The Falcons will begin conference play against New Mexico this weekend in Albuquerque. All games will be streamed on the Mountain West Network (themw.com). Game times will be 6PM MT on Friday, 2PM MT on Saturday, and 12PM on Sunday. and hit
The Lobos are off to a very hot start to the season with a record of 9-3. The lineup and the pitching staff have been heavily revamped from last year with many transfer players from P5 conferences and junior colleges. The Lobos current team batting average is .366 and they are averaging 11.25 runs per game. The team ERA has improved from 9.06 last year to 5.21 this year, led by a strong performance from the four starting pitchers.
Two junior college transfers, Isaac Gallegos and Jaren Jackson top the ERA charts for the starters at 1.80 and 2.45 respectively, with a combined 3-0 record. Riley Egloff is the likely #1 starter for the Lobos Friday and he is much improved from last year. He is currently 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA and BAA of .206. Last year, he sported an ERA of 6.90 and BAA of .339. Starter Tristan Lively also returns from last year having improved his ERA from 9.79 last year to 4.50 this year.
The Lobos’ leading hitter is Dylan Ditzenberger. Ditzenberger is a transfer from Kansas, where he played for four years and averaged a BA of .269. He’s currently batting .489 out of the leadoff spot.
The two returning stars for the Lobos are Lenny Junior Ashby and Braydon Runion. Ashby led the Mountain West in homers last year with 17 and hit .342. He has picked up where he left off and is hitting .435 this year. Runion hit 13 homers last year and has raised his average from .280 last year to .467 this year.
Two other transfers that have made a significant impact are Deylan Pigford and Jake Holland. Pigford arrives from four time National Champ CSU Fullerton. He’s currently batting .415 after hitting .262 while at Fullerton. Holland is tied for the team lead in homers with 4 and is hitting .412. after playing 2 years at Georgia Tech where he hit .158.
I won’t continue to belabor my point, but in case you missed it, the Lobos are currently benefitting from an influx of transfer athletes who are having career years, and some returnees who have significantly upped their game. If that trend is lasting, it will be trouble for the Falcons. Streaks can feed themselves and the Lobos are in a streak.
On the Falcon’s part, they have been struggling getting baserunners around the basepaths and battling inconsistency in the bullpen. However, there have been some promising signs for the program. Seungmin Shim has fully recovered from arm issues and is pitching more like a #1 starter than a #3 starter. Matt Thompson has provided a spark as the leadoff hitter since being inserted into the starting lineup. Trayden Tamiya has been hitting like he did at the end of last season on the drive to the conference championship. Sam Kulasingam is still Slamming Sammy. There are a few candidates in the bullpen who have shown the capability of providing the closing ability that CJ Dornak provided near the end of last year.
Some of the freshmen have been able to provide help in limited opportunities. TJ Oster, Jack Bello, and Charlie Jones are 6 for 13 as pinch hitters and late inning replacements. Ben Weber has shown promise in his few relieving opportunities. They could see their opportunities increase as the season progresses.
It’s certainly not time to panic. The Falcons started out slowly last season and the travel away from the Academy to avoid winter weather is never very beneficial for the early season win-loss record. With the conference schedule starting this weekend, now would be a good time to put together a complete team effort.