New Mexico will once again make its way to the familiar confines of Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz., for the 2020 Sanderson Ford Baseball Classic, Feb. 14-16.
The Lobos will be facing off against Oregon State, Gonzaga and BYU, as head coach Ray Birmingham leads a hungry group into a season with much to prove.
Major League Baseball claimed a pair of difference makers off of last year’s 23-28 team: pitcher Malachi Emond and outfielder Jared Mang. Both had very successful careers in Albuquerque.
Emond finished the season with a 3.49 ERA and Mang ended with a .365 average with over 200 at bats.
The Lobos also lost two recruits to the draft when they opted out to sign contracts.
Mang’s younger brother, Connor, will be back in the UNM uniform as a redshirt junior. Last season the Mang brothers recorded the two highest batting averages on the team.
While the Lobos will miss half of the Mang duo, other heavy hitters are returning this season to help cover the loss. Senior Justin Watari finished the season batting .313 with 45 runs scored and Ediberto Reyes ended with a .325 average a near .500 slugging percentage.
Lose one set of siblings, get another right? Making their New Mexico debut, Justin and Will Armbruester will both be taking the mound together this season.
Justin, a rising junior who transferred from Pacific Lutheran, and Will, a true freshman, should be strong additions to the Lobos bullpen.
It will be interesting to see what kind of start New Mexico gets off to in this season. With only three starting position players returning, it might take a while for Birmingham’s squad to find its groove.