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Lobos Open MW Tournament with San Jose State Rematch Thursday

by Connor Gilbert

New Mexico Baseball (28-24, 17-13 MW) heads to San Diego this week to play for a Mountain West Championship in its first MW Tournament appearance since 2017, having earned the No. 2 seed to lock in its fourth straight matchup with San Jose State (22-31, 16-14 MW) at Tony Gwynn Stadium on Thursday.

The Lobos’ first tournament bid in seven years is the culmination of a year in which UNM outperformed expectations and improved its winning percentage both in and out of conference for a third straight year. They finished sixth (10-20 MW) in Brown’s first season as head coach in 2022 and narrowly missed out on the conference tournament with a fifth-place finish (13-17 MW) in 2023. They entered the season tied for fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll and finished it in sole possession of second place and a game back of the regular season champs.

After being kept off the board for the first seven innings — and ten in a row dating back to Friday’s loss — in Saturday’s finale, the Lobos (28-24, 17-13 MW) pulled off a dramatic rally with a six-run eighth, capped off by Will Asby’s program record-breaking fourth grand slam of the year to tie things up. After tacking on three more runs to but surrendering the same in the bottom of the frame to force extras, the Lobos got the knock they needed with a go-ahead RBI single from Josh McAlister in only his fourth AB of the weekend to outlast the Spartans 10-9 in the 11th inning and lock up the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

UNM needs at least three wins to secure a MW Tournament Championship and its first NCAA Regional appearance since 2016 and is eliminated with two losses.

Coincidentally, the Falcons and Bulldogs will also be squaring off for a fourth consecutive meeting on Thursday later on at 7 p.m. MT – the Lobos will face the loser of that matchup on Friday if they fall in the opener and the winner if they can open with a win. If they can rip off two wins in a row, they’ll reach a potential championship game on May 25 at 7 p.m. MT, with an if necessary game the day following at 2 p.m. MT.


  • The Lobos have already exceeded their previous-highest win total under Coach Brown with 27 wins to make it three straight years in which they’ve increased their win output – they need two more to eclipse 30 wins for the first time since 2017.
  • No. 2 seeds are 41-36 all-time in the MW Tournament – a No. 2 seed has won the Tournament Championship in four of the last seven years that it was held.
  • UNM is 30-30 all-time in the tournament and 20-17 against current MW members, winning it all in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
  • UNM is 5-7 against the tournament field this season – they’ve only faced Fresno State and Air Force three times each, taking one game from each but dropping both weekend series.
  • During his time at North Dakota State (2008-2021) Coach Brown was 12-11 in conference tournaments, winning Summit League Tournament Championships in 2014 and 2021.
  • UNM’s .538 winning percentage this season is the fourth-best of Brown’s career as a head coach and the best since the Lobos went 33-23 (.629) in 2016. That 2016 season was the last time the Lobos reached an NCAA Regional.
  • They conclude the regular season as the MW statistical leaders in batting average, slugging, on base percentage, runs, hits, RBI, total bases and walks. If the season ended today, this year’s Lobos squad would rank No. 6 in program history in on base % (.426) and No. 10 in slugging % (.521).

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, UNM is batting .323 on the season as a team with an OPS of .947 while averaging 9.20 runs and 12.07 hits per nine innings. Khalil Walker (.390) and Jake Holland (.385) have the No. 1 and No. 2 batting averages in the Mountain West — Holland also leads the league in slugging (.801) and ranks second in RBI (59) and HR (16) while Walker ranks second in OBP (.492). Reed Spenrath ranks No. 2 in triples (4) and ranks fifth in OBP (.459), fourth in slugging (.685) and fourth in HR (14). Tye Wood leads the league in OBP (.495) with the second-most stolen bases (20).

UNM now ranks No. 5 in all of D-I college baseball in batting average (.323), No. 12 in team on-base percentage (.426), No. 12 in doubles per game (2.31), No. 13 in total hits (588), No. 39 in base on balls (285), No. 29 in runs scored (448), No. 12 in DP per game (0.96) and in total double plays (50) and No. 33 in slugging (.521).

All of this week’s tournament action will be broadcast via the MW Network at, with live stats available via Follow @UNMLoboBaseball on socials for gameday updates, behind-the-scenes content and more.

vs #3-seed SAN JOSE STATE (22-31, 16-14 MW)

May 23, 2:30 p.m. MT | San Diego, Calif. | Tony Gwynn Stadium

vs #1-seed AIR FORCE (26-26, 18-12 MW)
OR #4-seed FRESNO STATE (29-26, 16-14 MW)
May 24, 2:30 p.m. / 7 p.m. MT | San Diego, Calif. | Tony Gwynn Stadium


UNM leads the all-time series with the Spartans 30-22-1, with a 20-7 mark against them at home and a 27-19-1 record since they joined the Mountain West in 2014. The Lobos have won at least one game in each of their last six weekend series with San Jose State but hadn’t taken a weekend series from the Spartans since 2021 until they won two of three at home in March before dropping the first two last weekend to even the season series at 3-3. They only faced each other three times last season, with UNM winning the series opener in Albuquerque 16-8 but falling in the next two (3-8, 3-14 [8 Inn.]). UNM Head Coach Tod Brown is 7-8 against the Spartans in his career.
The Spartans are the only MW opponent that the Lobos have never played in the conference tournament.

This will be UNM’s 19th appearance in the conference tournament – the third-most of any MW team behind San Diego State (21) and UNLV (20). They made the first 18 tournaments that were held (2000-2017) but hadn’t been back since until this time around.
UNM enters this week at 30-30 in MW Tournament games all-time and 20-17 against current conference teams, having won tournament titles in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
The last time the Lobos played in the MW postseason, they were the hosts in 2017, winning the opener against No. 4 seed Nevada 7-2 but dropping the next two against San Diego State (8-9) and Fresno State (5-11) to be eliminated.

UNM went 5-7 against the three other MW Tournament qualifiers this year, splitting a pair of weekend series with No. 3-seed San Jose State and dropping two of three to No. 1 Air Force on the road (3-12, 6-5, 7-18) and No. 4 Fresno State at home (5-10, 19-23, 6-2).
UNM is 5-5 in its last 10 games – they and Air Force (7-3) are the only teams in the tournament above .500 in their last 10, with San Jose State dropping six of their last 10 and Fresno State losing eight.
Jake Holland has batted a team-best .500 against those three teams, with 26 RBI, eight homers, three doubles and a triple. Khalil Walker (.462) and Will Asby (.404) have both batted above .400 as well, with Asby driving in 19 runs with four homers and three doubles.

If the Lobos can win it all, they’ll punch their ticket to an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2016. If they lose two games, their season is over.


Conference Overall
Rank Team Record Win % GB Record Win % Last 10 Streak

Air Force

18-12 0.600 26-26 0.500 7-3 3 Wins

New Mexico

17-13 0.567 1 27-24 0.529 5-5 1 Win

Fresno State

16-14 0.533 2 29-26 0.527 2-8 5 Losses

San Jose State

16-14 0.533 2 22-31 0.415 4-6 1 Loss


16-14 0.533 2 25-26 0.490 5-5 1 Win


12-18 0.400 6 26-25 0.510 3-7 1 Loss

San Diego State

10-20 0.333 8 17-37 0.315 6-4 1 Loss

LAST WEEKEND (at San Jose State, 5/16-18)
UNM’s ninth-inning rally came one run short in its series opener on Thursday (7-8) and the Lobos couldn’t get their bats going in Round Two as they fell 1-5 to lose back-to-back games for the first time since April 13. They trailed 6-0 in the finale after being kept off the board for the first seven innings, tying things up with a six-run eighth capped off by Will Asby’s fourth grand slam of the season off the Spartans in the 11th inning (10-9). The win ensured they’d get into the MW Tournament and locked up sole possession of second place in the league standings.
On the weekend, Will Asby led the Lobos with seven RBI, mashing two homers, including his record-breaking fourth grand slam of the season in Saturday’s win in the finale. Jake Holland led all Lobos that started all three games with a .400 average, driving in two runs and scoring three on four hits.
Chase Weissenborn led the Lobos with four runs on four hits of his own, with Tye Wood also scoring multiple runs with two.

FIRST TIME AROUND (vs. San Jose State, March 22-23)
After giving up 16 runs on 22 hits in a heartbreaker on March 22, the Lobos’ pitchers and defense held the Spartans to nine runs while scattering 15 hits across 16 innings of action in a doubleheader the following day, batting .381 on the day while holding SJSU to a .246 average in the same span.
UNM held off the Spartans late for a 7-5 win in Game One before erupting for a 17-4 seven-inning run-rule win in Game Two to earn the Lobos’ second Mountain West series victory and first over the Spartans since 2021.
Jake Holland went yard in all three games, earning MW Player of the Week honors after finishing the weekend with a team-best .727 batting average and 2.000% slugging (2.750 OPS) with 14 RBI, homering four times and hitting two doubles in the process. He batted .750 with runners in scoring position (6-for-8) and .667 in two-out situations (4-for-6) in that span. The senior catcher finished with multiple hits, runs and RBI in all three games, homering in each — Holland scored eight runs on the weekend, drawing three walks and only striking out once. He also started behind the dish in all three games, generating 25 putouts and three assists without any errors.

With his fourth grand slam of the year on Saturday – a momentum-swinging shot that tied things up and brought the Lobos all the way back from an 0-6 hole – Will Asby broke a UNM single-season program record of three set by Mark Wulfert in 1995.
Reed Spenrath is one away from matching Wulfert’s single-season total after matching a single-game program record with two grand slams in the Lobos’ series opener vs. Nevada on May 10 – he’s two away from matching Wulfert’s career record of five.

The Lobos conclude regular-season play as the Mountain West’s leader in 10 statistical categories:
– Batting Average (.323)
– Slugging Percentage (.521)
– On Base Percentage (.426)
– Runs Scored (448)
– Hits (588)
– Runs Batted In (415)
– Total Bases (947)
– Walks (285)
– Saves (10)
– Double Plays (50)

They rank second in six more:
– Sac Flies (28)
– Home Runs (69)
– Assists (500)
– Wins (28)
– Stolen Bases (45)
– Steal Attempts (58)

Despite being tagged for the loss in each of his last three starts, RHP Brett Russell has been dominant on the bump – he’s only surrendered one earned run in each of his last two starts (11.1 IP), scattering nine hits while walking two and striking out five in that span.
Russell lasted seven innings in a stellar start against Nevada on May 11 (5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K), but the Lobos were shut out for nine innings for the first time this season to fall 2-0. He was effective again last Friday (4.1 IP, 2 R / 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K), but a solo homer from Will Asby was the only run that crossed as they fell 5-1.
Russell has posted a 5.73 ERA in conference matchups this season but has a 3.07 ERA in his last five starts (29.1 IP).

Tye Wood has become a real threat on the basepaths as of late, only getting caught stealing once in his last 11 attempts.
He stole three – matching Sean Stephens for the most in a single game this season by a Lobo – in the series opener against Nevada May 10 and ranks second in the conference with 20 swiped bags – the most in a single season since Josh Melendez stole 22 in 2012. He’s stolen at least one base against each of the Lobos’ last four opponents.

Since snapping their longest losing streak of the season, the Lobos are 12-7, batting .334 as a team while averaging 12.47 hits and 9.31 runs per game.
Khalil Walker has led the way with a .410 average in UNM’s last 19, hitting six doubles and all three of his homers this season since the Lobos’ win over Fresno State on April 14.
The Lobos have hit 30 homers in that span with eight multi-homer games, good for an average of 1.58 per game. UNM has had at least one player go yard in 11 of its last 12 and 16 of its last 19 since snapping the skid.
UNM posted a 12.95 ERA over its eight-game skid but has averaged a 5.65 ERA in the 19 games since. Since snapping the skid, UNM has held opponents to five runs or fewer 11 times (57.9% of games). They’d only done it 11 times in the previous 33 games.
UNM pitchers have only issued more than five walks in three of their last 19 games – they issued six or more free passes 12 times in their first 33.

The Lobos have excelled at getting two for one this season, ranking No. 12 in NCAA D-I in total double plays (50) and No. 20 in total doubles (120). They rank No. 12 in double plays per game (0.96) and No. 12 in doubles per game (2.31).
Jake Holland ranks No. 23 in the NCAA D-I in doubles per game (0.42) and Reed Spenrath ranks No. 56 in NCAA D-I in total doubles (16). UNM ranks No. 2 in the MW in assists (402) and leads the league in DP — Spenrath has been a part of 48 of UNM’s 50 double plays (No. 1 in the MW) and leads the league in putouts (435), while Dixon has helped stitch 30 (No. 7 in the MW). Dixon also ranks No. 5 in the league in assists (125).

The Lobos found a penchant for the big fly in the month of March and haven’t looked back since. After homering four times in their first eight games, they’ve connected on 65 for a total of 136 RBI since March 1. UNM is 17-4 in games this season in which the Lobos hit multiple homers – they’ve hit three or more in a game 10 times (9-1 in those games), with four of those games being in UNM’s last 13.
UNM is 22-13 in games in which the Lobos go yard at least once – they’ve done so in 15 of their last 17 games.
11 different Lobos have hit a homer this season for a total of 69 through 52 games – 37 have been at Santa Ana Star Field.
Three Lobos have exceeded double-digit bombs on the season — Jake Holland leads the Lobos with 16 homers (No. 2 in MW) ahead of Reed Spenrath (14, No. 4 in MW) and Will Asby (12. No. 9 in MW) — all of Spenrath’s have come since he hit his first of the season on March 10 against UNLV.
Chase Weissenborn and Khalil Walker hit their first of the season — and only the second of Weissenborn’s career — back-to-back against TTU April 23. Walker has hit two more since then and Weissenborn hit his second of the year at UNLV the following weekend. Along with Walker and Weissenborn, Josh McAlister (5), Kyle Smith (3), Devon Dixon (3), Tye Wood (3), Gene Trujillo (4) and Ethan Ott (4) all have gone yard multiple times this season.
Sean Stephens, Konner Kinkade and Akili Carris are the only Lobos who have appeared in at least 30 games and have yet to hit a round-tripper.

Following New Mexico Baseball’s weekend series win over Nevada May 10-12, Reed Spenrath was named MW Player of the Week and Dayne Pengelly was named Pitcher of the Week.
The honors are the first of Spenrath and Pengelly’s careers and the sixth and seventh weekly awards of the season for UNM – the most in a single season since 2017, when the Lobos brought in eight weekly awards.
– Batted .385 on the weekend in the Lobos’ series win over Nevada last weekend, finishing with 9 RBI on three homers in the Lobos’ 16-0 series-opening win on Friday night.
– Spenrath hit two grand slams in the same game for the first time since 1992, when Mark Gulseth did it against San Diego State. It’s also the first time in over 12 months that a Lobo has hit three homers in the same game (Justin Olson vs. Fresno State, 4/29/23).
– Batted .444 (4-for-9) with runners on and .500 with two outs on the board this weekend, leading the Lobos in RBI with 10 on the week — the next most from a single player was 4.
-Generated 38 putouts while starting all three games at first without any errors to go with an assist, turning four double plays.
– Pengelly struck out 12 – the most in a single game for a UNM player since Justin Armbruster (May 22, 2021) also struck out 12 at San Jose State – for a new career- and team-high over seven scoreless frames, walking three and scattering four hits in that span to improve to 4-4 on the season. UNM’s 16-0 win was their first time shutting out an opponent this season.
– The Lobos’ pitchers posted a 2.33 ERA over the weekend series, their lowest in a three-game span this season.

– UNM improved its standing in the Mountain West for a third consecutive season – the Lobos finished sixth (10-20 MW) in Brown’s first season as head coach in 2022 and narrowly missed out on the conference tournament with a fifth-place finish (13-17 MW) in 2023. They far outperformed expectations this year, entering the season at tied for fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll and finishing it in sole possession of second and a game back of the regular season champs.
– The Lobos’ offense in 2023 was one of their most productive in recent memory – UNM’s .328 team batting average was the third-best in the NCAA and best in the Mountain West, as well as the Lobos’ best since 2013.
– UNM’s 26-25 record in 2023 was the most wins since 2017 and first winning season since then (not counting UNM’s 14-4 record in the canceled COVID season of 2020).
– Reed Spenrath was named to the Mountain West Baseball Preseason All-Conference Team, with the Lobos picked fifth in the preseason poll as voted on by the league’s coaches. Spenrath was named to’s Top 50 First Baseman rankings ahead of the season, coming in at No. 46 in the nation. He was named one of three captains for this year’s Lobos squad along with fellow seniors Chase Weissenborn and Brett Russell.

– In his first five seasons as head coach at North Dakota State, Brown’s teams improved their winning percentage in each season, going from 15-30 (.333) in his first season in 2008 to 40-20 (.667) in 2012 and finishing each of the next nine seasons above .400. The Bison reached the Summit League tournament eight times in that span, advancing to NCAA Regionals in 2014 and 2021.
– He’s done the same in each of his first three years in Albuquerque, improving from 21-33 (10-20 MW) in 2022 to 26-25 (13-17 MW) in 2023 to 28-24 (17-13 MW) in 2024.
– Brown coached the Bison to 40-win seasons in 2012 and 2021.
– In Brown’s second season at UNM, the Lobos improved to 26-25 from 21-33 the year prior, with the highest team batting average since 2013 (.328) and lowest team ERA since 2016 (5.95).
– In 16 years as a D-I Head Coach, Brown has finished the season above .400 13 times and above .500 five times – the only three seasons in which he’s finished below .400 were his first two years in Fargo (2008, 2009) and his first season in Albuquerque (2022).

– UNM’s 2024 roster includes 16 returning players with 24 newcomers – the Lobos return seven position players who started at least 10 games in 2023 and losing six.
– Of the Lobos’ newcomers, 8 are freshmen and 16 are transfers – 12 from junior colleges and four from four-year institutions.
– 29 players are upperclassmen – 13 seniors and 16 juniors – the most upperclassmen Brown has had on a roster in Albuquerque.

– UNM’s .328 batting average in 2023 was its highest since 2013 – The Lobos led the Mountain West in that category and ranked third nationally.
– The Lobos hit 87 home runs – their most since 2003. That total led the Mountain West and is the third most in program history.
– UNM slugged .559 on the season, the sixth highest in program history and highest since 2003, leading the Mountain West.
– The Lobos finished the season with a .974 fielding percentage – the second highest in program history (2017) – that also led the Mountain West.
– Improving from a a 9.06 ERA as a team in Brown’s first season to a 5.95, UNM only allowed 3.20 walks per nine innings, its lowest average since 2014 and the best in the Mountain West. The Lobos’ 1.59 WHIP was its lowest since 2015.
– UNM scored 441 runs (most since 2017, led MW) and racked up 617 hits (most since 2017, led MW) to go with 24 triples (most since 2015, led MW) and 411 RBI (most since 2017, led MW).
– Lobo batters reached base at a .406 clip, UNM’s best average since 2017 (Led MW).
– UNM turned 48 double plays in 51 games, the most in the MW and 33rd-most in the nation. The Lobos’ .94 double plays per game ranked No. 9 in the nation.