Lobos Open the 2021 Season at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the first time in 345 days, the University of New Mexico baseball team will take the field in its first game of the season at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise, Ariz. The Lobos will take on Gonzaga, K-State and Oregon State, two of which the Lobos faced in the same event last year (Gonzaga and Oregon State)
The Lobos will have two evening games in the four-day event and will first face Gonzaga at 5 p.m. MT on Friday, then the Wildcats on Sunday at the same time. The team will take the mound twice versus the Beavers, with games on both Saturday and Monday.
Before the pandemic shortened the 2020 season, the Lobos garnered a 14-4 record, winning seven of their eight final games. The Lobos return a total of 22 players from last year’s roster, including preseason All-Mountain West pitcher Justin Armbruester.
Armbruester led the Lobos with a 1.14 ERA in 2020. The senior threw six innings of five-hit baseball, allowing just one run and striking out five in his first collegiate start versus Gonzaga last year.
Senior Aaron Makil will take the mound on Opening Day, and Arbruester will follow as the projected pitcher on Saturday. Junior Tristin Lively will start on Sunday, and senior Nathaniel Garley will close out the tournament on Monday.
Another returning player is senior Kyle Landers, who led the Mountain West with a .417 average, going 25-60 from the home plate with six doubles and a home run in 2020. Landers also led the MW in runs batted in (18) and on-base percentages (.532). The senior has been placed on the preseason All-Mountain West team and was named the Mountain West’s “Most Impressive Hitter” by D1 Baseball in 2020.
Alongside Landers will be senior Harry Fullerton, named one of D1Baseball.com’s top junior hitters last season, starting all 18 games and hit a team-leading three home runs with 16 runs batted in.
This event kicks off the 47-game season for the Lobos, consisting of 36 Mountain West Conference games. Non-conference opponents include a matchup with New Mexico-rival New Mexico State and another visit with K-State for a total of four non-conference games in March and three games versus Utah Valley in May. Fans can view the full 2021 schedule here.