ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Lobos were getting ready for a game against Texas when they got the word last year that the rest of the college baseball season was canceled by the NCAA due to COVID-19. The Lobos were 14-4 at the time and on pace for a solid Mountain West season.
Head coach Ray Birmingham wonders what would have been, but he is excited about now. “This team is going to be as good or better than last year’s team by at least two or three times,” said Birmingham. “Recruiting’s been really good. These kids got another year on their belt. We’ve added some great players. It feels really good. Our schedule is really tough.”
A tough schedule is usual for Birmingham’s Lobos. They will open the season at a tournament in Surprise, Arizona where they will play Gonzaga first on Feb. 19.
The Lobos play perennial power Oregon State in a pair of games and they will also face Kansas State. After that, it will be mostly Mountain West Conference games.
The league has decided to play on the weekends, no midweek games due to the limitations placed on everyone from COVID-19. The Lobos believe they will fare well in league play because not only do they have their usual heavy hitters at the plate, the Lobos also have a good staff of pitchers.
“Our pitching coach, Brandon Higelin, has done a great job developing pitchers,” said Birmingham. “They’ve improved immensely. We have really good starting pitching. We have good closers and we have a lot of pitching. That’s the key.”