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Birmingham's Lobos Gain Experience

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The UNM baseball team’s season-opening series could be classified as a bad news/good news scenario.

Coach Ray Birmingham said the bad-news portion was obvious: His Lobos dropped two of three games to Nevada.

“I felt we should have swept the series,” Birmingham said. “All three games were up for grabs at the end, and we only won one, so I’m a little mad about that.”

UNM at Texas-San Antonio, 5 p.m.

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That came in the form of getting numerous players accustomed to Division I baseball. Though UNM has considerable experience among its everyday players, plenty of freshmen and junior college transfers made Lobo debuts last weekend.

“We had 15 guys get their first D-I experience,” Birmingham said. “There were a lot of nervous guys out there, especially on the mound. We intentionally got as many guys in the game as we could. Hopefully, we got the nerves out.”

Birmingham also used different defensive alignments for each of the games against Nevada. While the loss of senior Luke Campbell (broken orbital bone) may require some additional outfield juggling in the coming weeks, Birmingham feels he may have settled on an infield lineup.

That alignment has D.J. Peterson at first base, Ben Woodchick at second, Kyle Stiner at third and Alex Allbritton at shortstop. Peterson and Allbritton are in the positions they played last season, but Woodchick played primarily outfield, and Stiner lined up at second base.

“It’s different,” a smiling Stiner said of the move to third. “Actually, the day before the (Nevada) series was the first time I went over and took ground balls at third. But I played there a little at junior college, and it’s still baseball. I’ll make the adjustment.”

Birmingham said he hopes to do less lineup juggling in this weekend’s four-game series at Texas-San Antonio. The Lobos and Roadrunners (2-2) are scheduled to play once today, a doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday.

“The thing I want to see this weekend is for us to execute the game like Lobo baseball is supposed to,” Birmingham said. “UTSA’s not a bad ballclub, but this time of the season I worry more about the guys in my dugout. We need to swing the bats better and execute better than we did last week.”

NOTES: After averaging 1,630 fans per game for its season-opening series, UNM ranks 28th nationally in attendance. … The Lobos spent part of Wednesday’s practice clearing out a storage building at Lobo Field. Construction is scheduled to begin next week.
Birmingham’s Lobos Gain Experience

UNM baseball
— This article appeared on page D4 of the Albuquerque Journal