Northern Colorado and BYU at home.
For the abbreviated season, Armbruester was 1-0 with a league-best 1.14 ERA. In 23.2 innings, Armbruester struck out 24 batters and walked just three.
In the case of Landers, all the junior transfer from Navarro JC did was hit. After missing the season-opener due to an illness, Landers played in the next 17 games and made 16 starts. Out of those 16 starts, Landers had at least one hit in 14 games and had multiple hits in eight. Over his last six games played, Landers was one of the hottest hitters around as he hit .583 (14-for-24) with 11 RBIs including a pair of walk-off RBIs in the Hofstra series.
That hot streak at the end of the abbreviated season vaulted Landers to the top of the MW in both batting average (.417) and RBIs (18). All told, Landers hit .417 (25-for-60) with 15 runs scored, six doubles, a home run and 18 RBIs. He also had a slugging percentage of .567 and an on-base percentage of .532.