The Aztecs had their first road series against San Jose State University.
They didn’t back down from the challenge and took two of the three games. There is no reason to expect them to change anything.
They have a two-game lead in the conference and will have a chance to increase that lead against New Mexico this weekend.
Three New Mexico Players to Know
Armbruester has been the ace of the Lobos’ staff this season. He leads all starters on the team with a 2.92 era and is the only member of the pitching staff with a WHIP below one. This matchup against SDSU will be challenging. SDSU leads the NCAA with a .325 batting average. This season batters have a .194 batting average when facing Armbruester.
Chambers is getting his first taste of collegiate baseball despite being a sophomore. The middle infielder is making the most of his playing time. He has a .364/.532/.958 slash. Like the shortstop in the other dugout, Mike Jarvis has had some issues in the field. A .926 fielding percentage is pretty weak. The shining light for New Mexico is that a lot of the errors came early in the season, and he hasn’t had an error in the last 8 games.
As the team’s designated hitter, it’s Silverman’s job to rake and rake he does. He leads all Lobos with a 1.050 OPS. A quick dive into his stats show that he is a true three outcomes type of batter. He will either walk, strikeout, or hit a home run. Over half of his plate appearances fall into one of those three options. On the season, he has four home runs which makes up roughly a third of all his hits. Then he has eight walks and 15 strikeouts.
Three Things to watch this Series
Wyatt Hendrie is a top catcher
On Thursday, Hendrie was added to the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch list by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. That group tracks the top collegiate catchers in the country. In May, they will trim the group into the semi-finalist and eventually vote on a winner during the College World Series.
Hendrie has earned his spot on the watch list by pounding the ball. In the Mountain West, he ranks 6th in slugging, 9th in on-base percentage, and leads the conference in home runs. These would be good rankings for any player and especially for a catcher. In general, catchers are below-average hitters, and that’s okay because they need to focus on receiving the pitches and calling games. Hendrie does both, and that is why he is on the watch list.
Watch the long ball
This matchup will feature four of the top five home run hitters in the Mountain West. As mentioned, Hendrie leads the conference, while New Mexico’s Jack Silverman, Jared Martin, and Kyler Murray are all chasing him. Be ready for any one of these players to change the game with one swing of the bat.
Aztec Pitchers Need to continue to find the zone
For a team that leads the Mountain West with 95 walks allowed, the Aztecs were shockingly accurate against SJSU. In that series, they only walked four batters. Think about that going into the series. They were averaging 5.69 walks per game. In a three-game span, they only walked four batters. Even Troy Melton, who struggled in his outing, only walked two. It looks the pitching staff has fixed one of their biggest flaws. This series will show whether the lack of walks was a fluke or not.